The opinions expressed in previous entries may or may not express the current opinion of the author.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Hoof Update

On Tuesday, I went back to trim the Navicular and Splat feet which I trimmed back in June. Before starting to write this, I went back and found my blog entry for that day, and I realize I should have read it before going up to trim this time.

First of all, I would have read that the navicular horse had had a weird "flick" in the fetlock joint when walking, and therefore I would have seen that this time, he did not have this flicking action. I would have seen that last time, he stood with his forelegs parked out in front a bit - and this time he didn't. I would have read that, after the last trim, he noticeably avoided landing heel-first on his RF (the worst foot), whereas this time after the trim, he was landing either heel-first or at least flat-footed.  It would have been nice to know that last time, pre-trim, the ratio of back to front of the hoof was worse than 20/80, and about 50-50 post-trim. Knowing that, this time, I would have bothered to actually measure the ratios - I know it was a lot better than 20/80 pre-trim.

The splat-footed horse was way better than last time. Again, if I'd remembered I had these extensive notes in my blog, I could've checked and reminded myself that last time the extreme flare started a couple of inches below the hairline, whereas this time there was straight growth to within about an inch of the ground. I would have remembered the interesting fact the there was a prominent sole callous growing all the way in a complete arch around the frog. This time, I noticed a bump of sole callous to one side of the frog in a couple of the feet. Other than that, there was a discernible, if still very shallow, concavity and nothing left of the arch callous, except these last couple of bumps. Post-trim, there was no flare left except at the sides.

I keep very minimal notes in a logbook after trimming, but I can see how valuable it would be to have more extensive notes - and with my poor handwriting, that's not going to happen in a logbook! I should probably keep some notes on the computer, as rummaging around in the blog to find where I put things is too haphazard.

My trimming friend is on a mission to have all her clients have their horses' hoofs trimmed every four weeks. She has got religion about this, and I know for some horses frequent trimming can make all the difference. But ain't nobody want to pay the hoof trimmer that often. These two horses both had significantly bad feet, and when I saw them this week, it had been almost four months since their last trim. Yet both of them had continued to improve without intervention. This is probably largely because they belong to a herd of six horses who roam 24/7 on 19 acres of varied terrain, including rock.

The other four horses (two of whom I trimmed last time, and two of whom I have never trimmed) seem to be getting by fine without any help from me or anyone.

And speaking of the other horses, this herd is very friendly. The owner is a nice combination of kind and disciplined. So the other horses crowd around while you're trimming and chew your hair and things, but you know there'll be no trouble, cos they're all well-behaved. They also like to empty the tool bucket. So I'm thinking I should bring a toy bucket with me. Of course they'd probably still prefer the tools. Just like a toddler who, no matter what fancy age-appropriate toys are on offer, still prefers to empty your handbag.


  1. I was thinking that if I become a full time trimmer I'll set up a separate blog for my clients. I'd take photos at each trim and post them online so the owners and I could have a record.

  2. Yes, I was thinking I might set up a separate trimming blog - but more for my own benefit, as some clients may prefer not to have their details shared with other clients. You could ask people if they'd like to be on a public blog or not - some might be quite happy about it.

  3. Really interesting to read how well those horses progressed with 4 months of no intervention. Also well done you for making such close observations of how those horses move before and after the trim. I've seen plenty of trimmers and farriers dig straight in without bothering to watch how the horse uses its feet.

  4. Yes, reading about how Ben got ouchier after what you considered to be the "new and improved" trim, and thinking about how these horses progressed so well, I'm thinking that there was a lot of luck involved! Both of these horses (in different ways) just seemed to need a classic "toes backed/heels lowered" trim, and then were able to continue improving on their own. Whereas, looking back to Skipper in Mississippi, it was going to take considerably more than that - or least many, many trims - before he was going to be a lot better.

  5. June, that's very interesting. It seems like there is no "religion" about this; each horse on its own merits and of course I am sure that the terrain helps.