We roared up Nicky’s driveway with my precious cargo in tow, with my main ambition to just get Bella off grass completely. If I get her off grass, I thought all would be fine!

Bella and Angel were placed in a small paddock with very little grass. I purchased some Founderguard and put that in her feed once a day as instructed.

The Vet came out a few days later and said, “We need to x-ray her and see what is going on in her feet again.” I had noticed on both of Bella’s front feet that she had shifting on the bottom of one foot around the frog outward. ‘That is very strange’ I thought. Hmmmm….. Must be from the laminitis???? The blood pooling in the foot perhaps has caused this? Looking back I realized how stupid I really was.

The Vet took one look at her feet and looked quite grim, but said nothing. I grilled her for information, but she couldn’t give me any answers. All she said was “I don’t know.”

She did not have the new technology where you take the x-ray and look at it immediately so she had to take it back to the clinic and develop the film to read it. It was the longest day of my life waiting for that call. I still thought, ‘She will be okay, and if not okay, then fixable.

When it did come, it was not good. “I’m sorry to tell you, Bella has a severely rotated pedal bone in her front foot. The other foot is not as bad, but also has some rotation. This is very serious and it is not looking good for her.”

I went into shock. “What?” I managed to get out. “We will need to look at some serious evasive methods to correct this. If we do manage to correct this, she will be prone to laminitis certain times of the year and will require close management.” ‘So, this could happen again and again if I just let her be a horse and eat grass’ I thought. ‘Great.’ Never mind worrying about that. I just had to get her right first. I would do anything to help Bella. Even if it meant flash stabling and hay year round, etc. Whatever it would take, I would do. She had been such a wonderful horse.

“Okay” I said. “I am going to talk to some of the other Vets and see what the course of action will be and get back to you” she said. “But I don’t think there is a lot that can be done.” I just couldn’t believe what I was hearing.

It seems that all could say was “okay.” I was in such disbelief.

I hung up the phone and burst into tears. I just couldn’t help it. I could not believe what I had heard. How could bones in the foot rotate down like that, all from a retained placenta that had nothing to do with her feet!

I went to the Vet Clinic later that day to ask for copies of the x-rays and to find out what I could do. My usual Vet was not in so I had to wait for him to call me, or to go in to see him the next day.

I went in first thing the next morning so we could go over the x-rays together. As soon as I walked in the door he asked me directly “how much do you really want this horse?” I looked at him like he had six heads. What? What does that mean? What sort of question is that? Why would he ask me that? Bella was priceless. The thought of losing her or giving up had not even entered my mind. I could not understand what he was trying to explain to me. Why was he not immediately trying to save her? Telling me this is the plan of attack: We will do this, and this, and this, and we will end up back where we started. She would be my beautiful girl again. I could not believe what he was saying.

“What do you mean how much do I want this horse? I sputtered. “She’s priceless!” Little did I know later on there would be a price I just could not pay to save her.

“Come on through and I will show you these X-rays” he said.

He took me through to look at the x-rays and he showed me the rotation and the severity of it.

Bella’s badly rotated foot.

Bella’s other front foot, which was not as badly rotated, but nevertheless, showed some rotation.

He said, “This horse will never be the same again. Even if we do manage to get her right, she will never be completely sound. This will always be her bad foot.” He pointed to the severely rotated x-ray. I tried to comprehend his words, but I couldn’t. My brain could not register that the horse that I take out and canter through the waves at the beach and who I ride if I want to be sure of being safe and uncomplicated would not be ridable again.

Bella and I at the beach.

I didn’t believe a word he said. My brain just could not understand or comprehend that Bella was in this much trouble. He said “This will be a very long process to fix. It will be costly and there is no guarantee at the end that she will be right, sound, or survive this.” All of this soared right over my head. I had been on the internet that day and discovered a story about a pony with four rotated pedal bones, right out of the foot and nine months later, he was right as rain. There were even pictures of this. ‘I will save her I thought. I did not care if it cost me the earth. I would save her.

“Right” I said, “What do we do first?”

He said, “We normally put this type of shoe on horses that places them up on stilettos, so to speak”. He led me over to a drawer full of different sizes of shoes that looked like high heels for horses with a lip in the front to prevent the foot from moving. These shoes change the angles of their feet so that it lines up the pedal bone again.
“Okay” I said. Give me some of these shoes and we will be on our way. “Let’s get those bones lined up,” I stated. Bella can sport some high heels no problem!

“We don’t have any shoes that will fit her” he said solemnly. We will need to have someone make these for her. We need some wooden shoes that are set at a certain angle and they have to be the exact size for her feet. You will need to find someone who can cut these shoes for you out of a very hard wood. Go down the road to the wood working place and see if they will make you what you need.” He drew on a piece of paper the angles that we needed and then sent me on my way. First off, I had to race to my friend Nicky’s place where Bella was staying and trace the shape of Bella’s feet onto a piece of paper, then take them down to the wood working place and ask them make these special shoes for my horse. Tracing Bellas feet on a sheet of paper was a mission on its own as Bella didn’t like having any of her feet picked up as it meant pressure on one of her sore feet as I lifted the other to place on the paper but we finally got it in the end. She was a good girl.

I rocked up to the wood working shop and went to the reception desk with my piece of paper with Bella hoofs traced on it. Thankfully there was a guy in there so I didn’t have to go prowling around the workshop floor and I told him of my plight… He looked at me strangely when I asked for some hoof shaped shoes set up on an angle for my Clydesdale horse. I told him he could actually be saving my horses life. He turned out to be very kind and swished out of the room to find the hardest wood he had and set about making some round wooden shoes. The guys in the shop kept coming up to see what he was doing and you could see him gesturing to me through the window and briefing them on what he was doing. Several of them laughed, shook their heads and walked away. I was glad at that point I had run into this guy and not one of them who would have probably told me to get lost.

Bella’s wooden shoes.

Once they were made I dashed out the door with a huge thank you to him and with a promise of $20.00 the next day for being so kind to me.

I went straight back to the vets with my new wooden shoes. My Vet was gone for the day but an appointment had already been made to get these shoes on her feet a few days later so I left them there for him to have a look at.

Meanwhile Bella was getting sorer and sorer as time wore on. Getting her off the grass didn’t seem to make much difference. All I could do now was hope these wooden shoes were magic and my vet who tried to warn me was completely wrong!


Part 3 – Coming soon

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