From Endurance to Dressage
I can't make this stuff up. Really. I can't. Just recently I wrote about how whenever Speedy and I are ready to move up a level, an injury sidelines us. We were poised to make our Second Level debut at a USDF show at the end of the month. Now? Nope. New plan.
Just over a week ago, I saw a nasty cut at Speedy's coronary band. I cleaned it, cleaned it the next day, and then wrapped it every other day for a few more days. He was never lame, and he wasn't overly sensitive to being touched, but by the end of a week, it didn't look any better. I called the vet and got an appointment for the next day.
Dr. Tolley didn't hesitate. He asked if Speedy had been lame and then had me walk Speedy into the treatment bay where he did a nerve block. He didn't need a trot out. He strapped on his leather chaps, a sure sign he's about to get serious, and then pulled out his hoof knife. I've seen way more of the insides of my horses than I would like, but even this one made me look away.
With a nerve block, Dr. Tolley was able to do a thorough cleaning of the wound. He explained that this type of injury is typically quite painful, so a nerve block is safer for everyone. Once the wound was clean, he pared away the unhealthy tissue and debris. Next, he poked around inside the wound to determine how deep it actually was.
It could have been worse. Dr. Tolley surmised that Speedy hooked his foot on something, and then jammed that something down into the hoof, separating the hoof capsule from the coronary band. The coronary band is where new hoof is created.
There isn't any good news here other than this injury happened where the hoof wall is the shortest. That means that it will take less time to grow enough new hoof to ride than if he had done it at the front of the hoof. The prognosis is 3 - 6 months for enough new hoof to grow to be sufficiently weight bearing.
For the first two weeks, I'll change the bandage every other day. It's a simple wrap comprised of a Telfa pad soaked with my old pal White Lotion (a lead acetate solution that inhibits proud flesh). I'll secure that with half a roll of 6 inch cotton before wrapping the whole thing in vet wrap. Over the weekend, I tossed on an Easy Boot (per Dr. Tolley's suggestion) to keep Speedy from walking out of the bandage. So far, the boot hasn't caused any new damage.
As long as Speedy stays sound and the tissue starts to harden, I'll keep wrapping it. Since the wound didn't appear deep, Dr. Tolley didn't think antibiotics were necessary, but I am definitely going to keep an eye out for redness, swelling, or an increase in sensitivity. At the end of two weeks, we'll go back to the vet for a check up.
Depending on what it looks like, I'll either keep wrapping it, or we'll just let it do its thing. Ultimately, the new hoof is going to grow down to bridge the old hoof. They will not meet in a nice tidy line. The new hoof will probably grow over the existing hoof. At some point, we should be able to use some kind of a patch to more securely bind the two. Once there is a solid connection, Speedy can go back to work.
As I drove home from the vet, my stomach finally tightened and tears threatened. I managed to keep it together until my husband got home. Not going to lie - I boohooed for a while. Yes, I am disappointed about the show, but more than that, I am saddened that my buddy is injured. A wound like this emphasizes their mortality. That's what brought on the tears.
As each year passes, I realize that Speedy and I are in this for life, so what's another few months? In no time at all, we'll be working on those canter to walk transitions again. Second level isn't going anywhere.
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%: