Yikes! The rain just kept coming down in my area for most of October. In unusual amounts. With surprising frequency.
Before I continue my grousing, I want to declare that I actually like rainy weather. The cool feel to the air. The cloud cover. The sense of cleansing and renewal. The way rain makes me appreciate the sun’s rays when they reappear. Rain has life-giving power both to the body and the spirit.
But just like anything else out of balance, too much rain can cause problems. The weather in my area during this recent period was definitely unbalanced.
Without an indoor arena in my backyard, I lose precious riding days during these seasons. Even after the rain stops, I often have to get creative to work around soggy footing conditions. Here I am getting a quick ride in with Piper between storms.
My creative riding helps me accumulate more saddle time than I would otherwise. But at a certain point, I usually have to cry uncle and post-pone all riding plans. This happened to me last week.
Even just general horse-keeping is complicated by the rain and all the ensuing mud. My run-in-shed is surrounded by an ag-lime footing base, but the rest of the paddock is not.
Despite the benefits of having a small area of solid footing, I still end up schlepping through a certain amount of mud to do horse chores. Worse still, the horses drag and squash the mud into the ag-lime footing and use the area as a restroom when they don’t feel like trudging through the mud to reach their usual lavatory locations.
It all creates a huge mess. Everything takes longer to clean. The footing gets worn down. My entire body hurts. It is me, my muck bucket and pitch fork against the world.
But could it be worse, you ask? Well, yes, as a matter of fact. What is more serious than my riding plans being derailed? Then all the extra chore- work? The increased likelihood of a horse developing a hoof abscess during periods of wet, muddy weather. Especially for a horse with a history of hoof problems.
This sadly was my horse, Bear, at the end of last week. Hoof abscesses (while generally not life threatening) are incredibly painful. It is very stressful to see your horse, particularly an older horse with multiple health issues, in so much discomfort.
With the support of his veterinarian (who did that beautiful leg wrap to address leg swelling above the affected hoof), I am in the middle of trying to nurse Bear through this episode. Hopefully I will be able to write an update in the near future. Even better would be a positive update.
Curious to learn more about hoof abscesses? I found the following resources, written by veterinarians, to be helpful:
Here’s looking forward to what the weatherman says will be a drier and sunnier change in the forecast this week.