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!