Rafiki is having some trouble with her hind legs at the moment. We have decided to keep a running report on what Rafiki has done, with costs included to allow our members a chance to understand the type of work that goes into keeping a horse sound.
Rafikis problems began in September 2009 when she went lame behind. Once the vet had looked at her, we agreed that the best option was to turn her away to grass for three months and see if there was any improvement. She improved quite a bit over her time off and was brought back in the middle of February, with one of our staff taking her into work lightly. After a week of walk work, Rafiki went lame behind again.
We then had the vet out to look at her again and had x rays taken of her left hock (joint in her back leg). The x-rays showed that Rafiki had bone spavins in the hock (like athritis).
At this point we then have to discuss the matter at length with the vet as this diagnosis means Rafiki will never be able to do jumping work in the future.
Rafiki is also slightly more complicated than your average horse as she suffers from a serious problem with her weight - even out in the winter in the snow, she manages to get fat on air alone, so retiring her to no work at grass is not an option.
We have therefore decided to have the vet treat Rafiki with steroid injections into her hock, and follow it up with hand made shoes (graduated heels) from our farrier.
We are now at the difficult stage where we have to wait and see what improvement we can get from the treatment before deciding how to proceed with Rafiki.
We have always agreed that our school horses will be looked after to the end of their days at the farm, so although selling an unsound horse on for a relatively small sum of money to a dealer is a possibility, it is not one that we are willing to consider for Rafiki. We will hopefully get her sound enough that she can do light hacking and some slower school work with a member, which allows her to enter semi retirement without getting too fat. However we'll keep you posted.
We also intend to put photos up on the blog soon of her fancy shoes being hand made, so keep an eye out for it.