Yesterday , I received a message saying that the most likely explanation for the appearance of the ponies’ feet was rotten hoof frog and not burning. However, after doing some research online about thrush, Daisy and I agreed that we had not smelled the typical necrotic, rotten smell of sulphur or seen any thick black discharge on the frog. Just the smell of hot-shoeing, which we know very well and the complete disappearance of soft frog tissue. All the ponies have had regular trims from us or Stephen Gardiner (a registered farrier) and have been in a dry field for over a month.
So I worried all night that a) I was the worst owner ever, and b) I had panicked, added 2 + 2, getting 5, whilst jumping to the wrong conclusions – it has been known. I can be a drama llama and a wrong one at that.
This morning, first thing, I made a vet appointment. Daisy and I drove Fivla and Tiddles (the ones worst affected – Fivla with now trimmed hooves and Tiddles with untrimmed) and drove them to the surgery in Scalloway (about an hour away).
The others were furious at being left behind.
We unloaded Tiddles and Fivla in the surgery car-park (sorry no photos as I thought I had forgotten my phone) and the vet came out. He was a locum, who comes up to Shetland regularly, and said he had seen many animals struck by lightning and, if it had been lightning, they would be dead. He then, before he examined all their hooves, said it was, in most likelihood, to be foot-rot of some description, very probably thrush.
The vet then picked up each hoof, dug about and thoroughly examinined. Afterwards, he stood up and said “You know, I think you are right! I can see absolutely no evidence of any rot of any kind and yes, it does look burnt”. We explained our set up – ie the field, the horses behaviour and like us, he was baffled but wanted to examine the other ponies, more out of interest than treatment. He also told us to continue exactly what we were doing and that their feet would heal in time.
Daisy and I felt vindicated and sort of relieved.
When we got home, the herd were pleased to see us and, after feeding painkillers and spraying their feet, we decided to put everyone back in their old field as the grass had grown up again. They all galloped off happily.
Then Daisy and I walked about looking for scorch marks, anything really. There are two electric poles in the field and one electric box just outwith, by the road. We could see nothing obvious.
I was walking back to the gate, when I saw some unusual small black rocks lying on the grass.
They looked burnt.
I picked up a couple and showed them to Daisy who easily broke them in half. They are made of the pink granite.
So, more evidence and we will see what the vet says tomorrow afternoon. Please God let everyone behave with no giggling or hassling.