Thursday, July 9, 2009

More Thanks, More Nate!

Christmas in July! Today a surprise package arrived from Valley Vet Supply, containing a new manure fork, grooming tools, gauze sponges, a cotton lead and a much welcome gift certificate! Thank you Secret Santa!

Nate update: I am in awe of this horse. Or whatever greater power(s?) watches over him. Or both. Or all of them! It seems as though he looks forward to whatever new things come along with each new day. Of course, today we tried something fun.

We went for a very very short walk! Now that Nate is showing signs of life in all his limbs, we'll see if building a little muscle tone will help stabilize him even more. Dr. B thinks this might be very helpful. Once he gets a little stronger, she also recommended setting up a little course of 4X4's or other objects to walk over to encourage Nate to pick his feet up higher. Not yet, though. He currently has to step over the frame of the corral panel gate to go in and out. He clears it well with the right foot, but still clips it with the left and the frame bar is only about half the thickness of a 4X4. One day at a time.

Later, as we changed his fly boot and flushed his heel, Nate voluntarily picked up his foot! We didn't hold it up very long, but the big news is that he remained stable with his foot held off the ground. He didn't lean, he didn't wobble, he didn't shift his weight. The sole and frog look clean and dry. Hopefully, by the time the farrier visits again in a few days, Nate will be able to stand for a very preliminary trim. All we're shooting for this time is to have the dead frog and sole removed and trim off a "wing" of hoof wall that is threatening to break off in an unpleasant way. In addition to not asking him to stand on three legs for a long time, we want to avoid changing his hoof angles drastically all at one time.

Finally, one more small milestone. When he arrived, Nate was unable to rest unless he leaned against a wall or door frame. Today, he stood squarely under his fan, head lowered, eyes slammed shut, dozing soundly with no external support.

Its amazing how many things we take for granted in our "normal" healthy horses. Standing on three legs when we ask them to. "Sleeping" standing up. Stepping over small obstacles in the field. Swishing flies with a healthy tail. Stomping at a fly on a leg. So many daily behaviors we may not take notice of until the ability to execute those behaviors is compromised.

Take some time to stop and watch your horses today. Watch them doing "nothing." Notice how many small maneuvers work together to allow a horse to stand around and do "nothing," and appreciate the perfection of Mother Nature's designs. She knows what she's doing.

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