Right now I am involved in a huge job… which is such a relief since I have a sick horse… but also a problem since I am busy all day – working.

Luckily, I can work from home for a large part of this job.  Thank horsegods.

But still, during my work day, time passes really fast and before I know it I’m saying to myself, “Oh Wow!  It has been 5 hours since I’ve been to the barn!  I wonder what she’s been doing?”

Yesterday, I opened her stall door so that she could now roam the barn aisle – the hard floor aisle – if she wanted.  I doubted that she would want to go into the hard aisle… but thought I would give her the option.

Well… I was wrong.

It seems like every time I go out to the barn to check on her, she’s somewhere new!

This is interesting to me… so now I’ve become a Stall Sleuth.

I found her wandering around the barn!

I found her wandering around the barn!


It isn’t as if she’s trotting around like a healthy hooved horse.  She isn’t.

But clearly she is doing her own thing now…

So, I set up little tests to monitor her migration.


This is the deeply bedded side of her stall with plenty of hay and water.


I’m standing in the matted side of the stall – no shavings.

The wrap I did tonight.  If she is laying all the way down, I can use vetwrap.

The wrap I did tonight. If she is laying all the way down, I can use vetwrap.  Otherwise, I use a hospital sock.


Yesterday, I decided to put out additional water in the aisle.  I also put out tufts of hay here and there… all the way down the aisle to the front gate of the barn and up the other side.

Since she likes to look out her window, I put mats there.

On the far side of her stall, the part with only mats and no shavings, I put more hay tufts.  She also had her regular haybag in her deeply-bedded half of the stall.

And then there was her hoof covering… Every night I put some type of covering on her left foot (depending upon her position when she is lying down – if I can wrap it, I will.  If I have to sock it, I do that) after I treat the open area.  The covering always comes off somewhere – which is another clue.


The clean mats below her window.

bits of hay

I put tufts of hay everywhere in the aisleway.


Overnight last night, I found out that she had drunk out of both waterers.  The stall bucket and the aisle bucket had lost about equal amounts of water.

Both of the mats in front of the window were covered in shavings.  Clearly she had spent quite a bit of time looking out her window.

Her sock was found right near her fan – in the aisle.

All the tufts of hay were eaten.  All of them.  I felt great about that because she clearly wanted to wander around eating the tufts in the aisle since she had plenty of hay in her stall.

The shavings were all moved around in a hodgepodge of obvious sleeping spots.  Her manure was also deeply hidden in the shavings.  She had gotten up and gone down – often.

And, all the tufts were gone from the matted part of the stall.

Her sock was deployed in the aisle behind her fan.

Her sock was deployed in the aisle behind her fan.


I had to conclude that Mama Tess was willing to walk all around the barn.  She had water and food in her deeply-bedded stall but she chose to move around.

I think she is enjoying the added freedom that the aisleway gives her because she seemed to have spent a lot of time there – even though it cannot be as comfortable for her as the deeply bedded stall.

She’s moving and walking and entertaining herself between healing naps.

This is good.  Very good.

She’s had a week of life beyond the recommendation to put her down.  And, I think she’s liking it very much!

Snorfelling all the hay that she sees...

Snorfelling all the hay that she sees… (Note the kitty in the rafters and Scout sniffing for any new toy she can invent from barn items!)

After all that exercise, she needed a nap in front of her fan.

After all that exercise, she needed a nap in front of her fan.

HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth… if you like this, please pass it around!


MT is our August Bucket Fund mare... Click here to read about her.

MT is our August Bucket Fund mare… Click here to read about her.

HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth... if you like this, please pass it around!

9 comments have been posted...

  1. LadyFarrier

    Your idea about putting the tufts of hay about is a great one! Movement under one’s own power, and at one’s own speed, is such a critical part of healing! Yay!

    I once heard another farrier say that he put a pushy, lame, foundered mare in with a gelding she hated so that she would have to move to push him off the hay piles (of which there were many, small and far apart – she simply couldn’t stand the thought of him eating anything within her reach ;) ). At first it was so bad that she’d only move backward, but she moved. And she recovered :) Beautifully!

  2. linda

    I am impressed with Tess’s moving about the barn. Walking, movement increases the circulation in the hoof and she is no where looking like she should be ‘put to sleep’. So glad you opted to try more at home and grateful for the procedures the ‘hospital’ performed to get her where she is now :)

  3. Jody Brittain

    You need to set up a trail cam! Be surprised what you would find on it. I do recommend the BUSHNEL trail cams though. DO NOT GET THE ACORNS! They are terrible cams. If I had a spare I would send it to you, but I only have one, and use it to monitor my pasture critters. They are quite entertaining when they think no one is watching! :)

  4. dawndi Post author


  5. michelle

    Where’s the bucket fund link? Wishing you and MT a wonderful weekend!

  6. linda

    Glad to see she is showing the experts they were mistaken. I have faith she will get well and in time live a very happy long life. Pain is sometimes a temporary thing. If humans were put down for being in pain and quality of life not being ideal there would be a lot of happy dead people. I’m in some kind of pain everyday but I’m glad I here. We just learn to manage the pain. I think Mama Tess is letting you know her pain isn’t so bad. Keep that girl moving ! She will guide you!

  7. Peg

    Have you thought about putting in a barn camera? That way you can check on her from anywhere.. and see if there is a difference in the way she acts when you’re with her and when you’re not.

  8. Melissa Snell

    It’s not about the length of life, but the quality of it. And Tess has sure got the best life a horse could want. You are both blessed!

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