One of the problems I am dealing with is improper absorption of nutrients as a result of damage to my GI tract caused by celiac disease. It is ironic to me as I have been delving so deeply into equine nutrition. Turns out Ramsey and I have had some of the same problems. In Ramsey's case, the nutrients were missing from his diet. In my case, I am unable to absorb them. Different problems, similar results.
I haven't forgotten my promise to write about nutrition either, it just got lost in the fog for a bit. I have also been struggling with it to a degree because I have found that many (most?) people are very resistant to talking about it at all. I have encountered a tremendous reluctance to even discuss the possibility of nutritional issues and this has left me seriously puzzled. After pondering this for several months, I have come to think that the problem of nutrition is two-fold: first, it is a complex, often bewildering subject that can't always be easily fixed. Second, many horse owners take any suggestion that there could be a nutritional problem as a criticism of their horse keeping skills.
It is far easier and more satisfying to buy a tub of vitamins and feel that we have done right by our animals than it is to go looking for trouble. Unfortunately, I have come to believe that most of our horses do well in spite of those lovely white supplement tubs rather than because of them. For those who are interested (and I know there are a few:), I will get around to it one of these days.
For now, a rather overdue foot update:
If you recall, last Fall, Ramsey's foot had gone all sideways on me and was collapsing inwards...
I can't tell you how many hours I have spent looking at this foot as well as all the bones above it and watching how Ramsey moves. In late Fall, I made a conscious effort to set aside all of the trimming advice I had gotten to date and stopped studying other hoof trimming methods. I am not saying that any of that information was bad, any skill has to start somewhere after all. Rather, there comes a point when you have to step away from books and experts and let the foot in front of you tell you what it needs. I think this is true for any hands-on skill, at least it is for me. I study everything I can until I come to a point where I have to stop studying in order to learn.
It is also true that, just as every finger print is unique, every hoof is unique. Ramsey's foot is a bit more unique yet. There is no book that covers this foot. It was obvious that what I had been doing was not working any more.
I made changes in Ramsey's feed to address nutritional deficits and imbalances and I set about trying to do what this very special and unique foot wanted. I made some mistakes along the way and they showed up in the foot, as they always do, but I am much happier with where we are now. This is where we were 2/16/14...
and where we are 3/7/14...(note how much shinier the foot is, that is from the balanced nutrition)
In these next photos, you can see how that abscess he had last Fall slowly grew out. You can also see how the hoof wall has gradually thickened. I attribute that to nutrition as well.
Starting to look like a decent foot, (note, I don't usually trim the frog much at all, but Ramsey's is so tough that it does not wear down at all in the snow. It was growing well past the bottom of the foot.) 3/7/14
The bone loss shows up on the outside of the hoof as well, in the line that runs down the side of the foot...
We have managed to maintain good wall connection at the toe and the heels are slowly strengthening. I would like to see the entire foot about a 1/2 inch shorter than it is here...