A Note about Sugarbush Draft Horses
I see it over and over again, and no matter how many times it's said, it's still wrong. "Sugarbush Drafts are just an Appaloosa Draft Cross". Uh.... no. The Sugarbush Draft Horse was a breed created many years ago in Ohio. While the initial cross was made using Percherons to Appaloosas, in the many generations following, the breed has been solidified into a consistent type. Saying these horses are "just" a draft cross makes as much sense as saying that AQHA horses are "just" a Thoroughbred cross, American Cream Drafts are "just" a dilute Belgian, or that Morgans are "just" a grade.
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Diagnosis - Ringbone
Rover is now a WONDERFUL horse. Every one loves him. He has tons of training under saddle, and I can't seem to find holes in it. What I DID find wrong with him was lameness. He put on weight (he's not all the way back yet, he's not an easy keeper) he started training, and quickly became a favorite horse for many of us. Then he started losing rhythm.
He never went flat out lame. He'd be "off" so I'd check him, give him time off, see him running sound in the pasture, pull him up, and he'd be sound at the walk, and uneven at the trot again. This has gone on for about 2 weeks or so now (I haven't really been counting). I had the vet out to check on him, because I just couldn't take it any more, and the diagnosis - ringbone, all 4 legs.
I knew he was arthritic. I knew that this horse had been ridden hard at a young age (he's 14, and his body was WELL used) and I knew he'd never be a high performance horse. So I can't say I'm shocked at all with the diagnosis.
Vet suggested a companion home, or kid's horse. Light riding will do him good. The exercise keeps the joints lubricated, and helps the arthritic calcification to fuse. Rover has a standing prescription for bute, as needed, to help deal with pain. I'm waiting to hear from my farrier about shoeing options, and what he suggests, and then we'll start joint supplements.
I do love my vet. He knows that horses like Rover are those that will either sell for a few bucks over their cost, or will suck me dry of extra money. I mean, an unregistered, solid paint gelding of moderate conformation. Not really a high ticket item! The vet also knows that the reason I take these horses on, is not to make big bucks, but to do my little part. Because of this, he is very conscious about the amount I spend on them. He did NOT do x-rays, because he could feel the arthritis. He said "The reason to do X-rays is to learn something that might change a diagnosis, or treatment. In this case, it wouldn't change a thing". We did block Rover's front right - the problem leg - and he became lame on the front left.
So, rocker shoes, rolled toes, pads(?), bute, joint supplements, proper maintenance, and the vet is looking for someone that does nicely priced joint injections. (Did I mention that I love Dr. G?)
All I know for now, is that Ro's not worth a penny in this market. I will NOT try to drug him up, and sell him as "sound". There's nothing good that can come of that... a mad (depressed) owner, a horse that could be caused pain because the owner didn't know. What I will do, is offer him for free to a good home (with checked references) that can properly manage his care. If no one wants a crippled middle aged horse, then he'll just stay here and retire.
Jae's learning to ride. Jae's great with horses, but just never gets the time to sit on one (he's always fixing the things that they break). I figure, Ro is tall enough for Jae, and neither needs to be going fast right now, so in the end it works out. If Jae outgrows Ro, and we still don't have another home for him, then Dad will ride Ro. Ro will get his prescribed exercise, and the riders will have a nice safe horse.
This is the downside of helping horses. I never know which ones will stay.