Saturday, January 24, 2009

Shae Meets Rienzi

After a day or two of settling in (and pulling off Shae's shoes), we decided that Ren and Shae should have a chance to get to know each other. It was the most uneventful meeting. Ren is 9 and Shae is only 4, so after a couple stomps...They both settled down to their most favorite past-time - stuffing their tummies full of food.
Both Shae and Ren are easy keepers and wear grazing muzzles to help moderate their diet. They don't seem to mind, and it allows them to stay outdoors instead of being cooped up in a stall. Ren actually has seen us coming to take off the grazing muzzle and popped it off herself, so I'm very happy she opts to keep it on during the summer months voluntarily!

Shae's First Day on the Farm

Shae's transport from Wyoming all the way to Maryland was arranged through Horse Jitney Inc. Athena did a wonderful job keeping us posted on Shae's progress through the week as they traveled across the country. Folks on the farm were particularly impressed with the finesse that she pulled into our driveway with her gigantic trailer (no easy feat at all!).

I see a giant horse back there...

Shae and I meet for the first time... of course she wants to know what my friend's dogs are doing...
After raining for days it was a soppy mess, but we first let Shae explore the arena.

Then we took her to the jump field and let her play at liberty.
She sniffed around some....
Poked her head in one of the boarding stall windows....
And then finally decided to stretch out and play after her long cross country trip.Shae came with shoes and full pads. Appropriate for rocky Wyoming perhaps, but not a good combination for Maryland's wet and rainy weather. We pulled her shoes shortly after she arrived. Shae's feet are huge. She reminds me of a puppy that hasn't quite grown into her feet yet. Shae's such a sweetie that I keep forgetting she' only turned 4 in May 2008.

Shae in Wyoming Prior to Purchase

Trail Riding in the Mountains

Driving as a Two (or Three?) Year Old

Mounted Patrol Work

Mounted Patrol Work

Shae's Younger Days

July 26, 2004

September 27, 2004

December 13, 2005

December 13, 2005

Shae's Heritage

Sire's Father: Gerloff (Friesian)

Sire: Celtic Roi Des Blues (Friesian)

Sire: Celtic Roi Des Blues

Dam: May (Percheron Mare - unknown breeding)
Not the most attractive picture, but it's the only one I could track down!

Deciding to Buy a Second Horse


X-Rays of Rienzi's Feet - Summer 2008

When we first got Ren, she refused to even lift up her feet. Our farrier at the time was able to do a basic trim on her, but man oh man, did she ever put her weight on him. To clean out her feet I would try to get her to prop them up resting on the ground. What a mess!

Picking up all four feet from one side is a basic Level One Parelli task. I didn't think we'd ever get there! George and I persisted, and today, she lifts her feet lightly when asked, and pretty much holds her feet up on her own for my husband to trim her.

We have her on a 3 week trim cycle, and follow Pete Ramey's natural hoofcare techniques. Because it was costing us over $75 for a trim that was not addressing her flared and unbalanced feet, my husband studied trimming and a friend with farrier experience helped us start working on Ren ourselves. After addressing the obvious problems with her feet, we felt x-rays would give us a clearer picture of what was happening to cause her lameness.

You can see the extensive sidebone growth in the x-rays above (x-rays are of front feet only). Vet thought her feet looked excellent (at the time, we didn't tell her George was trimming her until AFTER we had her assess the feet - wanted an unbiased opinion of the trim job.) and attributed Ren's sporadic (but persistent) lameness to the sidebones.

Not a great prognosis - I was hoping for something that has a proven treatment method associated with it. Not too much out there on sidebones.... and nothing out there on ways of treating lameness attributed to sidebones. So... George and I decided to treat the sidebones with daily supplements & anti-inflamatory (Ren gets a daily vitamin from Dynamite, Glucosamine, Chondroitin, Vitamin C, and a Bute substitute daily mixed into about 2 cups of plain whole oats and 1/4 to 1/2 cup of corn oil), a strict trim cycle that promotes a heel first impact (every three weeks), turnout 24/7 (unless the weather turns really nasty), and we just purchased new hoof boots for her. I'm hoping that the hoof boots will allow her to exercise and move correctly.

Our vet is interested in seeing what happens. We plan on doing x-rays again this coming summer to see if what we are doing is impacting Ren's feet. Our vet says that she's diagnosed lameness attributed to sidebones before, but no one ever follows up regarding rehabbing the horse. Most times, she says, the owner (if they keep the horse) keeps the horse as a pasture ornament.

My research online makes me tend to agree with her. Sidebones (different sources say) rarely cause lameness, but when they do there isn't a treatment method that we could find. There was some information alluding to sidebones being reabsorbed if the hoof mechanics are working properly (heel first impact, etc...) so this is where we are starting. We don't have much other choice. Ren's really changed our lives, no one else is going to want a draft horse with chronic lameness issues. My personal goal for Ren is to be a general purpose trail riding horse so that she can lead a productive life as more then just a pasture ornament

Ren at Liberty Round Pen Work

Our good friend Susan ordered two 75 foot round pens for the farm. Finally, something "Ren-Sized" to play in! The larger circle is easier for her to maneuver with her physical limitations (feet rehab and side bones).

This was one of the first times our girl tried to stretch out into her stride. This was early summer of 2008.

How We Ended Up With a Very Large Lame Horse....

I think it's best my husband tell the story of how we came to own Rienzi. Unfortunately, I have no pictures of the auction that we bought Ren at, but I do have a couple pictures shortly after she arrived at my parent's farm.

These are pictures taken right after Ren arrived on the farm. Please excuse the ill fitting halter - it was what she came with from auction.
Horrible picture, I know, but the only picture we have of her feet at the time of purchase. Notice the extreme flare on the front hoof showing.
Ren has an absolutely monstrously giant head - even for a draft!

Does this picture say "Percheron x Quarter Horse Cross" to you?
This information and a negative Coggins test was the only information we had about this 8 year old horse we purchased.