The morning report:
Sigh.... As if this weren’t costing me enough already....
Just got off the phone with a very friendly, helpful rep for Soft-Ride, who spent almost half an hour cheerfully chatting with me about the boots – their care and fit primarily, although we wandered off topic more than once.
I asked about care: how often to remove for cleaning, how to care for, that sort of thing. Turns out the recommendation is initially, for the first week or so with a horse wearing them 24/7, to take them off twice a day for removing and rinsing off the pad, cleaning gunk out of the boots, and to check the heel bulbs for signs of chafing. Oh, and be sure to put the correct pad back into the same boot, and put the correct boot back on the same hoof. Oh, great. Let’s hope Commander gets blase about standing still for the whole thing real fast.
We turned to fit, since I thought the boots he’s wearing now might be a bit too small. Yep, the rep thought from my description that, while he was doing fine in them at the moment, as his hoof grew out we’d have problems. So I’ve ordered a new pair, the next size larger. Hey, I’ve already sunk more than a grand in vet bills into Commander during this episode; what’s another couple of hundred bucks? (sob) At least I can return the unused laminitis orthotics from the first pair for a credit.
Oh, hey – look at the time (11:40). I’d better head over to the barn for the midday chores, see how the mighty Morgan is doing after his first night in booties. More later.
Good and not-so-good news.
The good – all right, let’s just go ahead and say the GREAT news is that Commander is amazingly comfortable in those boots.
Walking out freely comfortable. Bending his knees like a regular horse when he walks comfortable.
So comfortable that, after hand-walking him in the driveway for several minutes and seeing how well he did, I actually put him out with Ben in the run-in and its adjoining dry lot for about 45 minutes while I did stalls. Where he picked at the scattered pathetic nubbins of grass available, groomed with Ben, puttered about looking as if nothing was wrong with him, and for the most of it hung out in the run-in alternating munching hay and Ben-grooming. He walked back in as comfortably as he walked out.
The not-so-good news: He’s still being a pig about having his feet handled. With his bucket of beet pulp mash hanging in the aisle to occupy him, I was able to get his right boot off, wiped down, cleaned out, Gold Bond powder dusted, and back on, but by the time I tried to take off the left he was escalating into antsy, too antsy to get it done.
Okay, so he had distractions: He’d just come in, leaving Ben behind, and Ben was bellowing for his lost love; a truck and horse trailer were parked outside the barn and a strange horse had just gotten hosed down out there; I slid the barn door shut but even so he could still hear Ben yelling; it was all too much and he would not stand still or let me handle his left foot. I gave it up after a few minutes and put him back in his afternoon stall.
I’ll try to do the left foot again tonight, when Ben’s in and things are quieter. This is a continuing nightmare in so many ways, but seeing him look so at ease, for the first time in ages, is making it worth all the cost and struggle.