Friday, February 5, 2010

Bandit's New Shoes

Our poor old guy Bandit came up very lame on his left front leg about a week and a half ago. We've had him for about 4 years and prior to us I think he must have had a hard life. He was raised on a ranch and then used as a calf roping horse and then a team roping horse. We suspected he had navicular problems, ringbone or arthritis. Turns out he has them all, as well as bone spurs.

We've always done what we could to make him comfortable and for the most part he usually was. Our farrier does corrective shoeing on him to keep the pressure off his heels and if he seemed to have some discomfort at times I would give him a little bute. It has been fairly manageable.After a trip to the vet for the severe lameness in his left front leg, it turns out that he has adhesions on his suspensory ligament and one of them ruptured. Not good. He was in a lot of pain and all I wanted to do was make him feel better. The vet suggested some very specialized shoes for his front hooves that he felt sure would give him relief from his pain while the ligament healed.

These therapeutic shoes, called the Equine Digit Support System, were developed by Gene Ovnicek, who also developed the Natural Balance shoe. (If you are interested in reading a little more about them, check out his website here).

First, dental impression material is packed into the sole of the hoof and allowed to harden. Then, a pad is placed over that and an aluminum shoe is nailed into place. The black wedge rails along the sides of the shoe come in different heights depending on the needs of the horse and are screwed through the shoe and into the pad, as is the white frog support. If it is determined that a different height wedge is needed, they can be unscrewed and different ones put on without having to remove the shoe. Pretty clever.The end result is pretty crazy looking. But let me tell you, when I turned to walk Bandit down the middle of the barn to see how he would walk out, he took ONE STEP and was not limping anymore. This is a horse that could hardly walk from the back of the pen to the front earlier that morning. It was amazing. I have to give a huge thanks to our farrier, Eddie McKenzie, of Ace Posse Farrier Service here in Tucson. He knows how much we care about our horses and always does a great job taking care of them. He is not just a "shoer", but takes the time to educate himself on all aspects of hoof care and more importantly (to me) knows our horses and their individualized needs.

I am so relieved that these shoes are working for Bandit and that he is back to being his old self!

14 comments:

Karen M said...

Bandit is lucky to have both you and your farrier looking out for him. Hope it works, and you have many more happy times with him.o

the7msn said...

WOW! Bravo to you, your vet and your farrier for coming up with this treatment plan. That wedge system to raise the heel is amazing. I can just imagine the relief you must have felt when Bandit took that first good step. Please keep up updated about his progress.

Judy said...

What a relief for you and Bandit and how lucky you are to have such a great creative farrier.

Gaina said...

Aww bless him, he looks very snazzy - I can see a Manolo Blahnik Equine range in the future :).

A good farrier is worth their weight in gold :).

cdncowgirl said...

Hope you keep us updated. There are some crazy looking shoes out there but, IMO, if they are used responsibly and correctly they can be such a saviour for a horse.

Christina said...

Wow, that is awesome. I am so glad Bandit has someone to care enough to do something like that for him. They are really coming up with some great stuff to help our lovely creatures.

Phyllis said...

I'm so glad Bandit's new "platform" shoe helped him. Goodness, I had no idea they could do all that!

Cactus Jack Splash said...

Interesting shoe, glad it is helping

Julie Harward said...

AHHH, BLESS HIS POOR OLD HEART AND BLESS YOU GUYS FOR TAKING SUCH GOOD CARE OF HIM! IS HIS FACE SWOLLEN OT IS IT JUST SOMETHING I THINK I'M SEEING? THAT FOOT WORK IS AWESOME! COME SAY HI :D

Desert Rose said...

What a good mom and and Dad you folks are! Bandit is quite handsome for an old guy!!!

逛街 said...

goodjob!........................................

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Stepping out of Lurkdom to say.....It's obvious how much you care for your horses. Looks like such a relief for Bandit having these new shoes. I hope you will share the continuing story, too. How long will he have to wear these shoes?
I hope he heals soon.


~Lisa

Mikey said...

Those are some fancy shoes! Kudos to your farrier, he does good work and cares about your horse. Those are few and far between!!
I did a horse once, I insisted on Xrays, vet's opinion and seeing Xrays myself before I'd do anything. Horse was dead lame. Turned out to be bone spurs, vet recommend an egg bar, I put it on and that horse walked out. I saw him later go out and work cattle! Flabbergasting what the right shoe can do for a horse. I was a believer after that. As long as the horse feels better, I'm all for it.

jane augenstein said...

Very odd looking shoe indeed but so glad it is helping him! I really don't know anything about shoes since Gilly is barefoot and has great feet. I am lucky and have a great barefoot trimmer who keeps Gilly and Pokey's feet in good shape.