Okay so here's the story. We are a horse rescue at my barn (I am trainer and have boarders but that's an entirely separate business than the non-profit to avoid any confusion). That said, in November we took in a horse to help another rescue that had been sent to brokers and was supposedly being sold to slaughter. Was told he was 5 or 6 and sound. Well turns out he's got an old bow - was mildly tender on it when we got him but couldn't put him on stall rest as he had to be at a quarantine barn which is a medium sized field with a run in. Did the SMBs on day/off nite and monitored the leg which seemed to have little heat and mild unsoundness. He was relatively quiet in the field.
Since coming to the barn here, we tried stall rest and he panicked and paced and made the leg worse, so we tried keeping him in the barnyard at nite and in a stall during the day and the leg seemed to get MORE aggravated, despite cold hosing and wrapping. Gradually with him living in the barnyard instead (about 30x 50) he became sound and we let him out with the group b/c he started to pace the fencline, even with a buddy in there with him, once his leg started to feel better. He stayed sound most of the winter (but was in no work as we wanted to let the leg completely heal).
Come spring and with spring fever and some mud, it's been on again off again. However recenlty we've redone the paddocks and did a LOT of mud removal and drainage and now it's pretty much dry even after it rains, and he's more unsound than ever. Tried stall rest again - same result as before - and even tried poultice/standing wraps, and then cold hose/SMBs and he's WORSE. I'm beyond stumped. Vet says stall rest and cold hose, the typical, and keep him drugged if necessary, but I disagree as he's already not holding weight well (slightly ribby despite good quality pellets 11% protein 6% fat 3x/day and hay 24/7) and I'm pretty sure daily ace will just make ulcers worse. He won't eat bute (likely b/c it also makes his stomach worse) and is a picky eater and won't eat ulcer supps. I'm at my wit's end, with limited resources as donations are few and far between in this economy, and a waiting list of horses needing rescue coming out of my ears...
The hard part is we are a rescue, and just don't have the means/resources to have him handled and worked with 4x a day and constantly wrapped and drugged (let alone the kind of life that would be for him), and some days he's great and total doll to handle, and other days he's a total bear to handle on the ground, let alone cold hose or wrap (rearing, backing, panicking, screaming), and acts herd bound and like a total spaz. I'm SURE it has to do with poor track handling, and I DO have a working student working with him a few times a week, but I'm really looking for more ideas or help on getting that leg to heal. Unfortunately as a 6 year old, if he isn't even pasture sound, it seems cruel to me to keep him like this, though I just don't see why a simple bow just won't heal unless there some degenerative joint disease going on....any ideas?????
ANY thoughts or help would be appreciated.
Also - yes, my mare did recently foal, and no she is not a rescue nor is she a part of the rescue, she's a well-bred TB mare that I personally own and train, that was bred to an incredible Oldenburg stallion. Just wanted to make sure people were well aware that my personal mare wasn't a rescue that I bred! I hate hearing about stuff like that....anyway sorry...back to the horse - ideas anyone?!?!?