23 June 2015

Jobs For Cats

    Cats normally are professional goldbricks. Give your average housecat the chance to do some honorable work and he’ll vanish, not to be seen or heard from again until dinner time. However, this is not to say that cats are incapable of employment. Just like anybody else, you must look at your cat’s attributes and form the job for the cat. Here are some suggestions for jobs your cat is capable of performing.

Actor: Like it or not, your cat can lie, and convincingly so. They are superb actors. Witness the next time you come home after a longer than normal absence, way past dinner time. The cat will drag himself into the kitchen while you are trying to get things going for yourself and family. The cat will collapse on the kitchen floor. Eyes closed, sides moving imperceptibly, only the faint flick of a tail tip tells you that the animal is still alive, but just barely. It is on the brink of death from starvation.

Alarm clock:  Dependable, audible, and insistent. These are three qualities that we all desire in an alarm clock. There are problems, though. The cat does not come with a snooze alarm. The only ‘off’ button involves getting up out of bed. And the cat doesn’t care that 3 AM is NOT the time you wanted to get up. It’s the time she wants you to get up.

Building Inspector: Open a cupboard, a closet, a crawl space under the house: the cat will be in it in a flash. If you go into the garage, I guarantee the cat will be in the rafters.
God help you if you remove the floor vents in order to vacuum the heating ducts. I’ve never heard of a cat ending up in the furnace, but I’m certain it can be done.

Carpet inspector: By throwing up on your carpet at least four times a week, always in a different spot, the cat insures that you have your carpet steam cleaned at least once every six months.

Chaperone: Your cat insists that you cannot use the toilet or the shower without his presence. If you have the audacity to lock him out while you’re in the bathroom, he will demand to be let in, loudly enough so that everyone in the house knows what you’re doing.

Commentator: Siamese, especially, are known for this capacity, that of voicing their opinion about everything. Just because they don’t speak a known human language doesn’t mean you cannot understand them when they begin talking. And no animal, including us, can swear as convincingly and satisfyingly as a cat.

Critic:  of everything. If you’re reading the newspaper, he will insist on laying on it. If you’re reading a book, she will insist on being on your lap, in such a way that you cannot turn the page without disturbing her. Television invites several different avenues of critique: sitting atop the tv with a tail dangling or perched on your chest so that her head is right in front of your nose are two of them.
Most annoying of all is the cat who must drape herself along the top of your computer monitor, like mine is now. A perfect spot for an animal that is constantly leaking hair, it usually results in your computer soon being jammed with cat hair.

Exterminator: This is the classic cat job, but these days, it has changed, slightly. Most cats will only catch the most foolhardy mouse, one that has gotten into the house by who knows what route. The cat will toy with the mouse and may even kill it. If she eats it, she will leave parts of it strewn around the bathroom so that you, the half awake, barefooted human will step on the cold, squishy pile of entrails at 2 am. The cat will keep the eaten portions of the mouse in her stomach for approximately two days, whereupon she will throw it up, along with all the rest of her stomach contents, in a spot on the carpet that shows stains to their best advantage.

Food inspector:  When you put food in his bowl, your cat will walk up to it, sniff it from a safe distance, then decide if it meets his lofty standards before he deigns to touch it. If it meets his standards, he will eat it. If it does not, though, rejection comes in several forms. If the cat at least pretends to like you, he will merely turn away and sit down about five feet from the bowl, very politely telling you that it is loathsome. He understands that, being human, you are stupid, but can learn by many, many repetitions of a simple lesson. He gives you time to realize your mistake and rectify it by putting something in the bowl more to his tastes, preferably Copper River King salmon.  If he does NOT care about your self esteem, he will turn around and pretend to cover it, using the very same motion he does when he’s covering what he’s produced in the litter box.

Exorcist: You’ve seen your cat racing around the house for no reason whatsoever? He’s chasing ghosts.

Interior decorator: Cats understand that we humans are strangely attached to things that serve no purpose, (aka ‘collectibles’ or knickknacks) are expensive, or have a sentimental value to us. We have an annoying habit of displaying them on surfaces that are better suited to giving a cat a place to lay down and stretch out. The cat who moves things around on your tables and dressers is well suited for interior design and consultation. If she actually pushes it off the tabletop, she is telling you in the plainest terms that some stuff, like that Swarovski crystal horse,  just should NOT be allowed in the house, and will you kindly dispose of it now that it’s irreparably broken.

