All Aboard the Struggle Bus

Long post ahead but lots of media too!

So obviously the day after I write a post about how well the chestnut boys are doing I go out at night to clean stalls to find Phoenix on three legs (he had been fine in the afternoon when my parents saw him). He was so horribly lame that I immediately put both boys in their stalls and told the husband to hurry out and help me assess what was going on with my poor pony.

Really there wasn’t anything to see. I couldn’t find a pulse in the foot (I admit I’ve always been bad at it) and the only place he seemed at all reactive was at the one vein in his ankle. Since he has shoes and snow pads on there really wasn’t much I could check on his feet plus how does a horse in shoes and pads get an abscess?

When the only sign of anything is a bumpy vein?

So I just wrapped up all the things.

Thoroughly bundled

A couple of days go by and my horse is still a cripple so I decide to have the vet out (actually vet’s son who graduated last year and has joined the practice) before the weekend. He checks P all over, can’t find anything shoulder, knee, ankle, etc, so there we are down to his hoof although he doesn’t find a crazy pulse or anything. He wants to pull the shoe of course so I said fine. Phoenix has never been so bad for anything the entire time I’ve known him. I got him when he was 8, he turns 29 next month, and he was gone for 9 years, so still roughly 12 years. It took over an hour to get the shoe off, I don’t know the exact time. At one point P struck out as I was holding him and got me in the leg (ow!). Finally after many “discussions” and some sedative we got the shoe off. Under the pad was all kinds of junk – so much mud and gravel and crap. Ugh. P hoof tested sore around the heel so we knew the likely culprit but we took x-rays anyways. X-ray showed two connected pockets of abscess near the heel and likely to come out the coronet. Also showed that despite appearances (long toe, low heel) his hoof structure is great and only a tiny amount of arthritis.

Best part is the cookies

So we soaked and wrapped with Epsom salt poultice and P ate lots of horse cookies and got his mane pulled. Then the leg starting really swelling up…

One sausage leg

Stampede grew increasingly bored between not having his turnout buddy and hanging out in his stall while P got his foot soaked.

Is she really soaking his foot for 30 minutes?

Just hanging out with his brother

Devoted – P was hanging out in Stampede’s bigger stall this day

Then just when I was starting to get nervous we finally saw some progress.

I failed at taking another picture of it the next day, but the hole doubled in size and then P was able to get around other than being a bit sore without his shoe. Of course the pasture was frozen mud craters so he couldn’t go out without his shoe though.

Foot soaking selfies

Finally, a full week after it all started, P got his shoe back on with a pour in pad this time and had his other front shoe reset and treated similarly. Then he got to go outside and the chestnut clan was reunited and oh so happy.

Then the next day I go out to ride Maestro and…


The boarding barn has stall mattress systems so the front has a metal bar that’s screwed into the cement to hold the top mat tight. Somehow Maestro caught the back of his shoe on the metal, got it wedged under, and ripped off his shoe. On a Thursday night when the farrier comes on Mondays there. Ugh.

Mom I really don’t know what happened, the stall grabbed my shoe

I waffled about riding him, but between my trip to California and sickness he hadn’t been ridden consistently for a few weeks and I knew he needed it. So I got on and he was sound and we did an easy flat. I called the farrier the next morning and left a message. I never heard anything, but went out in the evening planning to get on either way. Still no shoe so I assumed we were out of commission for a lesson Saturday. Then the BM messages me at 7 pm saying the farrier came by after I left! Woo hoo! So we lessoned Saturday and the beast was happy to be on his schedule and now I have a paranoia about his ripping off a shoe on the stall mat again and need to come up with something to prevent that, lol.

