Tuesday, February 12, 2008

trim notes

Our natural hoof trimmer came this morning - cold enough out that my fingers are still warming up here at the keyboard! A mug of Lady Grey should help with that!

I'm starting to pick up on subtle changes in the horses' hooves that create imbalance, and am noting what our trimmer is doing to correct them. It was a happy sight to see them all lining up in stalls instead of retreating to the far corners of the paddock. He's so easy with them, and takes such time along the way. And he brings a box of cookies so they get their treat at the end.

I'm tracking each horse very carefully and he leaves me written notes as well so we can look back as needed to see the progression.

Today, Salina had no chips and good improvement in frog growth. He balanced the walls and beveled/rolled edges. We'll continue to treat frogs with the mixture of antibiotic/antifungal ointments and do at least one borax/calendula soak over the next 6 weeks.

Cody had some fairly remarkable improvement in sole thickening all around. He needs no treatment for thrush/yeast and got edges rolled and beveled. His feet are looking the best they ever have - such a relief. This is the horse who couldn't keep a shoe on. I think he was trying to tell us he simply didn't need them! We'll soak just for preventive maintenance and to acclimate him to the soaking process.

Keil Bay had good wall growth, improved frog tissue, and his heels are spreading! No chipping or peeling, which is great. His tenderness is almost completely resolved in front. The hoof boots are helping. His walls were lowered and balanced, and edges beveled and rolled. Will continue treating with ointments and soak 1x before next trim.

Apache Moon needs treatment for yeasty frogs plus soaking 1-2x over next six weeks. Good wall growth and normal trim for his near-perfect hooves. It's those pony genes!

One extra note - our trimmer showed me how important it is to have the proper tools - his new box of rasps were made in the company's new plant. The teeth on the rasp are too sharp and pointed, making his work much harder today. Having handled a rasp and practiced with edges, I learned firsthand how a good tool makes a world of difference.

Rafer got a visual check only - he was trimmed 3 weeks ago and doesn't need one. He'll join the line-up next month.

I'm feeling so much more confident about their feet now. The lifestyle changes we've made are working well - cutting way back on processed feed, increasing to free-choice hay, spreading the hay all over the field in small piles to keep them moving all day instead of standing. And plenty of time in the arena with the screenings, which really clean and polish their feet as they move.

Projects to work on: putting pea gravel in water trough areas to give them yet another stimulating hoof terrain. And I'm working on designing a soaking station that they can stand in almost like a very shallow pool - 20 minutes with a flake of hay in a hay bag and all four feet soaked simultaneously - no buckets, quick and easy. A good thing when you have four horses.


Rising Rainbow said...

Yes, those new rasps can be way too sharp sometimes. Hard on the nuckles too.

billie said...

He was thinking about tying it to the back of his truck and dragging it to the next farm!

I guess that would be a benefit of trimming only a few horses - once you get the rasps just right they stay that way awhile!

Rising Rainbow said...

I like to use the old ones on my youngsters so they learn how to deal with them but I don't cut get up too badly if they jump around.

billie said...

My woodworking/metalworking son would be all too happy to take any off my hands.

I've never started a young horse, so the idea of getting them used to having their feet handled is interesting.

Cody was 2 but he was very "finished" when we got him. Maybe too much so, under saddle, for his age, but that's another post.

Grey Horse Matters said...

Some of our horses are trimmed, some only have front shoes, some shod all around. It all depends on the hoof and their particular problem or way of going, I would just as soon have them all barefoot, but for some it's just not feasible. There is nothing better than finding the right farrier though, we really appreciate our guy, he's one of the best.

billie said...

Absolutely - this is no commentary on what is best for anyone else but my horses.

What's true here is that barefoot seems best. Keil Bay was shod all round most of his life and his feet are in the worst shape of this crew - but I've yet to know for sure whether the shoes made his feet worse or whether he was shod because his feet indeed needed those shoes.

The fact is that his heels are contracted in front and my hope is that going barefoot will help the frog get healthier and spread those heels so he can comfortably land heel first all the time.

The hoof thing is both scary and fascinating to me. I'm in total learning mode!