Our seven-year old, off-the-track thoroughbred Bruno, has always been one handsome horse. However in the past 45 days, Bruno’s feet have been acting up again causing him to be seriously lame on one of his four feet consistently keeping him from leaving his stall until recently.
Bruno came to us lame and we did surgery at Texas A&M Vet hospital. He has been sound and working pretty well in the last six months prior to this incident. Bruno managed to complete an intense but outstanding jumping clinic with a local trainer in late December of last year. He has been ridden very well by our resident dressage and eventing expert, Amelia, since we moved to the new farm in April. The two managed some lessons with both Dev and Nancy Lindsey for jumping and dressage. He was going great.
Then Amelia went out-of-town on an extended trip and it all fell apart (yes, I blame Amelia!). Actually, I think his boredom from not being worked lead to his racing around in the pasture which lead to him pulling his shoes off, over and over, and destroying what fragile bit of hoof wall he had. Not mention some nasty abscesses took up residence in his hooves as well.
The plan was to keep his shoes off, let his hooves grow and then start re-shaping them for more effective traveling in the future (so he would not be catching his back hooves on his front hooves). Barefoot Bruno was not a happy guy unlike the doll Barefoot Barbie, Bruno did not have a smile on his face or fun times. His feet just hurt.
Meanwhile, my ever practical daughter, Lauren (practical when it comes to things I care about, not so much about things she cares about) kept pointing out to anyone who would listen that we could not keep such a big horse, that we could not work, that would not eat, that we were amassing vet and farrier bills on, indefinitely.
I agreed but felt (most of the time) that there were better days ahead for Bruno. I did have a period when I was painstakingly opening 30 individual antibiotic capsules to dump their contents into a bowl so I could give them to Bruno each morning and night, mixed into vegetable oil and shot in his mouth with a syringe, while he played the “I am taller than you game” at my every approach to his stall, that I wanted to personally shoot him or me or someone.
Sean, our farrier even said that if he felt he couldn’t get Bruno better he would personnally drive the backhoe to dig the hole to bury him in, but we were not there yet.
At one point three of his legs were involved with infections or just swelling from so much inactivity. Sean and Dr. Criner worked together to make pads to elevate Bruno’s front feet off the ground to give him some comfort from the pain. Sheets of thick rubber were cut to fit the bottom of his foot, then in essence ‘super-glued’ to his hoof with long pieces left to be glued to sides of the hoof. Sean is an engineer in addition to being a former jockey and a farrier. Dr. Criner has a creative streak as well. I was afraid I would come home to find Bruno on roller skates or something!
Weeks have turned into months and finally, Bruno appears to be on the mend. I have been dragging him out of his stall to get some sun and green grass. Each day he has been better about going out and more reluctant to go back in. One evening, I had already poured breakfast feed for Mickey and TeeDee that pasture outside all night. Bruno roamed around the barn and ate both meals through the windows of their stalls. Any other horse you would be worried about or mad, but Bruno can use any food he will eat.
Yesterday, we found the perfect profession for Bruno in his semi-lame state. We made him the model in Jordyn and Kendyll’s professional pictures. I got him all cleaned up, white socks white again, mane and tail washed and conditioned, coat gleaming and pulled out his show halter (of course, he has never been to a show, but we can always hope). When Elvia (Memories by Elvia) showed up, I hauled Bruno down to the back pasture behind the kids and figured with his less-than-mobile abilities he would be a perfect prop.
Then the camera flash started popping and off Bruno went, up the hill towards the barn. I was being laughed at from the arena as I chased behind the hobbling horse. I just want to point out that his legs are quite a bit longer than mine, so he is way faster, even at the walk. I dragged him back to the “photo shoot” and got him re-positioned. From that point forward, Bruno was like a high-paid model, he would have won “America’s Next Top Model” honors. He posed. He tilted his head. He turned back to look at the girls. He bowed his head to take candy from their hands. Then he stood stock still in perfect thoroughbred form as both girls got on him with just the halter and lead rope. This is a seven year-old racehorse, albeit a lame one, still he was amazingly patient.
I am sure I will be showing updated pictures for a while. I am really excited about them.
Oh, Jordyn and Kendyll, they were pretty awesome as well. They are cute girls! I think my next step will be to get an agent for Bruno and he can start on his new modeling career right away!