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Pictured Above: Tenstrike, Minn., farrier Neal Martin was instrumental in helping Annie in her bout with founder. Photo: Kathleen Preece

Editor’s Note: Bemidji, Minn., horse owner Kathleen Preece was inspired to share her story of her foundered miniature pony Annie after reading Brian Hyodo’s blog “Answering the Question that All Farriers Dread.”

The words felt like wads of cotton in my mouth — thick, difficult to swallow. I could barely spit them out: “Neal, should I put her down?”

“Neal” is my farrier, Neal Martin; “her” is Annie, my defiant, independent little rescue pony. Neal’s answer: “Let’s wait until spring.”

Annie came to me 6 years ago. She runs with abandon out in the pasture — her thick, careless mane flying in sync with her gallop. She keeps her pasture mates: the big Clydesdale mare, Patsy Clyde, in her corner, and flirts unashamedly with the handsome paint gelding, Tom Sawyer.

One early and cold October day, as only northern Minnesota can offer, I looked out my window to see Annie stiff legged and limping. I passed it off as a fall in the field, or Annie having received a deserved bump from one of the bigger horses. But it was more than that. Annie was foundered. It was sickeningly obvious: the shortened, stiff walk, her reluctance to move, the absence of brightness in those usually-brilliant brown eyes.

Neal began corrective trimming. Veterinarian Dr. Kerri Nelson put Annie on phenylbutazone for pain. Grain was taken out of her diet and she received only low-grade hay. For months, there was no improvement.

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National Farriers Week 2019

Farriers work hard year-round to provide quality hoof care for horses worldwide. Although we hope appreciation is shown all year long, each year we set aside a week dedicated to honoring your work. The 21th annual National Farriers Week, sponsored by American Farriers Journal, will take place from July 7-13, 2019. From now until July 1, you can encourage horse owners, grooms, trainers, etc., to submit pictures and videos of their farrier working with horses, and share why they appreciate their farrier. Submit your photos, videos and stories here »

By January, with Annie having walked no more than five steps in a day, I asked Neal the question again. And he answered the same; “Spring.”

Dr. Kerri suggested we put Annie on high doses of Tylenol. I also heard of founder and laminitis research taking place at the University of Minnesota. Although Annie could not be put on a trial basis for the research because of funding issues, Researcher Dr. Alonso Guedes, who is also a professor at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Science, noted that fish oil had been shown to provide some relief and healing in situations such as Annie’s.

I did my homework. I administered an equine product consisting of fish oil powder, vitamin E, and glucosamine in a base of unsweetened applesauce. Using a 60 ml syringe, I administered it orally twice a day, using the doses as recommended.

Four weeks passed. We were able to take Annie off the Tylenol, still keeping up with the fish oil concoction regime and corrective trimming.

It’s the month of May, now. Annie is racing around her dry-lot paddock as if she is preparing for the Kentucky Derby. Or is it the Triple Crown?

It’s spring. Thank you, Neal.