Monday, August 11, 2014


I'm so done.

This weekend I was supposed to do a Fun Day with 16 obstacles and the time to work through them until Ashke was comfortable. In two weeks I was supposed to do a schooling show at the same place, with the same people, so I could practice my dressage, the EOH phase and get Ashke blazing on the speed round. All of that has been cancelled. There has been an outbreak of VSV:

Vesicular stomatitis Indiana virus (VSIV) (often still referred to as VSV) is a virus in the family Rhabdoviridae; the well-known rabies virus belongs to the same family. VSIV can infect insects, cattle, horses and pigs. It has particular importance to farmers in certain regions of the world where it can infect cattle. This is because its clinical presentation is identical to the very important foot and mouth disease virus.

The virus is zoonotic and leads to a flu-like illness in infected humans.

VSV results in blisters (think cancer sores) on the horse's mouth and tongue. Sometimes the blisters appear in the coronary band. It is not normally deadly (immuno compromised horses aside) and the biggest concern is the loss of weight from the horse not wanting to eat, which is countered by offering wet, soupy food instead. It passes in a week or so, but the quarantine time is 21 days. 

This makes three summers in a row with a reason to quarantine the barn (although the State Vet doesn't recommend curtailing or cancelling equine events for VSV). (Pigeon Fever, fungal scare of multiple flavors, EHV1 and now VSV). It kind of sucks.

That is the first issue facing us.

The second is Ashke's feet.

From December 2012 until May 2013, Ashke had his feet trimmed by Michelle. She was wonderful. However, she will no longer travel to do feet, which makes me very sad. I understand why she's making that choice, I'm just not happy about it.

Ashke has been NQR on his right front ever since his first trim with the new barefoot trimmer. Bad enough that even after the trimmer came back out, I wasn't happy with the way his feet looked, how he was moving, and brought in a second opinion. I have even been thinking about shoes. Unfortunately, the new barefoot trimmer took off so much hoof wall (first thing he did was rasp the outside hoof walls up almost three inches all the way around) that the second farrier (out to evaluate putting shoes on him) couldn't put shoes on him without risking Ashke ripping out a chunk of his hoof wall. 

This is the same horse that Michelle said 12 weeks ago, had perfect feet. And a nice thick hoof wall.

I just want to cry.

J and I were to do a ride yesterday, but he was just sore enough in the boots that we turned around less than a mile out. That means that over the three days of the weekend, we managed to ride twice - both times less than two miles. And the weather couldn't have been better. 82 on Saturday and 75 on Sunday.
  Instead, Ashke was treated with Bute and then we drove to Murdoch's and picked up a container of Magic Cushion.

To make matters worse, we did a Moonlit ride up North Table Mountain last night (more on that tonight - with blurry pictures) and on the one brief gallop we did Ashke managed to throw both hind boots, tearing the gaiter on one of them. They are incredibly loose now, given that his hooves are shorter and shaped differently. Luckily, the bute helped and he was just a touch sensitive on his right front (this has been a chronic problem foot since I first got him). Overall, he did great on the ride, even after throwing both hind boots.

I really am leaning toward shoes on him. I'm tired of the inconsistent performance of the Gloves and am really afraid to spend the money on Renegades. It just feels like one issue after another. Sigh.

I left him last night fly sheet covered with a thick pad of Magic Cushion on his feet.

As a Best Practices bit of information for anyone wanting to use Magic Cushion: I used a putty knife from the hardware store to apply it. That worked incredibly well. It went on evenly across the hoof, packed well into all the crevasses, and I didn't even have to wear gloves for the application. Highly recommend getting a metal or plastic putty knife for application.


  1. Ugh, I'm sorry! Spirit started doing the same thing with his feet and we ended up putting him on a hoof supplement (I think it's hoofshoers secret but I can find out and make sure if you are interested.) and then shoeing his problem feet which were his two fronts in our case. In 6 months, we were able to take the shoes off, go back to barefoot with boots on the bad trails and his feet look great now and he's sound. Our farrier who is amazing recommended the supplement and it's amazing! I wish you luck!

  2. We have VS too. I didn't realize how much it was spreading out of Texas. Bummer your stuff got cancelled but I know exactly how you feel. We started our 21 days until freedom last week, so hopefully soon we can leave again.

  3. I want to cry for you/with you. =(

    I hate that you're dealing with quarantine and trimming issues all at once and having to miss out on planned events. That sucks donkey balls.