 Lab technician: When you and your significant other are being, shall we say, physically amorous, you will feel a pair of unblinking eyes upon your back. Or front. Look up, and there is your cat, watching. She is wearing the clinical expression of someone in a lab smock and holding a clipboard, annotating every move you make. It wouldn’t be so bad if she wasn’t flicking a tailtip in a slightly amused manner, as if the sight of two naked apes in rut is the most hilarious thing she’s ever seen, but she’s a professional so she’s not roaring in laughter. She IS smirking, though.

Panhandler:  You cannot enter the kitchen without a cat accompanying you. He knows the only reason you are there is to feed him. He may show you where the cat food is kept.  If you don’t give her something (actually, a LOT of something), you will be given the Guilt Trip. (see Actor). Sometimes he will purposefully trip you, and now that you're on the floor, will you please fill up the bowl. 

Plumber: My cats insist on being in the bathroom with me. They insist on having the water tap turned on. They don’t drink, they just watch the water (wasted) run down the drain. In a similar vein, my cats also want to watch the water in the toilet disappear.

Proximity Alarm:  Cats will strategically place parts of their body (usually the tail) directly underneath your feet. This way, when you step on it, they can screech in pain, and you will feel so guilty you will feed them.

Road block:  if your cat places herself in the very center of the aisle, room, or path to wherever else in the house the majority of traffic traverses, your cat can be a road block.  She will be sitting at parade rest, tail neatly wrapped around her feet, head up, eyes shut, apparently contemplating the Buddha while everyone must detour around her.

Security officer: this cat places herself strategically so that she can see all activities in a few very important spots, i.e., she places herself so that she can see the kitchen as well as the couch in the living room. She thus can simultaneously track any activity in the kitchen as well as see when a comfortable lap opens up in front of the TV.

Sex worker:  Anyone who has procrastinated in having their cat spayed will tell you that a female cat in heat is the must erotic, noisy, and obnoxious animal on the planet. If you have never seen a cat in heat before, check Actor, because she will convince you that she is in agony, when in reality, all she wants is to get some. This will go on for at least a week. You will not get any sleep.
The toms are worse: if you have been so irresponsible as to not have your cat neutered, your house, your furniture, everything you own will soon begin to reek of cat piss. He will spray anything upright, including your legs.  He will come home torn and satisfied, or torn and needing vet work, will yowl all night and sleep all day. He’s out there making more kittens, innocent beings that will end up in the animal shelter (unless you want to become a collector).  Neuter and spay your cats.

Surveyor:  Cats have a tape measure in their heads. Just watch the next time you see your cat contemplating jumping onto your counter top. They look, measure, the tail flicking as she does the computations, and then bip! she’s landed precisely on the only spot she can safely do so, and is now leaving paddypaw prints on your just polished table and sniffing in the sugar bowl.

Wild animal collector: not to be confused with Exterminator. This cat, if allowed outdoors, will bring in animals it has no business catching, i.e., birds, snakes, lizards, and shrews. Larger cats may even bring in baby possums, rabbits and squirrels.  All these creatures will be very much alive and alarmed at one, having been captured by a cat and two, brought into the house; and will make determined and destructive attempts to escape. If the cat were capable of handling a video camera, he would film the hysterical antics of the humans trying to not catch a baby skunk and still getting it out of the house.

06 June 2015


     By golly, he did it.

    American Pharoah won the  2015 Triple Crown. (despite having a misspelled name).

    37 years after Affirmed won the Belmont, we finally have #12 in the Triple Crown winner's list.
American Pharoah ran in front wire to wire. He won by a comfortable five lengths. The time was only a few seconds off Secretariats mighty win of 1973. No horse will ever equal Secretariat's incredible 30 length lead. But then again, there will never, ever again be a horse of Secretariat's caliber. Those bloodlines are gone. Although it was a pleasure to see Secretariat's breeder and owner, the Grand Dame of Racing, Penny Chenery, in the stands. What a lovely lady. The last of her kind.

    Bob Baffert, the trainer, did something right. Now, I've never cared for Baffert. He had a reputation among the other trainers of being a pompous asshole. During his 'salad days' he flaunted his wealth...a blonde bimbo in a fur stretched across the hood of Baffert's car (which may have been a Mercedes, or a Jaguar). The unkind things he said about other trainers. He wasn't the nicest of guys, and there's no call for being a shithead.

