About 2 days ago, I found my miniature horse laying down on the ground. This is uncharacteristic of him, as he is usually the first one to come running up to me for attention! Because he is never down, the first thought that ran through my head was COLIC. So my instinct was to get him standing up, and walking around. As soon as I got him up, we went to take the first steps and he immediately favored his right front hoof. So I checked him over for any stones or abcesses, and found nothing. I felt down his leg and hoof, and there was no obvious heat.
This mini is very special to my heart, as I have had hopes to use him with my future children. He is only 6 years old, and it saddens me that this has happened to him at such a young age. I am very motivated to bring him back to full soundness, as I also compete with him in cart classes.
So we called the farrier out to have him take a look at our mini, and he assumes that he went lame or foundered. He went on to explain to us that supposedly there is a link between laminitis and magnesium deficiencies; so he instructed us to not only soak his hoof in warm water and epsom salt (magnesium sulfate), but to feed him small amounts of the salt to restore the magnesium. So after much research, I decided that it was worth a shot.
Although its only been a couple of days, I can already see a noticeable difference. He is still favoring that hoof... but he is progressively becoming more independent in terms of mobility. In order to keep him comfortable, I have given him minimal doses of phenylbutazone, restricted his grazing times, rub therapeutic warming-cooling gel on his fetlock joint, and have used padded hoof boots.
My problem is that I will be leaving to attend college out of state in a week. My parents are completely comfortable in doing horse related tasks like tossing them some hay, grooming, and other basic horse care tasks. Our horses are very low maintenance, but with this new development with our mini, he is going to need some extra care.
My question is: what are some things that we can do to keep our miniature horse COMFORTABLE while he is on the mend, keeping in mind that my parents are going to be the one's dealing with his care? I know for sure that they will not be able to do all of the things that I am doing right now.
Any advice from people who have dealt with lame horses before would be greatly appreciated!