Luke is a little over 3 year old appendix colt at the time of this writing (Feb 2015), weighing in at about 1000 pounds. He has a couple of problems that are being worked through along with his training to become a reliable trail and arena horse.
The first is that he has flared quarters in both front hooves. While the soles and frogs are pretty good, the quarters are heavily flared out which compromises the quality of his hoof and makes him weaker. The longer this continues the worse it will get. As you will see in the pictures below, he has great forward connection, it’s just the flares in the quarters that are heavily affected.
Two things will be happening for Luke, the first is a diet change in the case that he is having any issues with grains and sugars, and the second is a good barefoot trim that takes the pressure off of the walls so they can grow down properly connected. His frogs are pretty good, minor trimming required but overall will be left alone to continue doing what they do best.
His next issue is that he has diarrhea which can be caused by quite a few things. Again, a diet change and immediate assistance for his fore and hind gut to stabilize the acid and help him fix anything that is going wrong in there. He shows indications of being sensitive to both areas and as we don’t have any history on him, the assumption can be well made that he likely has something going on in there. Ulcers are very common and as such we have put together a custom diet for him to work on for the next while.
Finally, Luke is young at only 3 years old and needs a lot of ground work and saddle work to get him ready for riding both in the arena and out on trails. We are constantly testing him to see what will cause him to be worried while making sure he moves his feet where and when we ask him to. He’s a very smart horse and has responded really well to what would likely be seen as natural horsemanship techniques. We don’t train and work with any of our horses with whips, spurs or chains. We do all of our groundwork with either a lead rope or flag to move and direct and the same in the saddle with a flag, legs and hands. Getting a horse to where they are scared teaches them nothing as they go into fight of flight mode. We have a preference to keep them in learning mode.
Update 02/05/2015: Good news is that Luke’s new diet has resolved his diarrhea issue and is back to being “regular”. Side effects of that are better behaviour, more energy, better coat and easier to clean up! Training and flares are left on the list for him.
Update 02/28/2015: Flares are coming down and training is going well. More rides being done and he is working off legs for turns and stops and backing up. His back up is exceptional with speed enough to keep up with a horse walking forward.
We’ll post more information on Luke as we have it and let you know how he’s coming along over time. We’ve steadily trimmed his quarters to reduce the flare and with a change in his diet he should easily be able to grow in a new hoof that is well connected and strong.
Update 03/22/2015: Luke’s flares are coming out nicely, will post pictures of his trim soon. We’ve discovered through our new testing service of fecal egg counts, that Luke has a higher than normal count and he’s been dewormed with Ivermectin. We’ll keep track of the egg count over the next couple of weeks and start him on a modified diet immediately that should help reduce and remove further eggs and worms he might have. Luke briefly got more liquid in his manure from a change in hay but we’ve altered his supplements to assist with that and he’s back to normal. Something to keep in mind is that no horse is the same and treatments can change by the week depending on environment. Keeping on top of it comes with the territory.
Update 07/05/2015: Luke has been doing amazing over the past 3 months. He has become a very good trail horse with lots of work on having him not be spooky. Luke has sensitive fronts on gravel so he gets booted. This is completely normal in our opinion as it’s not different for people, we just don’t hold the pain in as much as horses do. Once booted he has been very forward and doesn’t need to concentrate on his pain and can concentrate on what is going on around him and to his rider.
Worms were eradicated with one dose of Ivermectin and we haven’t seen a comeback. The diet change assists in that area as we add diatameceous earth to each serving. Based on the hay he gets, he can get a bit runny with his manure, but overall he’s doing great.
His feet are doing very well, minor flare still exists but the connection is strong. His frogs are great and in the dry summer now he maintains mostly by himself. Maintenance trims happen to get rid of chips and to roll the edges, and also to trim the bars and frog a bit. He recently had some sprinkler training as he seems to get nervous around them when trail riding. While it was successful, he will need more.
Update 10/02/2015: Luke has come a long ways since the last update of 3 months ago. His runny manure has completely gone and isn’t coming back and his weight has gone up and maintained nicely. He changed hay a bit over the summer and there was a brief return of runny manure, but it wasn’t long before his body got back on track and he’s doing very well now. His training has come leaps and bounds as he has attended two games days and many trail and arena rides to get him more precise. He turns, stops and goes completely off of leg aids and reins are rarely required at a walk. This training will be continued up to the trot and then further into the canter. As he is still young, regular canter training won’t start until next year. He does pick it up nicely on trails but to push him wouldn’t be healthy for his body just yet. Continued regular trot and walk exercise will continue to put the muscle on that he needs to support a rider at both canter and gallop in the near future.
His feet are doing very well and get regular maintenance trims. Boots are always used on trails and the process of putting them on and taking them off has improved significantly as he now raises his own foot before even asking.
Here’s a video of Luke having a dream! We love this guy.