Charlies Diary

Jeremy had asked the local pet meat works to give him a ring if a particularly bad founder case came up for his studies. Charlie was the first one to be saved after a life of retirement from previously being a successful eventing horse.

Charlie’s road to recovery wasn’t an easy one, waiting out painful abscessing, but the end result was all worth while.

December 6, 2005

I received a call from the pet works, informing us of a foundering horse, and “were we interested in taking him for our studies, if not he would be euthanaised”.

We found Charlie lying down in a large paddock waist high in rich green grass and clover. Acute laminitis. When he stood up he was grossly overweight, including fat lumps the size of a fist under his girth. His neck was solid and cresty. When he could walk, it was jilted and painful. He had super long toes, measuring 6 inches. His heels measured 2 inches long. Rotation appeared severe, however the coffin bone was not exposed. His sole at the toe was bulging.

rehab-charliebefore-1The elderly owner was “tired of him getting himself in this way”. Charlie was said to be around 20 years old. He was an eventer one of Tasmania’s top performers and did very well in his hay day. This had been Charlie’s 4th year to founder in this way and the owner “couldn’t endure it any longer”. Revla was his name, he is an arab cross, gelding. Shown here in a lamintic state before the start of his rehab. Note the pasture

Initial Trim

I gave Charlie a rehabilitating natural trim giving him plenty of rests in between each hoof. His hooves were padded and fitted with ‘Old Mac’ boots, we could see the expressions of relief in his eyes.

He fairly trotted into the horse float and was taken to a grass free zone with shelter and fed grass hay only. He was not given any anti- inflammatory, or pain relief medication.

Charlie was walked twice daily for 15 minutes. He hardly drank for the first 2 days and moved only when asked in his boots.

He was moved into another paddock with a dominant horse for companionship and to encourage movement.

Expected return to soundness at this stage was 6 months, 12 at the most.

10th December, 2005 (4 days later)

Charlie was trotting around and impossible to catch for 30 minutes.

11th December, 2005

Charlie was exhausted and was showing signs of weight loss.

11th January, 2006 (4 weeks later)

charlie-abcessAbscess was evident in his near fore. Charlie was lame and extremely sore. He was booted and soaked in Epsom Salts, to help draw it out. Swelling extended up his leg.

15th January, 2006 (4 days later)

His abscess blew (pictured here)



16th January, 2006 (1 day later)

Charlie walked off freely, there was a huge improvement.

20th January, 2006 (4 days later)

Charlie was lame again and off his food, suspect another abscess in the hind hoof.

25th January, 2006 (5 days later)

I gave Charlie his 2nd trim, photos were taken. I backed him up through the white line which is something I would only do in a rehab case. An abscess was found in the off fore. A sub solar abscess was found at the tip of the frog. The first sign was bruising then pink puss, the smell was putrid. He was booted again in Epsom Salts. Charlie’s eyes showed pure relief again.

4th February, 2006 (10 days later)

Charlie blew another abscess out of his coronary band in his hind hoof.

6 March, 2006 (1 month later)

I gave Charlie his 3rd trim, photos taken.

22 March, 2006 (16 days later)

Chalie was put in a paddock with several other horses to run in a herd, he was at the bottom of the pecking order but inevitably was getting lots of movement.

26th March, 2006 (4 days later)

Pete Ramey gave Charlie his 4th trim, but was not confident that Charlie would rehabilitate and believed X Rays would show huge deterioration of the pedal bone. Advised if x Rays showed over 20% disintegration, and we should consider putting him out of his misery. The growth change indicated a short steep rotation.

31 March, 2006

Charlie was wormed

11th April, 2006

Charlie had X Rays taken at Vet Clinic, he was a handful, trotting around to impress some race horses. His hooves looked like duck feet. The X Rays showed some disintegration, rotation and a spur on front of pedal bone. Bone was sitting just above the apex of the frog. We were advised to have another X Ray in 6 months.

26th April, 2006

Charlie had his 5th trim.

23rd May, 2006 (6 months after his rescue)

I gave Charlie his 6th trim, 6 months after his rescue. Toe backed up completely, duck bill rasped off and even sandpapered hooves,they almost look like natural shaped hooves. His coat was gleaming and mane shining. Couldn’t help jumping on him bareback for a quick spin around the paddock, he was keen to trot and show off his learned skills.

Charlie’s right front before triming (left) and then after rehab trims 6 months later (right).

rehab-charliebefore-2 rehab-charlieafter

6 June, 2006

Moved Charlie into paddock paradise.

7th July, 2006

rehab-charlieafter-2I rode Charlie around the streets of Westbury and was amazed at the way the old horse could move!!

January 2007

Charlie is re-homed with Brooks High School where he is kept with their shetland ponies and loved by lots of students and their teacher.