   However, he seems to have mellowed greatly since having a heart attack..or losing several Belmonts that were THIS close to being won. 
 The bimbo is now his wife, and maybe she managed to shove a bit in his mouth and give him a bit of a tweak on the reins. Or maybe he is still a pompous asshole. The media isn't showing that part of him anymore.

   What I think happened was..he, like other horse trainers, was forced to go back to being HORSE TRAINERS.

  When Eight Belles broke down at the finish line, having been the Place (#2) in the Kentucky Derby in 2008, revulsion filled the country. Horses have been breaking down with depressing regularity for years now, but something snapped in the collective American horse racing public's psyche. No more. No more horribly broken horses in front of millions of watchers. No more.

    I think that at that moment, if Someone had said, No more racing in the US, the vast majority of racing fans would have agreed. It was too horrible, watching the gallant filly staggering on the splintered ends of her cannon bones. People began to bitch. Loudly.

   The Jockey Club, a hidebound and antiquarian association that in the last fifty or so years has succumbed to Money itis (if someone has enough money, the JC will change the rules to accommodate their outrageous demands), had always ignored the average non horse owner before. But this time, people got pissed enough to say, you know what, I think I'd rather watch golf than see another horse die. And die they did, because the trainers and the Jockey Club allowed horses far too young (sometimes only 18 months old) to race, and allowed them to be drugged into insensibility..all for the goddamned dollar. 

   Somehow, we got through to them. It may be a case of too little too late...horse racing is dying, at least in the US..but they did change some rules. One was, no horse hits the track until it is an honest to god 2 year old. And, I believe, they scaled back the unbridled use of drugs.

  That's why so many horses broke down, and why we've not had a Triple Crown winner since 1978. It's because trainers ('horsemen') no longer had to train. They no longer had to be a horseman. They depended on the drugs to keep the horse fit. They depended on the drugs to keep the horse running.  Drug the colt to the gills and run him. The owner wants a return on his investment, the businessmen doing the breeding don't know a colt from a coat hanger. Breeding race horses had devolved into a business arrangement, not a studied match made on understanding equine bloodlines.  As the president of the WA State Thoroughbred Breeder's Association once put it, 'we're not in the business of breeding race horses. We're in the business of selling 2 year olds."

   When you devalue the animal to that point, it becomes nothing but a stock market  certificate. Oh, they're still incredibly expensive. But the business, the TB industry, had become an Industry, not a rich man's hobby. The horses stopped being horses. They became pawns on a chess board. In the game of chess, the reason pawns are the most numerous pieces is because they are 'dispensible'. They are nothing of value. You can lose every pawn you own and still win.  

   The horse racing industry and the Jockey Club had grown complacent. Breakdowns stopped being a tragedy, a painful thing to see, and became "collateral damage'. Breakdowns became 'the cost of doing business'. The cruelty of how the horse got to that point was conveniently forgotten.

    The problem is that it is ethically and morally wrong. Horses are living,breathing beings. Yes, they are Animals. Animals have no rights. But the public doesn't like seeing a gorgeous race horse treated like an animated bicycle. And the bettor doesn't like seeing his money thrown away on a horse that may or may not have won. Bettors don't think that way. They bet on a 'sure thing' and when that 'thing' becomes a "DNF" (did not finish) because its legs snapped, they've lost their money. 

    I might be wrong. But it seems to me that once certain restraints were imposed on the TB business..that of letting a horse mature a little, keeping the drugs out of his system, they had to go back to being Horse Trainers. This meant, no more milk shakes, no more Lasix/Bute etc hiding problems. No more thyroid medication to put artificial muscle on a horse. They had to go back to the three things that made a race horse: Conditioning, feeding, and individualized training. The owner had to be made aware that this was an animal, not a machine.

   The thought strikes me that perhaps the Trainers welcomed the restraints, slight as they may be, that the Jockey Club was forced at gunpoint to impose. Now they had an out..."Well, I'd love to drug this colt, but....you know, they JC says I can't anymore. Sorry." Because I do believe the trainers love their horses. But they don't own them. Most of the big guys, like Baffert, are in the business to train the horses, and have many, none of whom are 'theirs'.

   Baffert did a good job of bringing his horse to the peak of condition at the precise time he needed to be.
That takes time, effort, and an eye for the horse. I will give him that. 

   Will we have another spate of winners in the coming years? I hope so.


05 June 2015

Do you play with your friend's pets?

       Yesterday I spent some time at Jan's house. She's a barber and cuts hair out of her home, in between the times she's at work.

