The Saga Continues….

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.


11 thoughts on “The Saga Continues….

  1. Margaret Robinson

    How interesting! I’ve never heard of anything like this. Well, good luck and hopefully no giggling or laughing.

  2. Sam

    SO SCARY! Thank goodness you had the presence of mind to step back and look for clues. And that your vet is calm and caring. Little Miss Maine Coon is sending soft purrs to calm your nerves. Me? I’ll eat some ice cream in your honor since gin and I have a very bad relationship…

  3. Celeste

    That is the weirdest thing I ever heard of. Your lightning explanations made sense to me except there isn’t a tree or pole nearby. So very odd, and scary. How could their feet be burned with no other ill effects? Glad you took them to the vet for another opinion. Also very glad the herd is all ok and acting normal. Whew! So strange! I’ll be interested to see if the vet has any other ideas once he sees the herd in their natural habitat. Do let us know.

  4. Linda Kirk

    Thank goodness the ponies seem unaffected otherwise. But it’s still worrying, not knowing the cause. Very peculiar.

  5. Judith Garbutt

    Good that your vet is showing so much interest. I bet he’s done some Googling and consulting colleagues!

  6. Katiie

    I have been intrigued by this story. So glad everyone is doing well! As a geologist, the burned granite is fascinating! How did it get there? Why is the grass not burned at all? So many questions! A mineralogist could take a look at the rind on that rock and get some clues as when lightening forms fulgurites the mineralogic structure of the rocks change. Lightening can melt the outer layer of the granite. But strange that it is all round the outside of the rocks. hmmmmm will think some more about this natural mystery!

  7. diane in northern wis

    This is all so interesting, Frances. I’m betting you and Inspector Daisy will end up totally right in your presumption of this mystery. I’m anxious to hear what the vet says when he comes to visit. Whatever it is…..may it never happen again!

  8. Sara

    I just have to leave a comment even though my english is not the best. I live in Finland and back in 2005 there was a horrible case of ponies struck by lightning in their field. They had been under a tree where the lightning struck and they all died. I’m not sure if they had head collars on or shoes, that could make things worse, right?
    Just so happy and relieved that the minions are all right or at least recovering from this mysterious case! I really do believe it was a lightning even though we don’t quite understand what happened. Hugs for everyone!


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