Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Healing Fast!

div>Here are some pictures Lisa sent in last week. Fancy seems to really be healing fast. She doesn't have any lameness on this hoof!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Part 6

Here are some new pictures of Fancy's hooves. She is the horse involved in the horse trailer accident. (see earlier posts). Her hoof is coming along really well. Lisa is doing all the things that I would be doing to help Fancy's hoof heal. Yes, there will likely be a permanent blemish, but probably nothing that will keep her from being ridden. And at that point, may professionals will say, that horse will need shoes to keep the hoof together. Wrong! The hoof will do a nice job of taking care of itself if we don't add outside support.

What happens when you artificially support living tissue indefinitely? It loses it's ability to support itself.

Fancy's owner, Lisa:

These photos were taken on May 12th.
When I change the bandage I massage the coronet band with bag balm. The hoof is growing in nicely but there is going to be a real lump/crease in the hoof from the stress of the
injury. The red tissue is stained from the scarlet oil the vet used - it
leaves a nice line to measure growth!

I've been gently rasping off excess tissue on the side as things grow, I
swear it changes every day. You can see here where it looks like the cornet
band is growing back above the wound. I hope this isn't wishful thinking.

The sole is getting chalky and the frog is starting to loosen. It's to be expected since she isn't getting much exercise and it's part of the healing process.

I ripped apart one of my Old Mac boots that was falling apart. I am going
to make my own rehab boot because I just can't see spending that much money
on something when I already have materials to work with. Boot, neoprene,
Velcro and a brain... I will send some photos in when finished!

Part 5

April 15, 2009

Lisa: Fancy and I spent the day at the vet. Her orginal cast is removed.

Two cuts were made diagonally from each other and then the cast was split and pulled off. It doesn't sound like it would be, but this was quite an interesting procedure to watch.

The foot is healing nicely. There is so much granulated tissue that the doc had to scrape some of it off. It had grown all the way through the crack in the hoof. But everything is pink and healthy!

No bare cartilage showing and even though the vet didn’t say so, I am hoping that the white band that seems to be extending inwards from the coronary band is actually band tissue and her hoof will heal better than their prognosis. [I'm sure it will! Pat]

Fancy gets a brand new cast and I think this one went on much better and will be more comfortable than the first one. It isn’t up as high on her leg, and has more padding around the top. Fancy will be in this cast for 3 weeks if everything goes well.

Back at the barn Fancy is moving better but still depressed about being locked up.

On a happy note…I got a 3 horse slant! Yea! This particular accident will never again happen to us.

Part 4

Here are shots of Fancy's cast. Lisa has been reading your comments and she wanted me to respond to Laughing Orca Ranch that Fancy should be rideable by October according to her vet.

And to note that Fancy walked right into her trailer without a single hesitation. That's pretty cool. Lisa is trailer shopping these days.

That is an interesting cast. I wondered how far up the leg it would go, It's good see it didn't go halfway up her leg as I would have expected.

I know we all have some horse trailer hauling stories to tell and I thought it would be a great learning experience to hear your stories. If you have a situation you can tell us all about (with pictures - even better) I'd love to post here. My email address is

I have several stories to tell, but here are a couple that I will try to “briefly” share.

When I first got back into horses about 15 years ago, I bought my quarter horse mare, Missy. It had been 10 years prior that I sold my horse to try to survive as a single mom. During my early horse years, I had no experience hauling horses. If I needed to move my horse, I usually called one of my sisters to haul for me.

So shortly after purchasing Missy, I basically knew nothing about hauling horses and one day, I learned one of the most important rules of hauling. Do not tie the head of the horse to the trailer without first shutting the divider. (And do not open the divider until the head is untied.)

I know. I know, I see people doing just the opposite all the time, Some stock trailers are divider-less, or because of the way a trailer is built, it’s easiest to tie the head first, but I personally believe that is an accident waiting to happen. Just like mine did.

