...is a sound horse. Yes, you read that correctly. Yesterday morning when I did barn chores, Jackson was completely sound, with perky ears and bright eyes. He looked at his halter, then at me, then at his halter. I promised to ride him today because there wasn't time before work yesterday. I was SOOOO excited.
Last night as I was driving home, stuck in traffic, in the middle of a two and a half hour commute (which should have been an hour less than that), Brett called me. He had just finished feeding and Jackson was "don't-make-me-walk" lame. All the joy of the season (what little there was left after being stuck in the car for so long) flew right out the car window and sailed off towards Palm Springs. I choked back tears and thought pessimistic, fatalistic thoughts. "I'll never ride him again." "He's never going to be sound." "If I want to ride, I need a different horse." "I don't want a different horse." I got home. Brett gave me a big hug and I dissolved into tears.
I did some research after visiting Jackson in the barn. I'm not alone, apparently. Horses with thin soles and crappy hoof walls are prone to abscesses in the wet months. This will probably be my life from October through April. I pick his feet twice a day, apply hoof hardening products, supplement, and he has pads on the front. Brett keeps his turnout as dry as possible with wood pellets added after it rains. There really isn't much else I can do besides locking him up in a stall on shavings 24/7. And that is not going to happen. His mental health is as important as his physical health. I'll just deal with it. Occasional pity parties and all.
This morning, he was still hopping lame. I could tell the minute I saw him standing in his turnout. His eyes say "my feet hurt and I don't want to move."
On the other hand, I hear the hay cart coming down the barn aisle.
He managed to hop inside his stall for breakfast. At lunch time, he was back outside standing in the sun. And he had rolled. I told him about the competition with Abbe at Skoog Farm and he isn't about to let a girl beat him in a Dirtiest Horse contest.
The big lunchtime news was herd integration. I talked to Kalvin's owner and we decided to release Kalvin from his paddock and let him be part of the herd. He's completed his year of paddock rest, and he's back in light work. He's very social and wants to be with the other horses in the worst way. After spending over a year getting to know each other over the fence, the integration was pretty blasé.