One wince was enough to convince me that something wasn’t right. Hermione tensed up with pain just shifting her weight before she even started to walk towards me. She’d seemed a bit stiff this morning when I fed her–she has arthritis, and I hadn’t given it much thought–but 12 hours later, there was no mistaking her agony, and it frightened me.

It was about 6:00pm and I had just returned home from work to feed the filly and give Hermione her evening shots. As the mare approached, her every movement was deliberate, and she only moved about six inches with each step. My first thought was that she probably had a laminitic episode.

While Hermione hasn’t had any trouble in the seven years that Tabitha’s owned her, we were aware that the mare had suffered from laminitis sometime in the past–and a horse that’s had laminitis once is prone to repeated difficulties. Hermione’s an easy keeper (which is a nice way of saying she’s fat) and so she never gets more than a handful of grain at a time. But now with her new role as a potential nursemare, we had started to give her increasingly large portions of a mare-and-foal feed. While we were careful to spread the feed across several meals to avoid giving her a large quantity all at once, Hermione was still eating a lot more than her body was used to.

A thorough examination turned up no heat or swelling in her feet or legs, no specific sensitivity, no lacerations or bruising–in short, nothing that would suggest that her discomfort was caused by laminitis or injury. Tabitha confirmed that Hermione hadn’t shown any significant pain during