Hoof Abscess

Hoof Abscess

Jen and Sandra started taking morning rides together. Most every weekday morning they would meet for coffee at Jen’s house after which they headed to the stables and checked on the sugar gliders making sure they were fed and watered. Also, it was just fun to play with them.

With the sugar gliders attended to the women gathered halters and lead ropes. Jen’s favorite ride was Candybar the quarter horse mare who was Rory's love as well. Sandra rode an eight-year-old black gelding named Mozart. They saddled the horses and traveled down Jack Creek using one of two main routes. The easiest way was to drop right down into the canyon and head north towards the cemetery. The other way was a shortcut going south along Jack Creek. It went past Victoria’s house and stable.

Victoria’s pastures were adjacent to Jen’s paddocks, and the horses often had snorting and pawing episodes across the fence line when one of them was feeling crabby.

Today they took the route past the neighbor's house. “Hello, Victoria?” Jen called out.

But there was no response. “Hmm, I was going to introduce you. She is usually out with the horses. Maybe tomorrow. I’ll give her a call later today.”

They continued past the house and dropped into the canyon at a leisurely walk. It allowed the girls to enjoy the warm sunny morning.

Sandra pointed to the sky. “Do you see those jet trails?” she asked.

Jen looked up. She saw six or seven white trails way up in the sky, contrails or vapor tracks left by the passenger jets on their morning routes between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

“Yes, I see them.”

“Did you know that contrails contain chemicals?”

“Chemicals for what?”

“It's a government conspiracy,” Sandra said in a serious tone. “Chemicals are added to the jet fuel by the government!”

“Why would the government want to poison us?”

“Because they want to make us stupid. That way we won’t question their authority.”

“You’re kidding! Aren’t you? That’s paranoid, don’t you think?”

Just then Mozart stopped, whinnied, pulled both front feet out of the muck, and backed up onto the dry area of the bank. As he stepped back, he was limping badly.

“It looks like he hurt his right front foot on something,” Jen said.

“Should we keep going? Should I get off?”

“Not yet, let’s see if he walks out of it. Just go forward four or five steps.” Jen said. “Okay now push him further into a trot. See if you can feel a lopsidedness in the gait.”

When Sandra prodded him, he lifted his head quickly stepping on his left front foot to lessen any pain he was feeling in the other foot.

“Okay, stop and dismount, Sandra. I'm going to check it out; maybe he picked up a rock or something.”

Sandra bent down right next to Jen, real close.

“Make sure you keep hold of his reins, Sandra, otherwise he’ll leave your ass, and we’ll have to ride double.”

“What do you see?’

“Nothing unusual. Just tender spots here on the inside bulb of the heel and here on the medial side of the frog on the bottom.”

“They have frogs?”

“Yeah, the bottom of the hoof has a vee-shape, see?”

“Oh yeah.”

“Well, that’s called the frog. He’s probably bruised his foot, that’s why he’s so tender.” She pressed the sore spot a final time causing the horse to pull his leg back. “I think we should call the ride off. We’re just going to make it worse.”

They walked the horses home to make it easier on Mozart. After unsaddling them Jen cleaned his hoof but could see no obvious lesions. Deciding to let the horses rest for a day she gave him Bute paste, an oral anti-inflammatory. If he bruised his sole a few days rest was all he needed.

“What’s the plan?”

“We'll wait and see. If he’s still limping tomorrow, I’ll call Rory out.”