One day, as we were loading Missy for a ride home, my sister and I were yakking as we were loading and not really paying as much attention to what the other was doing as we should have been.

Missy' head was tied and started to walk out to close the divider behind me. Missy thought she was going to walk right out with me and when she felt her head was trapped, she went straight into severe panic mode.

Now, this horse was a solid-minded horse and a trailering veteran, but when she realized she couldn’t back out of that trailer because her head was stuck, her feet started going about 90 miles an hour up and down, up and down, stomping like crazy, on the tops of my feet.

I couldn’t get away from her because every time she lifted a hoof off of one of my feet, she'd stomp down on the other. Over and over. I was stuck! Scared and feeling the stabbing pain on the tops of my feet over and over again.

But it was happening so fast and I was so scary. Finally, my sister reached up from the outside of the trailer un unbuckled her head. Missy managed to unload herself without blasting over the top of me, and without flipping over backwards (something else we hear about all too often.)

My perfectly tenderized feet were two solid bruises for weeks afterward and I thought I had broken a bone or two in one of them, but I healed pretty fast.

Interestingly, Missy never hesitated to back into a trailer after that either. Some horses are amazing. But I personally will never tie the head before slamming that divider shut again.

In another incident, just recently, we were hauling a mare to her new home and we didn’t get very far down the road, and the mare was making a lot of noise in the back. So I got out to check on her and found her sweaty and scared and almost laying sideways. She was leaning on the divider and trying to climb the wall with her feet. She was in the first stall of our slant load trailer.

Although she had hauled pretty well previously, she was going nuts on this ride. My sister (always rescuing me) suggested opening the divider so the mare could spread her legs, which we did and she hauled just fine for the next hour until we got her to her destination.

Now I hear that is pretty common for horses to do. And it sounds like that is what Fancy was doing as well. I often wonder if they might get vertigo in the trailer sometimes and think they should be on their side. Who knows, but some horses really need to get a good base under them and giving them lots of room is a good idea.

I'd love to see the backward facing trailers manufactered here in the US. That's the way horses like to ride. My minis always chose to ride facing backwards when I don't tie them in, so if I do tie their heads, they are facing backwards.

It just seems to be more natural for them to keep their balance in a moving vehicle and I believe it's easier on their joints when the trailer goes over bumps. Trailering is tough on the knee joints. If you've never ridden, standing up, in a trailer, you might try it (in a safe situation) just to see. You really feel the bumps in your joints.

And old trailers from the 60s, 70s and 80s, that people are STILL using - oh my gosh, there is no suspension!

Part Three

Today Morgan and I went to see the cast put on. Her foot is continuing to look better.
There are still some parts that are nasty though – like that white area by the remainder of the bulb…that is bare cartilage. Urk.

But everything else is fairly dry and pink so they wrapped it up.

I didn’t get any pictures of the cast process because Fancy has decided that the vets make good chairs and she leans (practically sits) on them at every chance while they are holding her foot up. I got to stand at her head today and try to talk her out of squishing the nice ladies.

Tomorrow she is supposed to go home, so today I put a new wall mat in the trailer.

There is a very good reason it costs so much to have those mats installed!

She had to remain for observation today to make sure the cast fit right and that she would walk on it.

Fingers crossed that we go back to the barn on a nice sunny day.


Wow, that hoof is starting to look great! The vet is doing a wonderful job with it. I can't wait to see the casting job! Thank you for taking the time to share this story with us Lisa!


Part Two

From Lisa:

The kids and I went to Pilchuck Hospital yesterday to groom and love on Fancy. She seemed to be doing well, bearing weight on the bandaged foot. We left her a much cleaner horse than when we got there. She must have itched horridly with all that dried sweat and blood under her blanket. Tuesday was a nice warm day so we left the blanket off to keep her from getting sweaty.
Wednesday we went out again. This time we timed it so that we would be there for the wrap change. Again, we did some bonding. I think she was glad to see us – what do you think?

