About a week ago, after a storm had passed through, I tried to put on Jackson's boots so he could go out in the pasture with the others. I couldn't get a boot on any of his feet -- they had grown too long and it just wasn't going to happen. We didn't want Jackson to be stuck in the barn all by himself with no access to the sunlight so we put him in the fenced arena. The footing is sand so he wasn't in any danger of stepping on a pebble and getting an abscess. Still, he was a bit gimpy for two days and I was grumpy about him not being trimmed enough last time the farrier was out.
Jackson, in addition to being sore, initially complained loud and long about being separated from Lucy. We moved her and Pistol to the oak pasture and put Flash and Tex in the front pasture, which is parallel to the arena. Jackson immediately settled down without Lucy right there to tease him.
We noticed that Tex and Flash started hanging out along the fence line closest to Jackson. And Jackson took naps and pooped and hung out on the pasture side of the arena. He started walking without a gimp and he was calm.
He actually seems to be doing better than he does in the boots. And the boots are a pain to put on and off -- and after a week or so they stink. Which can't be healthy.
We have decided to skip the boots and make the arena Jackson's winter pasture. There are patches of grass growing in the corners and he can eat his meals at his leisure -- without Pistol (the food hog) chasing him away from his vitamins. When the ground dries and his feet get hard, we will put him back in the oak pasture with the girls. In the meantime, everyone seems happy and Jackson is thriving.
Now, if we could just get Brett sound we'd be in business. He has bone spurs, can't get an appointment with the specialist until March, and is in a lot of pain if he walks around too much.