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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Not Even Martha Stewart Has A Recipe to Fix Chronic Lameness

by Fran Jurga | 26 January 2010 | Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog

Once again, celebrity horse owner Martha Stewart invited her readers into her barn in New York recently, through her blog. The photos were published over a period of a couple of weeks.

Martyn is a 17-year-old Dutch Friesian. Martha has been documenting his lameness problems for a while now on her blog, but her holiday message about the horse sounded quite discouraging. Martyn can no longer safely be turned out with the other horses during the winter, Martha wrote. The barn doors were kept closed and his stall door open, giving him the freedom of the huge stone barn.

Martha describes his problems as multiple, but chose to photograph the pasterns and fetlocks of his hind legs. Readers will probably "diagnose" this part of Martyn's problem. I don't know what else may have been diagnosed for the horse.

Soon after these photos were taken, the horse was euthanized. I can't remember another time when a celebrity figure detailed the health problems of a horse and its death on such a personal level.

A few months earlier, actress Glenn Close sent a video message to the
Fifth International Equine Conference on Laminitis and Diseases of the Foot
in West Palm Beach, Florida. She had been given an award for her role in a documentary about laminitis. In the video message, she mentioned her personal war with laminitis as she struggled to save her Morgan mare, Rosie, who was euthanized.

Lameness and laminitis can happen to any horse, but for these two women to speak out and show emotion over the loss of their horses is something new in the horse world. It can't change how a horse is doing, but perhaps it can help some owners stick with the program, or decide to get some tests done. Maybe it's the Internet, or maybe it's the age of accepting animals as family members, but it's a different world out there and owner emotions--positive and negative--are part of the equation of every horse's care and health.

© Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing. Please, no use without permission. You only need to ask.

Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog is a between-issues news service for subscribers to Hoofcare and Lameness Journal. This blog may be read online at the blog page, checked via RSS feed, or received via a digest-type email (requires signup in box at top right of blog page).

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