Vet says that the sugardine wrap seemed to help dry up the tissues. It does look a lot better. I see now that she didn’t take off quite as much as I thought she had. Don’t get me wrong, this is bad enough; I just thought it was worse.

The circled area is where she removed some of the coronet band. In these photos it seems like it might be less than originally thought. I have higher hopes for a great recovery.

The tissues are drying up nicely. I expect a cast to be put on in two days if everything keeps to this schedule. She got a good soaking in Epsom salts and weak Betadine today followed with a fresh wrap with Scarlet Oil. Morgan got to be the vet’s assistant.

Things are looking up. Fancy is down to ½ gram of Bute 2x a day and isn’t limping. She is not sound of course and she favors the foot while standing in her stall but while walking she looks great. Thank you to all the well wishers and support I have received from all my friends.

Back to me.

I received an email from Sharon Cregier after she viewed Part One of Fancy’s story. This is part of the text from her email. I thought it might interest you as much as it did me. We do need to find ways to make traveling safer for our horses. Something Lisa mentioned to me on the phone was that the first thing she was going to do was get a different trailer.

Dear Pat,

Next May I will be giving a presentation at the international Animal
(Air) Transportation Association conference. It is in Sydney,
Australia. The presentation concerns scenarios just like those
presented by Lisa and so graphically pictured.

Yes, there IS a solution. If you will provide your postal address, and
that of Lisa, it will be my privilege to send you both a complimentary

In the meantime, please visit I have been
compiling data on horse transport accidents for three decades. I am
aware of the American Horse Shows Association study which found that
most of the injuries presented at horse shows are transport related.
And Nat Messer's AAEP newsletter observation that many horses
transported to his clinic for routine procedures arrive with colitis.
The reason is: Horses are being transported in trailers designed for
dead weight, not live weight.

Horses must travel in trailers designed to accommodate their behavior
and center of balance and allow them to lower their heads at will.

To date, only one horse trailer in the world meets these requirements as
well as the stipulations for horse and handler and automotive safety as
establised by the OIE -- a world organization having to do with animal
health. It is a trailer which is so safe women and children load their
own mounts.

I do not receive any compensation for presentations on the problem, and
solution, of horse transport. I am not monetarily affiliated in any way
with any manufacturer.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours for the horses,
Sharon E. Cregier

The Tragic Accident

Yesterday, I was contacted by Lisa, a horse owner whose horse had suffered a severe injury in a horse trailer accident the day before, March 30th. Lisa has given me permission to post her poor mare's condition. The pictures as you can see are graphic, but it will be interesting and information to follow her case as she heels. This is, unfortunately, not an uncommon hoof injury.

It usually heels with a large scar around the back of the hoof over the soft tissue or at best, a seam that runs down the wall from the coronary band. Something, we've probably all seen years after the accident. I feel like the more we do for this type of injury, the less scarring the horse will end up with.

So as terrible as it is and as sorry as I am to know Lisa and her pretty mare are going through this, we are going to follow Fancy's story, with updates as I receive them with the hope that sharing her recuperation will help other horses. And I know we all wish Lisa and Fancy well in her recovery.

Here is Lisa’s story.

The horses, kids and I were on our way to Poulsbo to spend a few days with
Andrea and her kids. Fancy has re-developed her trailer anxiety so I spent
the last three days really working on this and thought we had it managed.
Everything was loaded up and the horses were calm. We headed back home
because I forgot a few crucial things like stirrups and chaps. I could see
Fancy was throwing her weight around, but it didn't look too bad. We pulled
into our cul-de-sac and this is what I saw when I got out of the truck.