I was trying to do a selfie but then he started nuzzling my neck and tickling me

So that’s what I’ve been up to besides still trying to get back to feeling like a normal person. Doctor ran tests and everything came back normal. I’m better overall but still not up to my normal level of energy or strength and frustrated. At this point, I’m just trying to do things anyways and see what happens. Thank goodness for parents and husbands who help me get things done. Oh and friends who rode with me even after me warning them to keep an eye out if I start to look like I might pass out or start not making any sense. Barn friends just understand that sometimes you just need that time in the saddle. 😉



  1. emma

    ugh trust the horse to find the one possible way to take his shoes off *in* his own stall…. glad they all seem fine tho!!

    1. stampyandthebrain (Post author)

      I know, there aren’t many shoe removal options available in there! Even better I once found that Stampede had gotten a shoe off in his stall (same stall) and I always assumed it was loose when he came in but now I wonder…

  2. Holly

    Oh boys! None of this!
    My energy levels suck this time of year – Vitamin D and trying to get as much sun as possible helps. I also added some additional Vit C since flu is sooo nasty this year.

    1. stampyandthebrain (Post author)

      I know, I told them to get it together!

      I’ve been looking into vitamin D supplements (I looked and I was not tested for levels of vitamin d) but between the 5k IU ones when the guidelines say don’t exceed 4k IU per day and wanting a brand that’s at least certified some way to be safe I haven’t picked any up yet. Thinking about getting 2k IU. I’m just at the start of tax season so my work days will be getting longer and I won’t be seeing the sun so much sadly! Not that I see it much right now anyways…lol.

  3. Leah

    Horses always have to keep us on our toes! Silly boys. Glad the abscess is resolved and that Maestro’s shoe is back on — hopefully he leaves it on 😉

    1. stampyandthebrain (Post author)

      Sometimes I forget that horses can’t just be easy and stay out of trouble, silly me!

  4. L. Williams

    Carlos used to get abscesses despite having pads and shoes on lol it was such a joy

    1. stampyandthebrain (Post author)

      Well I learned my lesson about not putting pour ins under snow pads that’s for sure! I should have taken a picture, there was a crazy amount of junk that had gotten between his hoof and the pad from all of our freeze and thaw cycles we had been having.

  5. Rachel - For Want of a Horse

    Even thankful for your barn friend who rode with you but played mom and told you to stop cantering? Lol

    1. stampyandthebrain (Post author)

      Haha yes I suppose. I’m a bit stubborn sometimes maybe, lol.

  6. Teresa

    Glad that it was ‘just’ an abscess. with this weather it’s so easy for them to get mud under the pads. My farrier did pour in pads on irish too.

    1. stampyandthebrain (Post author)

      We have never had so much freeze and thaw here before and that certainly contributed to it heavily. I’m glad everything is all sealed up now to prevent it from happening again!

  7. Stacie Seidman

    Ugh, Horses! I have mattresses too. We had tried to just tuck in the rubber mat between the stall and the aisle floor, but doesn’t stay put. I was thinking of a threshold like your barn seems to have but now I’m not so sure!
    Hope you’re feeling back to normal soon!

    1. stampyandthebrain (Post author)

      Well I think you would be fine as long as your edge was at the stall door. Stampede’s stall was redone and the installer moved the edge back so there are several inches of cement between the mat and the stall door. The original installer took it all the way to the door. Let me know and I can take a picture of one of the stalls that hasn’t been redone for reference. The original mats didn’t have enough fill before the mattresses so they sunk too much and the mat on top got holes. Stampede being so big had ended up with a lot of holes.
      Thanks, I would love to feel normal again!

      1. Stacie Seidman

        Oh that makes sense the way you’ve explained. Mine aren’t actually mattresses, I have the ones with the memory foam. So it’s easy to cut and fill the entire stall floor. No spaces like that, so I guess as long as it’s right under the door we’ll be ok. Thanks!

  8. Tracy

    I mean… you didn’t really expect to get a horse that wasn’t even the slightest bit special needs… right?! Lol

    1. stampyandthebrain (Post author)

      Well I did try to buy one that seemed to have the least special needs tendencies this time but I guess they all have to do something? Hopefully he never attempts to reach Stampede’s extra special status because I don’t think I could handle it!


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