Like I said, one day I will get to trim a horse who does not have arthritis. Today was not that day.
Star is a grey pony belonging to an older couple who keep him for their grandkids. He is small and supposedly Welsh, but of a decidedly baroque appearance, and very proud, sensitive, strong-willed, and impatient. It didn't take me long to decide that I was in the presence of a Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling "King," only one of whom have I - knowingly at least - encountered before.
He, like everyone else it seems, has some problems with his joints. He is 25 after all. He ceded his front feet gallantly, but when I got to the hind legs, there were problems. After a little snatching and kicking, he settled down to let me work on his right hind, but there was no way he was going to let me have his left. He kicked repeatedly, and cowkicked once or twice as well. This kicking was, I concluded, at least partly motivated by irritation and avoidance. I didn't get cross, managed to stay out of range of the kicks, and he began to try to work with me a tiny bit.
When he managed to just raise the left hind foot by leaning all his weight on me, and when he later almost fell over on top of me, I realized his reluctance to pick up that foot was also due to physical discomfort, and that he really couldn't help it. I worked with him on the leadrope, and he was willing to run with me, back up, come toward me, stand still, etc., none of which had the effect of softening his refusal to let me have his left hind.
His owner and I discussed the situation. I said I believed that his cooperativeness with the other three feet meant that he was not being "naughty." We thought that his inability to lift the left hind - other than for a quick kick - looked to be due to an unwillingness to weight the right hind. I thought the problem was not in the right hind foot, but higher up - possibly in his hips - or pelvis? The owner had told me that Star had recently been giving the grandkids pony rides, and that when the last (and oldest) kid was having her turn, he had, quite out of the blue, bucked three times and thrown her off. We now thought maybe this had been due to his soreness.
Finally, we decided we no option but to leave the hoof like this:
You can see how the hoof has worn off except at the toe. As this is the side he prefers to put his weight on, I told the owner that I hoped it might wear quicker to help it catch up with the side which was trimmed. I think the toe will break off sooner or later. Also the owner may put the pony on a joint supplement, and maybe next time will be easier.
I was glad to have the opportunity to meet another King - it is an interesting type, and one which I find quite different from other horses. At least I think that's what he is - his face looks the part, and his personality certainly fits the bill.