This is NEVER a good sign with a horse trailer. There was a trail of blood down the road - why someone didn't notice it and wave me down, I don't know. (People don't notice things like this. - Pat)

Fancy gets in the trailer just fine. It's what she does once we are under
way that is causing the problems... By the time I opened the back I knew
something very bad had gone down, I was hysterical - screaming at the kids
to go in the house and get dad to call the vet because I thought Fancy was
going to have to be put down. OK - I've never seen clotted horse blood
before and I thought she had gutted herself somehow. Yes I am a drama queen
- shut up. ("Who wouldn't be in this situation?!" - Pat)

She was throwing herself to the right and trying to climb up the wall with
her left legs. She managed to rip the mat off the wall but then the rivets
that were left in the wall ripped her up.

I am pretty sure the kids are scarred for life. I might be too. I am sure
Fancy is.

She had blood on her forelock, it was even up on the ceiling.

Fancy was a wreck. She was a sweaty mess and my brain was not
working. My neighbor, Craig, suggested offering her some water and she was
glad to have it. "Thank you Craig - I wasn't thinking well."

Then I carefully unloaded her out of the trailer. Reba was a rock, very calm and soothing, she stood right next to Fancy and quietly nickered once in awhile. Fancy started shivering so I put a blanket on and ended up adding two more. One wrapped around her neck and two on her body. I was afraid she was going into shock. Leslie and Curt brought their trailer down so that we could separate the horses and take Fancy to the vet. There were many phone calls made to the vet during this time.

She was bloody from her front legs to her tail. Even Reba was wearing Fancy's blood.

When Leslie arrived, Reba looked at her and then turned to Fancy with the
quietest sweetest low nicker I have ever heard, as if to say "She's here, you're going to be alright". (Sniff...- Pat)

Fancy removed the entire outside corner of the hind left hoof.

This is where ALL the blood came from. She could hardly put any weight on
it. I gave her 2 grams of bute for the pain, but I didn't want to even wash it because I knew the water would cause so much pain. She gamely walked to
Leslie's trailer and got in with no fuss.

Reba was not happy about the separation but she loaded back into my trailer and we took them to Pilchuck Vet. Hospital in Snohomish.

At the Hospital, after sedation and much cleaning and X-rays. No, the
towel is not bunched by the hoof.

This shows how much hoof she lost. The X-rays show that she did not fracture
the coffin bone, but she did scrape it near the heel. That is gonna hurt
for awhile.

You can see here how much tissue is missing. She removed a fair bit of
sole, but the bar is left so at least she has some support. You can see
that she removed part of the coronary band by the heel so she may
have a deformed heel from now on. This is going to take about six months to
grow back in. She will have to live in a stall for quite a bit of it.

That isn’t going to go over very well with her.

As I try to find the positive here, I have an X-ray so I will be able to see
if my barefoot trimming is right according to the coffin bones and in looking
at this photo I can see that her frogs have grown in nicely - much better
than where they were a month ago.

Fancy will NOT be going on the Chief Joseph ride this year. I may not be going as a rider since I just spent the budget tonight and she still has 3 days in the

So if any of you can learn from this - this is my very hard learned advice.
If you feel motion in your trailer - GO CHECK THE HORSES.

Don't assume it is business as usual. I really thought we would end up in
Poulsbo with her all sweaty and maybe with a little hide missing from
stomping on herself, I was very wrong and I will never make that mistake

Happy trails to you all and I hope you never go through this. I will keep
you updated.


Back to me now. As you can tell, this accident is very fresh and Lisa is still reeling. Please let us know if you've experienced the same situation and what was done for your horse. Any advice for us is welcome.

Thank you, and thank you Lisa for letting me post this as you go through it. Not an easy thing. Stay strong.

Growing a New Hoof

Fancy's owner, Lisa, and I are starting this new blog so horseowners can see the evolution of growing a new hoof after sustaining an injury as traumatic as the Fancy's.

It takes about 1 year to grow a new hoof capsule from coronet band to the ground. That growth time is typically referred to as a HGC or Hoof Growth Cycle.

On this blog, we'll be able to watch as Fancy grows her new hoof capsule and those who are interested won't have to wade through my posts on the Hoof Recovery Center Blog.

Please stay tuned for more pictures and ask lots of questions!