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Zack’s Journey – Thoroughbred Hooves

Zack and Jenny Whitman at EponaShoe in Paso Robles.

Zack and Jenny Whitman at EponaShoe in Paso Robles.

 

Karen Read is a long-time Neigh Savers volunteer. She is chronicling Zack’s journey with EponaShoe as well as two other horses we feel would benefit from this program. EponaShoe has generously donated their services to us and we are most appreciative for the friendship and generosity they have extended us.

Somebody forgot to tell Zack (aka Sarazua) that he is a Thoroughbred – this gentle giant stands over 16.3 hands, and is built like a classical European Warmblood.  His chill personality belies his OTTB roots, but when he has the occasional “youngster” moment, you can see the magnificent racehorse he was.

In his brief but successful race career at Golden Gate Fields, Zack bowed not one, but both front tendons.  And when he came into the Neigh Savers program last year, it was discovered that he also had Ringbone, a type of arthritis, in both hind fetlocks.

Farrier Gene Lelm, prepares Zack's hoof for the two-part hoof packing.

Farrier Gene Lelm, prepares Zack’s hoof for the two-part hoof packing.

Zack was immediately transferred to Eclipse Equine Sports Therapy in Paso Robles where Angie and Mike Scully and their team, rehabbed his tendons with laser therapy, cold saltwater spa and underwater treadmill treatments. When he was ready to go back to work, Zack came to Bear Creek Stables, in the rugged Los Gatos Mountains.

Initially, the Neigh Savers volunteers hand-walked Zack for 45 minutes per day. At the racetrack, Zack had spent most of his life in a 12’ by 12’ box stall, and he needed a lot of conditioning to build muscle and grow into his lanky body.  Though his mind said “I want to go back to work” his legs were not so sure.  Some days he was stiff, or he stumbled on the uneven terrain.  Was there something more we could do to make Zack comfortable?

The composite-material shoe is sized and beveled to fit Zack's hooves.

The composite-material shoe is sized and beveled to fit Zack’s hooves.

We called Monique Craig, founder of EponaShoe, in Paso Robles.  She had helped Neigh Savers’ horses Achak and Blame Rome with their challenging hooves – what did she think we could do for Zack?  Monique and her head farrier, Gene Lelm, noted that Zack had pretty good hoof wall quality and hoof size, but his feet were not balanced.  In particular, the heel height at the back of his hooves varied considerably.  Within an hour of balancing the hooves and gluing on the Epona composite-material shoes, the tendons in Zack’s left front leg were more defined – as if the tendon was not constantly in the “on” position anymore.  The flexible hoof packing developed by Monique supports the frog and allows it to connect with the ground.  For Zack, that means – no more stumbling!

Zack has Ringbone in his hind fetlocks. Other than NSAIDS to reduce inflammation, there are not a lot of treatment options for arthritic changes in the fetlock region, an all-too common condition in athletic horses like racehorses, dressage and jumping horses. If the horse experiences discomfort bearing weight on the arthritic leg – the other legs take on a disproportionate amount of the load, leading to hoof wall flares and changes to the other hooves.  Composite material horseshoes reduce impact concussion – and allow the hoof to flex, and bear weight more evenly.

Zack and Montana taking a play break at EponaShoe.

Zack and Montana taking a play break at EponaShoe.

After a full year of rehab, Zack is under saddle and starting to log miles on the extensive trails in the Bear Creek Redwoods. His racing days may be over, but we can’t wait to see where this handsome young boy’s path will take him!

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Rose’s Journey – Thoroughbred Hooves

Blame Rome AKA Rosie
Karen Read is a long-time Neigh Savers volunteer. She is chronicling Rose’s journey with EponaShoe as well as two other horses we feel would benefit from this program. EponaShoe has generously donated their services to us and we are most appreciative for the friendship and generosity they have extended us.

Blame Rome (aka Rose) had a respectable race career.  A true athlete, she loved to gallop and had that winning attitude to get her across the finish line first.  Now retired from racing, she spends her days on trail rides, or standing patiently, teaching youth the “language of horse”.

Life was good, really good, for Rose until she developed a deep, bleeding hoof crack.  Heavy rains and wet footing created the perfect storm for Rose’s not-so-great hooves.  Never had the saying “no hoof, no horse” struck home more; this injury was potentially career ending.  Despite veterinarian and farrier intervention, we could not get Rose’s damaged hoof to hold a metal horseshoe, or keep the protective filling in the deep quarter crack.

Rose is part of a big family, she is a graduate of the Neigh Savers horse rescue program, and she helps out in their equine therapy program.  Could we give Rose the exercise and people interaction she loves – while keeping her comfortable, and allowing her hoof to heal?  A former volunteer and Neigh Savers horse adopter, Brooke Azcuy, had a suggestion.  The Epona Institute in Paso Robles has developed polyurethane horseshoes that can be glued onto damaged hoof walls.  If we could keep the hoof from getting infected, Rose had a better chance of recovery.

I contacted Monique and John Craig, the founders of EponaShoe.  Rose’s hoof was not good, but Monique thought it could be helped, if we could bring her to Paso Robles for assessment. Once again, the Neigh Savers family stepped up to help – volunteers Jenny Whitman and Diane Azevedo trailered Rose and I three hours to the Epona facility, where we met with Monique and her team.  Monique is passionate about helping horses overcome hoof problems, through understanding the biomechanics of the hoof, correct trimming and the use of composite material horseshoes that can flex with the hoof.  She is a brilliant farrier, horsewoman, and treated Rose like she was one of her own.  This is Rose, before and after, rehabbing in her new EponaShoes.

 Hoof with deep quarter crack extending from the coronet band. March 2017.

Hoof with deep quarter crack extending from the coronet band. March 2017.

 

 Quarter crack has been cleaned and stabilized. The 360 degree shoe design will provide flexible support as the crack grows out.

Quarter crack has been cleaned and stabilized. The 360 degree shoe design will provide flexible support as the crack grows out.

 

 EponaShoe after packing the hoof and glue-on application.

EponaShoe after packing the hoof and glue-on application.

 

 New hoof wall growth after 10 weeks in EponaShoes. Crack has stabilized and under run heel height is improving.

New hoof wall growth after 10 weeks in EponaShoes. Crack has stabilized and under run heel height is improving.

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