From Endurance to Dressage
Holy freaking hell, people. I am not making this up. Speedy went back to Bakersfield Large Animal Hospital (BLAH) again on Monday to figure out why his abscess hadn't healed after more than a week. This makes three visits for abscesses.
I was on the phone every day last week consulting with Dr. Gonzalez about Speedy's abscess. While Speedy never got better, he did show some improvement. Dr. Gonzalez explained that abscesses in the horse's bar can be particularly painful and slow to heal. When I got back from the CDS Annual Meeting and saw that Speedy was no better, I put in a quick call to BLAH asking if I could bring Speedy back in. This time it was Dr. Tolley who was on duty.
When I asked Dr. Tolley where exactly the "bar" was, he was quick to drag his finger alongside the frog. Showing my lack of knowledge here, but I had always thought the bar was the edge of the hoof where the below diagram shows the quarter. Oops, glad Dr. Tolley cleared that up for me. This is why I love him; he's always happy to teach me something new.
Dr. Tolley went on to explain that the sole wraps around onto itself forming a layer called the bar. Abscesses form in that spot because there is the possibility for something to squeeze between the layers.
After putting the hoof testers on and getting a loud OUCH! from Speedy, Dr. Tolley knew the abscess was still festering. He pulled out a special set of knives (they were really cool) and slowly started paring away at Speedy's sole.
In no time at all, liquid poured out of the hole in a volume that I've never seen in an abscess. Not that my data sample is particularly large. In fact, it's actually quite small, but still, a lot of fluid came pouring out.
Dr. Tolley scraped away layer after layer of sole, allowing fluid to drain out after every cut. No wonder Speedy has been so sore. That abscess was filled with liquid that was putting a ton of pressure on the internal structures of the hoof.
In the above photo you can see how deep the new hole is. Dr. Tolley referred to it as a subsolar abscess because the pocket of pus was well beneath the sole. Speedy's treatment will continue to include every-other-day wrapping for a week. Dr. Tolley felt confident that Speedy should be back to work in less than two weeks.
I certainly hope so. More important than riding is that Speedy start to feel better. It has to be pretty discouraging to wake up day after day with a pounding "headache" in your foot. Keep your fingers crossed that we finally have this problem beat!
1/24/2019 06:18:56 am
How did his acth and insulin come back? Have they done xrays to rule out a keratoma or other unusual thing?
1/31/2019 05:26:33 pm
Hey, Darcy! His ACTH came back at about 56, low by most Cushing's horses' but still on the outside of normal. He is now on Prascend. We'll check his ACTH next winter and see if we need to change anything.
1/24/2019 06:28:53 am
Oh, poor Speedy, that looks so painful!
1/31/2019 05:28:19 pm
Fortunately Speedy seems back to normal. Dr. Tolley didn't offer an explanation for why it was so deep, but it might have been because we didn't get it all the way out the first time. I'll have to ask him when Speedy goes back in a month or so for his spring vaccinations.
1/31/2019 05:29:01 pm
It took longer than I thought, but yes, he feels much better!
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About the Writer and Rider
I am a lifelong rider.
I began endurance riding in 1996 where I ultimately completed five, one-day 100 mile races, the 200-mile Death Valley Encounter, and numerous other 50, 65, and 75 mile races. I began showing dressage in 2010.
Welcome to my dressage journey.
About Speedy G
Speedy went from endurance horse to dressage horse. After helping me earn a USDF Bronze medal in the summer of 2020, he is now semi-retired. Speedy is a 2004, 15'1 hand, purebred Arabian gelding. His Arabian Horse Registry name is G Ima Starr FA.
Izzy was started as a four-year old and then spent the next 18 months in pasture growing up. I bought him as a six-year old, and together, we are showing at the lower levels. He is a 2008, 16'3 hand warmblood gelding. His Rheinland Pfalz-saar International (RPSI) name is Imperioso.
National Rider Awards
State Rider Awards
State Horse Awards
CDS Sapphire Rider Award
Third Level: 63.514%
Third Level: 62.105%
2023 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
2023 Show Schedule
2023 Completed …
2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
Qualifying Training Level
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%: