Commander’s been looking ouchy over the last week or so, increasingly uncomfortable in front, especially on the right, actually taking occasional stumbling steps on that hoof on the gravel drive. I was worried: Had he rotated or dropped more?
Yesterday Ken came to shoe the boys. Having told him what was up, I watched him do Commander. For both front feet, the mighty Morgan was completely unflinching (heck, half-mast-eyed, he was so relaxed) as Ken nipped and trimmed, no matter how much pressure was put on the foot. Commander stood comfortably square on bare feet waiting for the shoes to be put back on; in fact, at one point he even shifted his weight to his right front to dabble-paw with his left. Yup, he put his weight over onto the bad bare foot!
Ken said his feet looked good and he saw no signs of trouble brewing. He theorized that as the foot grew out between shoeings the buildup of the sole against the unyielding shoe and pad gradually put pressure on the foot – like us humans wearing shoes that fit fine when we put them on in the morning, but by day’s end, with swollen feet, we can’t wait to get them off. He said the founder shoeing requires a balancing act between giving the foot enough support and confining it too much.
Commander went back into his stall moving way better than he came out, pivoting on his forehand easily. He led out to turnout that evening moving freely, too. I’m eager to see how he looks when I go over there for the midday feeding.
The plan: Monitor how he does, see if there’s a pattern to his good and bad times, if it ties to his shoeing schedule. If so, we’ll cut him back to every five weeks instead of every six and see if that takes care of it.
This is so encouraging! If this is what’s going on, it means that Faith, the neighbor girl who sometimes comes to ride him, will be able to get on him again, once the greenheads are gone – heck, even I may be able to ride him again! And I’d thought that was never to be. Hurrah!