After writing so much about the hoofs and the jogging shoes of Soraya, I think it´s time for an update! Being in the middle of it doesn´t make you see things clearly. But now that I´ve finished with the medicines and change of diet, it´s easier to tell you what actually happened and why I´ve learned a lesson.
It started almost at once. I had this stupid ideà about leaving a whole hay bale inside her stable. Some people do that, and in general the horses adjust themselves, by eating only what they need to stay fit. Pure hay shouldn´t be dangerous for the horse.
Even if I have a life long experience with horses, it´s till easy to make small errors that make a huge impact.
I had forgotten that Haflingers are like Fjord horses. They have a different kind of metabolism, and it´s enough just letting them watch the hay to get fat.
Then I had this briliant idea about letting her eat some green grass in the garden. That was probably the factor that started her hoof problems. To much green grass too fast might cause a dangerous disease called laminitis. I was totally taken by the ideà of making the horses live more natural; no shoes and more freedom in a bigger fence.
After bringing her back to the equestrian center, she started limping. We thought she had touched a stone while doing trekking since she was barefoot. But after pulling out all the inflammation from the hoof, she just continued to limp. Then the vettie came to take a look. He told me that she was too fat, and that she was on the way to develope the terrible disease laminitis. That´s when the hoof bone loosens from the hoof wall and starts to rotate.
Eating too much hay and not moving enough because of the hoof pain is a deadly combination. That´s the reason I´m telling you this story!
So I removed all the hay and put her on a strict diet where she`s not even allowed to taste concentrated feed, bread or fruits. We also put a pair of horse shoes (backwards) on the front legs. This takes away the pain from the toes, and does it possible for me to make her move and slim down faster.
The horse boots are also with us, but I keep them in the saddle task in case I loose a horse shoe on the way. That´s another smart way of using horse boots! She is still barefoot on the hind legs, which is working out fine. In the future, after healing, we´ll see what to do about the front legs.
Learned a lesson
I´ve really learned a lesson during this difficult time. Never experiment with a new horse and a new diet.
Some might think it happened because she was barefoot, but that was the smallest problem. Now I´ve been making her walk many kilometers every day, and we´ve finished using the medicines. Her legs seems to be fine, and she will be on a normal hay diet the rest of her life! She is also living in an open solution, that makes her move around freely. That´s important for horses that easily put on weight.
Some people think that Haflingers should be a bit fat, but that actually prevent them from living healthy and move fast. My vettie said that she rather should be an athlete, that´s the most healthy state for both animals and humans, no matter any kind of breed.
I´ve also learned that horses in captivity are different than wild horses. Wild horses have less food and move a lot more. Our horses are being ridden and move less. But today I´m happy that I´ve found a medium solution, where she can move around in the paddock day and night.