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Hall of Fame equine veterinarian Al Kane remembers him simply as “Bob,” a neglected pony who proved that sometimes it pays to rely on the basics to help a horse that can’t go anymore.
Kane stays on top of the latest hoof-care techniques as an advisor to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s wild horse and burro program in Fort Collins, Colo., a farrier and author of the Research Journal column in American Farriers Journal. But he told attendees at the 2006 International Hoof-Care Summit that Bob’s case serves as an example of what Kane calls “a low-tech, old-fashioned solution to the kind of horse that we see nearly every day.”
Kane was doing post-graduate studies at Colorado State University when Bob was brought anonymously to the university and the attention of Steve Mellin, the university farrier and instructor, and students at the veterinary school.
There was no history available on the large pony, who had been left behind on a ranch recently purchased by a celebrity. The new owner and the property caretakers knew nothing about horses but recognized that something was wrong with the horse.
“It seemed depressed, and the crest of his neck had fallen to one side because he was so obese,” Kane remembers. “It just kind of stood around, didn’t seem to have much personality and was reluctant to move.”
The horse was 20-some years old and extremely fat, weighing more than 800 pounds, about 150 to 200 pounds too heavy. A…