    And I completely empathize with your dilemma with the boots. I've tossed the idea of shoeing around in my head many times. Boots are SO tedious to deal with; every fellow booter who I run across at endurance rides always mutters the same thing when they're replacing trashed or lost boots on the trail and I find it to be SO true: It's such a LABOR of love. But then, I suppose, shoes are lost frequently, too, especially if you're not lucky enough to have a farrier who can trim a balanced hoof and properly apply a shoe to said foot.

    Have you thought at all about the EasyCare shoes? Gluing or nailing? The glue sounds heinous to deal with, and nails seems scary to me due to the wealth of opportunity of damage from a misplaced nail in the hoof, but the concept of those shoes is an appealing one...

    *hugs your way* and I cannot wait to hear about the moonlit ride!! It was SO BEAUTIFUL here last night. I was working (bat acoustics), but riding sounds WAY better. I shall live vicariously through you!

    1. IDK, bat acoustics sounds pretty cool.

      The Easy Care shoes are $41 each, on top of the trim and nailing (or gluing) which puts the price point at about $250 every seven to eight weeks. Out of my price range.

      At this point, shoes isn't an option until we can get his hoof wall thicker. It seems like we took a huge jump back within the past three weeks. And the boots don't fit any longer. A year ago he was in size 1 (too big from the get go), then in May Michelle said .5 for the back (better, but with his current trim way too big) and those boots got ripped apart last night on the trail.

      So, another $130 for the 0 size and hope they work.

      What is the point of having them fit to your horse's feet if the fitter doesn't really understand how they are supposed to fit.

    2. Oh oh I've got it. Take all of T's angsty teenager-tude and evolve it into trimming feet ;-) Send him to evening classes and then in a few months he can become your trimmer. :-p Rasping/trimming feet is incredibly cathartic, may help all that surly attitude go away hehe

      And THEN you'd have your whole family involved in equine things =)

  4. The knife idea is BRILLIANT!! Thank you for the tip! I hope the Magic Cushion helps, and I'm so, so bummed that you're having such a rough time with his feet.

    I personally think that Renegade and EasyCare should work together to produce a hybrid boot: I want a boot with the Glove foot concept with a tougher gaiter that doesn't rip off of the boot after 80 miles riding, with the same Velcro that Renegade uses on their boots. The Velcro of the Gloves is absolute crap. I just had to order my THIRD gaiter in 6 months because the flimsy Velcro on one of Lily's boots completely tore off on a normal trot ride through the park across the street. Every time something like that happens I think of shoes, and then remind myself that $20 every couple of months to maintain a $60 boot functional is way, way cheaper than $150 for shoes every 5 weeks (Lily had to have a short shoeing cycle because she grows hoof so fast). I completely understand why you're considering shoes for Ashke given his level of discomfort recently and the issues you are having getting boots to work with his feet. Hoof boots in general can be a huge PITA and on a sensitive horse, any slight change in the trim can really make them uncomfortable. I wish you were closer so I could just take a look at his feet. We could also try some of the assortment of boots that Lily currently has on his tootsies and come up with something. I know you had talked to Mel about buying Renegades from her but what about having her ship boots out to you for you to try? Just to try on is feet. Consignment boots are also less costly than brand new. She was absolutely great about letting me try boots, helping me figure out sizing and trouble shooting. The one thing that Renegade has that no other boot manufacturer has is a fit guarantee. If the boots don't fit right, you send them back. They'll take the boots back even if you've been using them and they will help you figure out what size you need. Though I think you had been concerned about Ashke's longer trimming cycle being an issue with the Renegades? Were you able to find out if any of the barn farriers will do the Eponas or EasyShoes? I hope your boy is back to 100% very soon!

    1. And the quarantine issue really sucks. It's awful that some quarantine or another keeps happening at your barn during the height of show season every summer. :(

    2. I've replaced the gaiters on my fronts twice in two months. I've replaced the back boots in May and he ripped to shit the gaiter last night. I'm not going to order a new gaiter - I need to buy new boots because the back hooves are smaller than they were three months ago because of the trims.

      I could just cry.

  5. The endurance trifecta probably has the best advice per Ashke's feet. I'm sorry you are having to deal with it, it can be so disheatening and quarantine's are just PITA.

  6. Oh Karen, I'm so sorry about the quarantine. That sucks.
    I completely understand about the hoof problems. Paj has crummy feet. They've been much better since we moved to the ranch, but I've really been through Hoof Hell, and I know how frustrating it is.