It is no secret that Roy has been dealing with various ailments since he first arrived at SAFE, all of which we have been managing, or doing our best to manage. Roy is a very special guy, with special needs, and we keep a close eye on him and give him what comforts we can while he is with us.

Spring and Summer are typically times we look forward to, as these seasons usually portend warm weather and more sunshine. But with the arrival of the sun also come the bugs, which exacerbate Roy’s allergies and bad summer itch. Even with a full coverage fly sheet, bug spray, a twice daily antihistamine, and various creams and salves on the tender spots of his belly and body, we are never able to really get ahead of Roy’s discomfort, only manage it.

The ground hardens in the summer as well, which is hard on Roy’s already delicate feet.

Like previously mentioned, we did have Roy in glue on shoes for several cycles. But it reached the point where it longer sustainable to keep him in them, as he was incredibly difficult to shoe and would often throw one or both far before he was due for his next set. However, the months he was in the shoes did help him build up a level of sole depth that now allows him to be comfortable barefoot, more or less. It would be unwise to have him on anything other than soft footing as to not wear down the sole he worked so hard to develop. Even still, after turnout in the arena with Mirana, he is often sore the next day.

But this is not just a result of the condition of his feet. Roy also has some arthritic changes in his knees, something that most certainly has contributed to how difficult it is for him to lift and hold his feet for the farrier. Roy is currently on daily equioxx for his arthritis, but it can only do so much. Old horses are prone to hock and fetlock sores as is, but Roy’s are especially bad, which is perhaps a testament to how much he struggles getting up. Aside from going down for a roll, Roy is not a horse who sleeps lying down. Recently, he has taken to resting his chin on the ledge of his shelter and dozing off that way.

Roy is also positive for Cushing’s, which is well managed by his daily prascend. This smart boy quickly decided that he did not like the way it tasted, and therefore will refuse any treat we try to bury it in – and trust us, we have tried everything. As a result, we have to syringe it to him each day, which is not the ideal way of administration, but the only thing that works.

Roy’s particular tastes extend to his feed as well. Due to the poor condition of his teeth, Roy’s is a mash-only diet, which he has opinions about. There have been times, plural, when Roy has gone off his food, needing a new combination of senior/haystack, or a different consistency. This can take both him and us several days to figure out, which is hardly ideal. One thing that remains constant, however, is Roy’s love for his alfalfa leaves, which volunteers meticulously sift for him each day to ensure he is only getting the soft chaff.

Roy is a herd-bound horse, which we try our best to manage by keeping his friend close at all times. But there are some instances where she must leave him, which leads to Roy’s distress. Not much can be done to manage Roy’s emotions in these moments, but it is not fun for any of us to experience. But the reality is, with Roy’s delicate feet and unique diet, he is not a candidate to join one of our bigger herds.

But Roy’s life these days is one that befits his station as an old gelding. For the most part, aside from his grooming sessions and trips to the arena for turnout, he spends his days tucked in a corner of his shelter, napping or begging any passersby for a pet on the face. As we come into some drier weather, we have begun turning Roy out with his best friend, Mirana, on the grass.

With a horse like Roy, we remain glued to the present moment, monitoring him closely, and keeping his comfort at the forefront of our minds.