I work on a horse farm where we have about 17 horses. So on a daily basis as some will agree. If its not one thing it's always another with horses. There always getting hurt or getting injured one way or the other. Our horses are on the out at night and in during the day schedule because of the flies. We have the boys and girls seperated except for a retired Grand Prix dressage horse who's in is 20s he's the only boy allowed with the girls. When I arrive at work I drive through a automatic gate. I drive down a long driveway with pastures on each side. We have 6 pastures total. But 4 of those pastures are combined into one big field so they have tons of space to run and enjoy being a horse. Well that morning when I drove down the drive way. I noticed one of our older mares standing alone. When everyone else in her field was in a different direction which was odd of her. Normally she is right with the herd. I wait until my co worker shows up and he agrees there is something wrong with her. I grab a lead rope and make the 20 mile hike to get her. That's what it seemed like, I would walk a mile for a sick horse to bring it back to safety. I throw a lead rope on her, she was retired so she didn't wear a halter in the field. I begin to walk and she won't take a step. After some kind words and gentle persuasion she starts to walk with me. It was ageny for her to walk. But I couldn't leave her outside. We make it to the barn. We could see it in her face that something was wrong. We're around these animals 24/7 so we know if they sneeze we know something is wrong.
We immediately take her temperature. It was normal. We called the vet right away and she was on her way. We thought she was lame and needed some bute and other anti inflammation meds that the vet provided. She even had her baffled at the outcome. Our vet said that she cannot be turnout anymore. That she had foundered and she needs to stay off grass. After about the first few weeks, she didn't seem to be getting worse. We started walking her into the indoor which was only a few feet from her stall, she loved going in there to lay down and get off those painful front feet. This was her routine for about a few more weeks. We had farriers out and the vet on a constant basis just trying everything to get her comfortable.
But as those weeks go by. I could see more and more in her face that something more deep down was wrong. There were days where we would sit with her to keep her company. The owner of the horse was trying to decide what she should do. Let her 20 some year old mare suffer anymore from what we thought was founder. She would never be able to go outside again and enjoy life as a horse. She would constantly be in pain. Then the vet came out one day she took some X-rays. It took about a day to develop. Well the founder that we thought she had because that is how she was walking. Even the vet told us it was founder. Until she saw the X-rays. What we thought was founder was her coffin bone in both front legs were coming though the bottom of her hooves. There was nothing that could of been done. No pain medication or operation could fix this. Our hearts were broken, we all fought for this little mare so hard and long. The owner decided she wasn't going to let her suffer. So the vet came out that night. We walked the mare into the indoor arena for the last time. We waited until she was laying in her normal spot. With me and my co worker and the owner. We're with her from the beginning of this journey to the very end. We wanted to make sure she wouldn't be scared. Then the vet put our precious mare to sleep. For the first time in a while that little mares ears were up and she looked at ease and not in pain anymore.
The main reason I made this thread is the little signs such as founder or lame. Don't always assume its something simple. Don't always quit too early. When you use up the very last resource. That is why hoof care and knowing the signs that a horse is lame is very important cause you never know what could lay under the surface.