Image and Ember

The Elephant in the Room, er…Pasture?

We’ve all heard the phrases “pleasantly plump”, “roly-poly”, “chunky monkey” and so on to describe individuals who are overweight.  (I told you there was an elephant in the room!)  When people started to refer to my ‘kiddos’ (Image and Ember, my mustangs) using these  phrases, at first it was cute and kind of adorable.  I have even called Image my “Sugar Cookie”.  After he has rolled around in the dirt and mud, covering his pale palomino coat in various shades of brown, I would call him my “Snickerdoodle”.  Okay, so Image and Ember (even Abi) are a bit overweight.  So what?  They are “well loved”.  Right?

Image – mustang from the Pryor mountains


Of our three mustangs, Ember is probably the least overweight.  But she is still overweight.  And it has caused her to have some potentially serious health issues.  She does not carry her extra weight well at all.  Last summer it became very clear that it was hurting her.  She had some seriously ouchy feet.  After having OSU Vet Hospital come down and check her out, the x-rays showed 3 abscesses in 3 of her hooves.  The Doc was able to drain two of them through the bottoms of her hooves.

The Vet and students of OSU x-raying Embers hooves
Ember getting her Epson salt poultice
They wrapped the poultice in “Scarlet” wrapping.
Then the Doc secured it all with a “Gray” bootie she made out of duct tape.
Our fashionista sporting OSU’s colors of Scarlet and Gray
I was pleasantly surprised when Ember’s booties stayed on her for 4 days! The Doc wanted them to stay on for at least 3 days.

The third abscess burst on it own out the top of her hoof about a week later.  She was in the very early stages of laminitis.  My heart dropped and my world stopped.  How did this happen?  She was just pleasantly plump, right?

The Vet assured me that with proper hoof trims and losing some weight, she would be fine.  Okay, we can do this.  Ember and I made a pact:  we would get fit together.  After all, I was starting to get a little pleasantly plump myself – the heaviest I had ever been in my life!  I took her head in my hands and looked her square in the eyes and promised her we would do this together…

We started walking together…  As her hooves healed from the abscesses and she was starting to feel better, we continued our walking around.  Then I would switch to Image and walk him around.  Ember started to follow us.  We were starting to face the Elephant that was in the Pasture…

(the phrase “elephant in the room” is something that people say when they do not want to talk about a certain subject matter.  Being overweight (whether in humans or animals) is certainly one of the topics.)


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