You see, Harley's friend has a foot problem called navicular (shiver). Navicular is a condition which scares me the way laminitis and colic scare me. His friend has been barefoot for years and improved dramatically when his shoes where removed, but recently (the past 12 months) his comfort has decreased. His owner is very caring and dedicated. She has been giving him special (read: expensive) supplements to make his feet feel better and hopefully offer some healing. She also employs body and energy work techniques and booted him with feverish regularity for the better part of a year. When his comfort could not be improved enough with these tactics, she recently decided to take the plunge and have glue-on shoes installed on his front tooties. He is now sporting Epona shoes, which I find very curious, but unfortunately I cannot examine them and satisfy my curiousity, because his glue-on shoes are covered with cast material.
Why the double duty (shoes and casts) you ask? The answer is simple:
We have lots of it right now in southern New Jersey. The mud is thick and deep and sticky. It is especially bad at the entrance to Harley's shed. Harley visible despises walking through it and will actually balk when I ask him to leave the shed and follow me. This is very un-Harley-like, but the expression on his face when he squishes through the ankle deep mud says it all:
And what it really sucks at is shoes. Mud especially loves EXPENSIVE shoes. The more expensive the better. Harley's buddy is sporting some champs right now and the good news is that they have finally made him comfortable. His owner reports that her horse was trying to entice Harley to play with him using the "nip and run" strategy shortly after the installation of his new flats. Harley loves to run around, but she said that he actually looked surprised and a little confused since his docile friend does not usually initiate such games. I was very happy for all three of them.
But now, the mud is threatening to rip off the precious hoofware that is making Harley's friend so happy, which would make him an unhappy pony and his owner very, very unhappy (Did I mention that the shoes are expensive?).
When I visited Harley yesterday, I found that his friend was no longer in the same paddock as Harley. Harley's friend is temporarily hanging out in the riding ring, because the sand is doing a much better job of draining the water. His shoes should be much safer in those conditions, but it is sad that they are also temporarily separated. Their living arrangements are right next to each other and they can definitely see each other and even stand within thirty feet of each other if they want to, but they are still apart until the mud subsides.
I thought about moving Harley over there with his friend, but I really do not want to do that. The riding ring is adjacent to another horse paddock and the horses tend to fraterinize over the fence. This is unsafe and a horse management no-no in my book. Harley's friend will probably be fine, but Harley is an alpha. I do not want him fighting with another alpha over the fence. I have never seen Harley fight with another horse, but I do not want to give him a 24/7 opportunity to give it a try, so separated they must stay for the time being.
|As an aside, it was so windy that his mane was completely flipped to the other side of his neck in the next photos.|
|There was some heavy nickering going on here.|
|Don't worry guys! It's only temporary.|