One early summer in 2005, we haltered Bonnie, the little bay Morgan mare who stars in my novel, Winning Bet, and walked her out of her stall for her daily turnout with the other horses. Strangely, Bonnie was tender in her front feet. We turned Bonnie out anyway, because minor lamenesses often heal themselves. By that afternoon however, Bonnie, normally athletic and spirited, could barely walk down the gravel aisle of our barn back to her stall. We dreaded what we already knew. Bonnie had foundered. Our veterinarian visited the next day and confirmed the diagnosis. Also known as laminitis, founder is a horribly painful condition involving inflammation of the internal support tissues in the hoof. As founder works its course, the condition can become so bad that the arrowhead-shaped coffin bone in the hoof begins to work its way downward through the hoof sole. My mother’s horse died this way. I swallowed hard and tried not to cry, but the grim faces of another client veterinarian and vet student told me the truth. We were in trouble. Would Bonnie die the painful death of my mother’s horse?
(Next: We fight back)
(Read about Bonnie, a real-life horse character in the novel Winning Bet, available in paperback and on the Amazon Kindle.)