Tuesday, March 15, 2011

...And We're Back!

It has been over a week since I last posted about Ben. I was sick for about a week and then rolled right into a vacation.

Ben has been chillin' out for the past couple of weeks. The weather has been really poor, so I hear. I've also got reports that our Ben has been quite the spunky character when being turned out/ brought in. I suspect that is because the footing outdoors isn't all that great so he's not burning much steam off.

That is all about to change, because he's going to start lightly working as of this week. :)

Yesterday was my first day back at the barn- so I got to see my boy. He's still very hairy, but has begun to shed out- he's very behind by comparison to the other horses at the barn. I also, finally, was able to clip the lumps on his front legs. They look very much like old splints, and I suspect he got them by the way he moves. Ben will be getting his very own sport boots to prevent interference.

Anyway, clipping the spots revealed something very interesting. The lump on the left leg looked quite normal- just normal black skin over a cold, hard splint. The lump on the right leg is a different story. Once the hair was gone, revealed these white, dime-sized perfectly circular scars. The barn manager and I thought we saw some long white hairs on that particular lump when Ben first came to the barn, but honestly we couldn't be sure because of the light. We just figured it wasn't a big deal.  I've never seen anything like it- these scars. I definitely need to take a photo of these things. I wonder what they are, how he got them?! He's not lame on that leg- so whatever it is/ was hasn't bothered him- it is just the strangest set of scars I've ever seen.

It very vaguely reminds me of pinfiring marks, or something man-made. The marks are so perfectly circular, the skin looks like it is painted white in perfect little circles. However, the circles are not aligned, nor do they go down the cannon like pin firing. It seems really hard to think that he'd get an injury like that himself- it really looks man-made.

If he still has them in April, I'm going to ask the vet to look when he's up for the routine visit, just out of curiosity. I'm not very knowledgeable about treatments done at the track, let alone at the standardbred tracks- maybe he got treatment for something. It certainly looks like something  he wouldn't have done to himself.

I'll try to get a good picture and post it this week. If anyone has ideas, I'd love to hear them- I'm very curious!!!


  1. Posting a comment on my own blog. After doing my research, I'm going to place a virtual vet on "freeze firing." Seems really commonly done on standardbreds, and looks just like what Ben has on his legs.

    Good news is that aside from white-hair scarring, doesn't seem to negatively effect the horse.

  2. Many STBs do have some sort of freeze/pinfiring but it usually doesn't mean much. Some people view it as standard treatment and will have it done for minor injuries; some say all it really does is force the connections to give the horse time off.

    Someone once told me the marks are much bigger and more noticeable on STBs than TBs, but I don't know if that just has to do with a difference in procedures or what. This horse has really obvious marks: http://goodbye-kitty975.deviantart.com/art/Realist-Hanover-128813389

    If I recall, he was done fairly shortly before he came to the farm and that photo was taken. His injury was pretty severe and he would be lame for the rest of his life, regardless of whether or not he had been treated.

    My older horse, on the other hand, has firing on both front legs. One set is about where you'd expect for popped splints, but he has other spots down lower, around his pastern, where my vet has said it wouldn't affect anything! But despite that, he stayed sound through 222 races, and still pops over the occasional jump at age 18. Knock on wood, he hasn't had any problems related to the areas where he's been freeze-fired.

  3. Thanks for the info! Definitely makes me think "freeze firing". I think Ben is much like your guys- definitely doesn't seem to bother him.

    Here is a link to a forum that shows an image of what his look like- scroll down to post #9, and the first picture.