Sunday, August 26, 2012

Another Commander Update

So it’s been a while since my last update on the mighty Morgan and the mighty mountain of trouble he’s in. What’s up? How’s he doing?

He’s holding his own. He continues hobbled but undaunted, padding about stiffly on his pads but upheaded, greedy for goodies, and as smugly convinced of his own high worth as ever. His coat shines; his ears are pricked; he’s hugely interested in everything going on around him, at least if there’s not food in front of him to seize his attention.

On Wednesday, Commander got his feet trimmed and measured for his Soft-Ride boots, his last chance at getting comfortable enough to go on for whatever the long term turns out to be. He behaved like a perfect gentleman for my farrier through the whole thing, but then, Ken's very good with my horses, calm and gentle, and they like him and trust him. Ken wrapped the pads back on when we were done and I gave Commander a dose of Banamine even though he seemed unfazed by the whole thing.

I chose not to do any hand-walking at all, other than stall-shuttling, after the Wednesday work on him. I stuck to that through Friday, but yesterday and today I’ve taken him for tiny outside jaunts, and I mean like a few dozen yards outside the barn. He loves it, gets eager as soon as he’s turned that way, and despite it clearly being less comfortable for him on the hardpacked stonedust/gravel of the driveway, he relishes these small adventures – especially when he can yank my arm off and grab a mouthful of greenery. I hesitate to expand this till he’s in the boots, given how unforgiving the ground is.

Commander was perhaps slightly less comfortable overall on Thursday, with one or two ouchy steps as I led him between stalls, but truthfully, it’s hard to tell whether he’s really worse or better when I’m hovering over each step looking for Signs and Portents. Overall between midweek and today, Sunday, I’d say he’s maintaining at a baseline of stiff-legged but unhesitating to move when asked; more freedom of movement as he moves; and really really big strides when there’s FOOD! at the end of them. He can turn without much trouble in either direction as long as he’s free to choose the arc and pace of it. I can tell from the shavings on his coat and the stains on his flank that he does lie down, but he’s always on his feet when I arrive. I guess it was a good idea not to show him his x-rays, huh?

The boots and laminitis orthotics were ordered Wednesday evening. I hope to get them Monday and get Commander into them ASAP, allowing for the fact I’m going to want the vet there for the first fitting, to help me get the pads off, to make sure the fit is right, and – please, please not – to repad and rewrap Commander if the fit isn’t right and I have to exchange the Soft-Rides.

Meanwhile, Ben gets put out at midday and brought back in at dusk, and seems happy with the arrangement; Commander's fine with it too, and there's no more of the desolate hollering they indulged in the first few times I cruelly wrenched them apart. Ben has full freedom of the square paddock, with its well-eaten-down grass, and as of midweek the gate to the first field, ungrazed and unmowed all summer, has been open to him. He does go out there now and then, but the paddock appears to offer tastier grazing -- go figure! -- and besides, it's a much shorter distance from there to the shelter of the run-in, with its waiting well-stuffed haybag, when the flying pests get to be too much for the sensitive Thoroughbred.

I bring Ben over to Commander's stall when I lead him back in to let them sniff noses through the chainlink stallfront. I look forward to the time when I can turn them out together again. Oh, what a frenzy of mutual grooming there'll be then!


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