From sore, to saucy: Miniature pony Waymore on the mend after serious hoof problems
Pony's new owner has a children's book to help offset costs of flying specialist in to care for animal
You may have spotted Waymore the miniature pony strutting down the street in the popular Mount Pearl Anthem video, but not so long ago, it looked like she'd never strut again.
Waymore's hooves have grown in incorrectly, making it difficult for her to walk unless it's quickly fixed; without special attention, the result would be lameness.
"I was told she had a little health problem with her hooves," said Dena Eales, who took Waymore in when her owners could no longer care for her and had sold their home.
"I just didn't realize it was so drastic until she came to our barn."
Eales, who runs the hobby farm in St. John's where Waymore now lives, said the miniature pony's issues were plain to see: Waymore's stance was wrong, her tail tucked "like a scared dog," and she constantly struggled to take the weight off her front legs.
A local farrier — someone who trims and shoes horse hooves — examined Waymore, but unfortunately, Eales said, with no X-ray imaging available to discern the extent of the issues, the prognosis was bleak: Waymore would likely lose the ability to walk and need to be put down.
Luckily for Waymore, Eales had other plans.
'Horses are born to roam'
Kate Romanenko is a hoof care specialist from Ontario who Eales met through a friend.
After having Waymore examined, Eales reached out to Romanenko, sending her photos of the hooves in the hopes that something could still be done.
Romanenko believed she could help with Waymore, so Eales flew her to Newfoundland several months ago to give Waymore her first hoof trimming.
"I noticed that her hooves were just extremely overgrown, so they had started to twirl and get a little bit twisty," Romanenko said.
"Because the horses now often don't roam freely and move 24 hours a day, their hooves are not wearing down properly."
Improper hoof formation can seriously hinder an animal's quality of life.
Waymore's entire body had started to contort, on account of her having to walk and stand in ways that minimized her pain.
Although it meant flying back and forth to the island several times, Romanenko's intervention saw Waymore's hooves return to a natural state in just a matter of months.
A lot of hoof issues result not from neglect, Romanenko said, but from incorrectly treating the issues. Often, the best thing to do for your animal is make life in captivity as close to life in the wild as possible.
"Horses are born to roam. Five minutes from when they're born, they're standing and their feet are made for that," Romanenko said, adding it could take up to three years for Waymore's hooves to grow in normally on their own, without treatment.
"If we put them in boxes or we tie them up and we don't give them their natural habitat, then we are asking for problems."
Waymore now spends lots of time outside roaming around, stirring up trouble, Eales said, and the results speak for themselves.
"She's running, kicking, bucking," she said.
In February, Waymore could barely walk; now, it's a struggle to catch up with her.
"Now she's very frisky and likes to use her hind legs," Eales said with a laugh.
"Spunk, yeah, that's it — spunk. She's now a nasty little pony who likes to kick people."
Eales is paying for Waymore's treatment out of pocket, but she's hoping that the recently released children's book -— Hope for Waymore — can help recoup some of the costs.