      Her prices are more than reasonable, but I confess, I'd pay her whatever she asked, because she's the only one who can cut this wild unruly thatch atop my head. She can make it so that, for a little while, it looks presentable.

    I have hair from hell. I have (at last count) SIX hair whorls on my head. (in the US we call them 'cowlicks'). Each cowlick grows in a different direction. This means that, no matter how it's cut, no matter what I do to it (which is nothing), my hair resembles, to quote my mother, 'a busted out mattress'. It sneers at combs. Brushes merely encourage it into even wilder behavior. One time I succumbed to my sister's exasperated (and overly sensitive to peer pressure) gift of a 'permanent'. I came out of it looking like Grace Slick. Oh my god, my hair looked like the Bride of Frankenstein, but without the white streak. When I was,oh, about ten, my mother angrily demanded I 'do something with your hair'. 

"Can I shave it off?" I asked.  It would have at least been neat and presentable.

    But I'm already off topic. I entered Jan's home at her "come on in, the door's unlocked". I said, "Hi, Jan!". I was answered by rolling thunderpaws. Jordie, her Bengal/Manx cat cross galloped up to me. He flopped over onto the rug and demanded scritches. Which I gladly gave-Jordie is a nice cat. He's big without being fat, and highly intelligent. I found a plastic straw on the floor. This was obviously a cat toy and we began playing with it. He knew 'fetch' and did so, then 'kill the straw". 

    Jan came in after several minutes and Jordie allowed me to sit in the barber chair.  "Does he greet every customer like that?" I asked, as she tucked the apron around my neck. "Actually, no. He only does that to people he likes."

    That  set me to thinking (after the haircut, of course. I don't know anyone who doesn't chat with the barber.)
    I don't have that many human friends. I have many human acquaintances, but can count the number of true friends on one hand. They are so close to my heart that, honestly, they're family without being blood.
    Yet, upon thinking of all the people I know, who comes to mind?  Their pets. When I've visited them, or they've brought their dog, or parrot, or horse, or cat or whatever critter, I've found myself interacting more with the animal than the human. Especially in the case of the pet being a dog, I inevitably end up playing with the animal. 

    I wonder. What do these people think of ME? I enter their house, usually on an invitation, and within the hour, I'm playing with the dog. Am I insulting them? Maybe that's why I seldom get a return invitation?
    Truthfully, sometimes the animal is far more entertaining and friendly than the human. 

    One time my husband and I visited a co-worker of his at the man's home. The moment I walked into the house I could feel the chilling atmosphere of Someone With Depression.

  (once you've lived with someone with depression, you never forget it. Their depression fills the space like a black, ominous cloud, one that suppresses all joy, happiness and cheer.)

   I KNEW it. The depression was pervasive and tangible. The man had it. You could almost see that dark demon on the man's back, its claws firmly set in his soul.  
    His family walked around him as if on eggs. The man reluctantly turned the stereo down just low enough to allow conversation. Which wasn't much, consisting solely of my husband and the man catching up on mutual work acquaintances. Such conversations are boring at best, but it gave me the opportunity to try and interact with his wife and kids. 

    THAT did not happen,not because they were unfriendly. No, they were being so very careful to not set Dad off. The kids kept quiet, quiet, not daring to disturb what must have been Dad's Best Behavior. He soon released them to their own pursuits and they retired to their rooms. His poor wife kept to herself, too cowed to interact with us. He would not allow her to leave the room. Only when I went into the kitchen (later) to help her fix dinner did she open up. I felt so badly for her. She was living in a darkened dungeon, chained there by the man she loved, and who apparently refused to admit he had a problem.

    Only the dog seemed untouched by the man's depression.  A Shiba Inu, and the first dog I've ever met of that breed, we immediately found that we liked each other. The man didn't like the dog, the "damned thing chews things." But I think he disliked the dog because the Shiba, your typical 'husky' type dog, didn't give a rip what he thought. He was alpha, through and through. Soon, I was playing hide and seek with the dog. 

   It takes a smart dog to figure out hide and seek, especially if no one has ever taught it to him. I've tried with some dogs that just didn't get it. This dog picked it up right away and was soon inventing new ways to catch me. I felt self conscious...here I am again, playing with someones pet. But in this case, I may as well not even have existed. The man totally ignored me. His conversations, such as it was, was about him. I was nothing but a ghost to him, like everyone else.  

    But most folks seem to appreciate that someone other than them likes their animals, it gives them an opportunity to boast about them. 

