Case Study – Mac

Our latest case study is a registered quarter horse gelding by the name of Mac. Which happens to be short for Macaroni. That name came about through the great efforts of a 12 year old and 5 year old pair of girls that sifted through many names to come up with that. That’s not his registered name, but he is papered and aged at 4 years this year.


Mac was purchased this year through a private sale after a good thorough look over and evaluation of riding abilities as shown by the previous owner. He hasn’t done any trail riding so far but excelled nicely in the arena in both groundwork and walk/trot/canter. His groundwork is good but we haven’t had a chance to ride him yet, so haven’t evaluated completely what he can and can’t do. Being so young, there’s no real rush, but this year should be a good year for him.

Health wise he’s in good shape. He has good muscles and build and is expected to continue to grow up to about 16 hands over the next couple of years. He has a few issues with his feet that we expect to work out over the next few months, after that it’s expected he’ll have some nice strong feet for the remainder of his time. The issues so far are that he has thrush in all frogs and very overgrown bars that are laid over and likely painful. Here is a quick shot of that:


That’s before his trim. I didn’t get an after shot of that foot but will post again soon with those shots as his feet look much different. Curing the thrush will be done with White Lightning soaks as these feet have been like this for a while and it’s reasonably deep set stuff now. According to the previous owner, the last farrier to work on him trimmed him up too much which made him ouchy. It’s clear when looking at his feet that there was far too much frog taken off as it almost looks shriveled up and dying in the above picture. In time that will grow out nice and thick and strong again. We’ll keep track of that in this case study.

The heavily overgrown bars don’t help out at all here as they continue to pinch inwards and upwards to cut off circulation in the foot to aid in the healing process. One of his back feet supposedly had an abscess not too long before we purchased him, that can be seen here just on the lateral side (left) near the heel:


I had done a basic trim there but should have gone a bit deeper. His second trim just recently was able to really dig out the stuff that was sitting deep down, along with all the stuff under the laid over bar. Hopefully he’ll now be able to grow some straight bars to strengthen up the back of the foot.

He also seems to have taken some kind of internal trauma about 5 months back. As can be noted here in the rings around all 4 hooves:


Here’s a closeup of that in the front feet:


These types of rings generally indicate a large change in diet or some other traumatic incident that happened to the horse as all four hooves show the same ring. We have more information about rings on the hooves here.

Overall, Mac is a really nice horse. He’s got great breeding, conformation and attitude. He’s quick to learn and doesn’t seem to have it in him to get too aggressive. He does tend to push with his body and head, but those are learned behaviors which will be taken care of with diligent groundwork time. He was a lot of trouble to get into the trailer too, so he’ll be our candidate for showing how to get a horse in to a trailer when it comes time to make those videos and articles.

We’ll post more soon on this amazing horse, so stay tuned!

Update July 21, 2016

Mac has been with us for over a month now and doing great. More work was done on his back left foot as the material stuck in there was much deeper than originally expected. Once carved out now, he should be a couple of months to grow back his bar and sole to be completely sound again. Without the removal of the foreign material he likely never would have grown a proper foot down. We’ll update more on this issue as it progresses.

Here’s a quick picture of where he is at. It’s good progress as whatever was sitting in there is slowly leaking out. Release of the pressure will do him well. With this much material missing, it’s imperative to protect the bottom of the hoof with either a cast or boot. We chose boot for now to be able to easier monitor the progress and keep it clean.

[responsive]Deep abscess removal[/responsive]

[responsive]Booted the injured foot[/responsive]

We’ve given him one ride and he was great. Took a ride around the property and down the trail, he seems to do great despite having little experience with being out of an arena. He’s got a good head for sure and we’re definitely looking forward to more work with him. Vet came for vaccination and a look over his teeth and all was great. He’s got a very promising future!

Update November 5, 2016

We’ve been spending a lot of time with Mac and he’s come a long way. His foot has almost completely recovered with bar growing in nice and solid after removing all the built up material and setting his bars and heels correctly. Most amazingly about this horse though is how close he is to all of us here. When we first got him he really struggled with getting close and especially petting his head. Over the last month though has been a completely transformed horse to a point where he’s the very first to come over consistently and always stands patiently for pats and snuggles. He’s an amazing horse.


As for riding, he’s been ridden many times over the last few months with great response. His stopping and turning has come a long way and he’s very attentive for any change requested. We’re still working on reliable gaits and some groundwork exercises, but he’s smart and we have every expectation he’ll pick it all up quite quickly. More on him soon!

Update August 10, 2017
There is so much to say about this guy and we’ve left out some updates (to be filled in soon) on his progress. Here are three new videos about him though in getting him to a local park on a trailer, out of the trailer, for a walk to the water area (which was the main goal) and then into the water. Watch this guy go!

Leading a horse out of a trailer

Going for a walk with a nervous or distracted horse

Introducing a horse to creeks and streams