Stone Bruise or Abscess? Either way, our fingers are crossed!

Sunday Guinness and I had a fantastic ride. Monday, I showed up to replicate the feeling. Instead, I pulled a horse out of the field who looked as if he had broken one of his legs. He was hobbling, bobbing and very obviously hurting. Great.

After a close examination of the offending leg (the front right), I found no wounds, swelling or heat. Finally, I uncovered an extremely tender spot on the heel bulb. My mind immediately sounded off "abscess!". I poked and prodded, not finding any obvious spot where it was about to burst. Sighing heavily, I set about trying to "cure" this thing.

What's the best way to start drawing out an abscess? Soaking in hot water and epsom salts, of course!

Apparently, soaking is something Guinness DOES NOT DO. Upon feeling water in the bucket at his foot, he took off backwards, spilling water all over me and him. He then stood in the corner obviously offended highly. Fantastic.

So, our next plan of attack was to poultice the foot, wrap in vet wrap, cover in duct tape and turn out the offended creature for a day of romping around on his ouchiness. Hopefully the warmth and dampness of the wrap and poultice would help the thing burst.

Not so much.

For the last few days, I've been driving up to the barn, unwrapping GP's foot and checking for signs of improvement. He's still been very lame, but the "abscess" is just not progressing the way I would expect it to. First of all, no obvious spots of swelling. There was plenty of heat on Tuesday, but that dissipated quickly and left a spot of tenderness. Yesterday, the spot was very centralized and slightly raised, but cold. I was very excited that maybe it would burst and we would have the anti-lameness going on (is that soundness? I don't even know anymore ... ). I tried poking the area with a sharp (disinfected!) knife, but I didn't want to go around breaking the skin for no reason. So, no results. The Pig was a little less lame, though. In fact, his demeanor was quite perky and interested. Bright eyed. That was cheering.

The confusing part is knowing how to continue to treat this thing. Is it a real abscess? Or, is it just a nasty bruise from over-tracking? There is an obvious bruise on the opposite hind hoof (on the front, like he stepped on himself), maybe there was an incident and he kicked himself? Or someone kicked him? Either way, the poultice should help ...

I meet with the farrier this morning, hopefully we can get this thing figured out.

Did I mention the best part? We have a show Saturday. Our rides start at 9:45 a.m. I'm pretty sure my horse just crapped on my show fees. Fantastic.

Anyone have experience with a nasty heel bruise or stubborn abscess? I'm about at my last straw with this!