   Here's a pair of cartoon panels that I found somewhere on the net that illustrates it perfectly:

    Animal people will appreciate the truth in this!

    I was so very glad to leave the house, after dinner. After we left their house, I asked my husband to stop near the beach. I needed to exhale. I needed to fill my lungs with fresh sea air, and watch the pelicans skimming the surf in the setting sunlight.  I don't care what the experts say, depression (like divorce, it seems) is contagious, and I wanted to cleanse my soul of any lingering, black shrouds that might try to invade and enslave it.   

   I've thought of that Shiba many times since. I really liked that dog. We had a great time.

    So Jan's comment set me to thinking. I've never thought of my friends pets as being friends in their own right. 
     Most of them like me, welcome me into their pack/pride/herd/flock, almost immediately.  I've been in stranger's homes where the cockatoo immediately begins talking to me. I've had people's dog press a sopping wet tennis ball in my hand and demand "throwtheballthrowtheballthrowtheballthrowtheball". Even cats will come out from under the bed to at least peruse me, allow me to give them a pet or two, and then leave. 

   I can't count how often I've heard the owner say, "Wow, he never acts like that with strangers."

    In some cases, I meet people like me. I remember several years ago, going to a friend's house. She and I have been friends for over 20 years. She had a baby several years ago and I'd never met the child. But the girl had heard about me, I'm certain. When we went to visit my friend, we walked up to the front door, knocked and the girl let us in. She was talking about her hamster, which, within less than three minutes, had been thrust into my hand. I was regaled with a nonstop description of all the wondrous things this particular hamster could do.
    While I don't care for rodents in general, I laughed. This girl was one after my own heart, so I petted her (admittedly well behaved) hamster until she took it back.I had to help put the hamster to bed later that night. (hamsters, by the way, are normally nocturnal).

    For years, until the hard drive in my head filled up to capacity, I would remember a woman's horse's name long after I'd forgotten hers.

   I don't know what this means about me. I don't know if I should feel embarrassed when I'm a guest at someones home and end up playing with their dogs. (If the dog is a nuisance: jumps up on me, or is constantly scratching at fleas, or barks at me, or will NOT obey something as simple as "sit", I won't interact with it.) 
    But I'm incapable of saying no to a well behaved, friendly animal, the one that comes running to me with a  "HELLO! I remember you, let's play!".

From then on, I'm stuck. I'm helpless to resist, just as helpless as I've seen normal women become when offered the chance to interact with a new baby. Which, by the way,  I won't handle. Ick. Babies. "Do you want to hold the baby?" Oh HELL no.  Babies smell. They make irritating noises. They're sticky and leak from every orifice. I might drop it and then I'm in trouble.  In this way I know that I am not normal. I don't get the way normal women are around babies. I just don't get it. Human babies are not on my list of animals I like to play with.

   So I'm not quite sure if I'm being rude, or I should be embarrassed when I play with someone else's pets. But I do know, now, that I have many friends, and most of them are animals. 


03 June 2015

What a difference a good farrier can make

     Raven has had 'bad feet' for many years. I've written about them before on this blog, so I'm merely going to condense things down a bit.

    When Raven was being shod by the "old" farrier, that man...well, he didn't help the feet at all. A case could be made that he exacerbated what was already a bad hoof. Raven had picked up white line disease somewhere that had steadily eaten away the hind feet. The 'old" farrier, rather than take measures to treat the white line, merely packed the holes in the hoof with some sort of epoxy. 
   I'm not slamming the old farrier. He meant well, but he was in above his head with Raven's feet. He just didn't know how to 'fix' them. The epoxy was meant to hold the shoe on the hoof, nothing more. I do believe that the old farrier knew how to shoe horses with good feet, but problem feet were beyond his capacity to rectify. 
   The epoxy kept the hoof in one piece for about a month, then would start crumbling away. In addition, the epoxy sealed the white line IN, making it even worse. 
To add to the problems, the old farrier had trimmed the hooves so that the heels weren't contacting the ground, meaning: contracted heels. 

   By the time we moved Raven to the New Barn, his feet were a dreadful mess. 

   Sue, by this time, had conquered her feelings of guilt regarding 'firing' the old farrier. She didn't want to hurt his feelings and had continued on with him,more, I suspect, out of a feeling of sympathy for him and accepting that he wasn't fixing the hooves.  He was the only farrier she'd ever had. She had nothing to base it on.

