A woman’s ability to overcome her own impulse to remove a nail embedded in her mare’s hoof may have saved the horse’s life.
Letting it be: A woman’s ability to overcome her own impulse to remove a nail embedded in her mare’s hoof may have saved the horse’s life.
It was the type of Facebook post that makes you stop scrolling. Late last summer, Ruth Sobeck, DVM, posted a photo on her page of a horse’s hind hoof with a large nail protruding from it. Accompanying the photo was a simple question from Sobeck, “Would you remove this nail if you found it in your horse’s hoof?”
A veterinarian with a solo practice in Palos Verdes, California, Sobeck often uses her Facebook page to share experiences and pose questions to her friends and clients. Within hours, the post about the nail had more than 50 replies. Some people said they’d pull out the nail and soak the hoof, then monitor the horse for a few days, calling the veterinarian or farrier if significant lameness developed. A few offered anecdotes of having done just that successfully. Other people had the opposite reaction, and stated emphatically that they’d never pull a nail from a hoof and that they’d call the veterinarian immediately.
As the virtual conversation continued, Sobeck popped back into the comments briefly, promising an update soon. A few hours later, she posted a radiograph that showed the nail had penetrated to the coffin bone, the major bone within the hoof. Then the horse’s owner appeared in the thread and posted pictures of her mare in surgery, having the nail removed.
That Facebook post and the responses to it not only captured a “teachable moment” that Sobeck could capitalize on, but also told the story of how an owner’s ability to overcome her instincts may have saved her horse’s life.
The hoof that sparked the discussion belongs to a 24-year-old Thoroughbred mare named Raye. She’s owned by Valerie Nestrick, DVM, a smallanimal veterinarian who was given the mare four years ago by her trainer, Kim Glaza.
“Kim owned her first and used her for teaching advanced riders,” says Nestrick. “Raye can be challenging, but Kim told me she was ready to take care of a novice rider so she gave her to me. Like she is about most things, Kim was right.” Raye came to live with Nestrick’s other horse, a gelding named Evan, in her backyard paddock in the suburb of Lomita. The pair worked ON PATROL: together as Valerie Nestrick, part of the DVM, and Raye Los Angeles report for duty County as members of Sheriff’s the local law Department enforcement
Mounted mounted posse. Posse, in which Nestrick is a Reserve Deputy; they also explored trails and continued regular rides and lessons with Glaza.
On a Monday in early September last year, Nestrick trailered both her horses to the city equestrian park. “Kim was going to ride Raye and I was going to ride Evan,” she says. All seemed well until Glaza mounted up and walked a short distance with Raye.
“She immediately got off and said, ‘Something doesn’t feel right’,” recalls Nestrick. “She went straight to the