   So it was fortuitous that we moved Raven to the New barn about the same time as the old farrier hurt his back and shoulders so badly that he was forced into (perhaps permanent) retirement. This was Sue's out. I told her, farriers lose and gain customers all the time. It won't hurt his feelings. 

   We also found Matt, the 'new' farrier, at the new barn.

   The differences were amazing. Matt, being a professional, didn't say anything about the work of the old farrier, but he probably silently whistled in amazement. And joy...this was going to take some time. And cost money.
   How this horse managed to function with his feet in such bad shape was, in his words, 'amazing.' And a testament to the horse...Raven's a trooper. 

   He was upfront with us. It was going to take a year of frequent trimmings, and a change in feed to get Raven's feet back to something resembling 'good' hoof.

    We put him on Trifecta, a supplement that costs a lot. 

   And so it has proved. At first Matt put a different sort of epoxy in the hoof. This was to hold a shoe on and hopefully, provide some sort of support. He taught us the formula for killing the white line: 60/40 blend of Iodine/venice turpentine. Put it on the hoofs OFTEN, not on the coronary band, and keep the feet dry. 

   The first several trimmings consisted of cutting out as much rotten (there's no other word for it) hoof as possible, and replacing the shoes.

    But the shoes weren't holding. And the hooves were too badly deteriorated to benefit from any support the epoxy may have provided.
    So...let's go bold and remove the shoes altogether. The old farrier had warned Sue, never ever let this horse go barefoot. That, to me, had been an alarm bell.  But I said nothing. I'm not a farrier, and Raven's only mine by Sue's kindness. I was glad when Matt said, let's  take the shoes off. It would give the hooves a chance to grow out without the nails putting torque on the new growth.  

    By this time it was January and cold, and the white line didn't like being  poisoned or frozen. 

    The epoxy didn't, either. It kept falling out, taking hunks of hoof with it. Those hunks were dead hoof. Yes, hoof is already dead, but this was just shitty hoof to begin with.

   So in March, we made the decision to cease using the epoxy all together, continued applying the goop, and put Raven in Easy Boots.

    April's trimming showed a lot of improvement. We kept him barefoot. The white line was almost gone.

   In May, the Easy Boots weren't working so well anymore. One can only clean them so often, then the Velcro stays gritty. The grit started wearing sores on his heel bulbs. That hurts. 
   With clean Easy Boots (we had two pair) I could see he felt better by just watching him move. For the first time, when Sue trotted past me, I could see the soles of his hind feet. That had never happened before. He'd always dragged the hind feet. 

    Here's a picture of Sue on Raven taken in May. He's in Easy Boots.
Picking up his hind feet at last!

  He told us his feet felt better by acting like a fit horse. Lots of running and bucking in his paddock with his new paddock mate, Zeke, put a lot of wear and tear on the Easy Boots. He wore them out!

   So we took him out of Easy Boots and Sue began putting cast tape on the feet. This stuff looks like vet wrap but is what 'they' use to set broken arms and legs these days. You apply it wet and it dries into a stiffened 'cast'. That stuff went on the hoof well and could be kept off any skin or tissue. It worked well but his toes wore through and then he'd lose the cast. I'd find it in his paddock, the inside a perfect match for his frog. But when it came time to remove it for trimming, Matt had to literally rasp it away. Which is why the last photo I'm posting on this blog shows blue dust below the hoof.

   2 June 15's trimming was a revelation. I am posting four pictures of the left outside hind, from January to June. (mostly because I have about sixty pictures, taken over the months, and just don't want to post the whole series). The left hind outside was always the worst of the hooves. The new growth and improvement in the foot his amazing. The white line disease is GONE in all his feet. We are letting him go barefoot for a week, because the tape...while it protected his growing hooves, was also making the frog a bit 'soft'. So right now he's barefoot on the hind and shod on the front feet.  If going barefoot shows signs of buggering up the edges of the hoof, we'll put him back in tape. 

   But look at the improvements!! The outside hind is looking almost normal. I'm posting pictures of the right hind sole. One is of the sole taken Nov 14. The last was taken on 2 June. The white line is gone. Oh my gosh.
Left hind outside January 15

Left Hind outside after trimming March 2015

Left Hind outside before trimming 29 April 15

Left Hind outside after trimming (note blue fibers from cast) 2 Jun 15

Right Hind sole showing white line all through sole November 2014

Right Hind sole after trimming 2 Jun 15

    It's so encouraging when someone can make a horse's feet RIGHT. Matt's our MAN.