Monday, May 4, 2009

Hoof Trimming

So this week's task was updating the barefoot trims on Jack and Arabee.

((WARNING: at the very bottom of this post is a picture of Arabee's injured hoof. So, if you don't want to see it, don't scroll down too far! There are 2 pictures of Jack, and 3 pictures of Arabee before the injured hoof shows up.))

Here is Jack's "Before" shot of his fronts from his right side taken on Thursday evening:

And shown here are his "after" shot taken on Sunday afternoon:
I've had Jack since he was 15 years old, he is now 29. He has ALWAYS had front feet that quite resemble a ski slope - long and flared toes. When we still lived with my parents, we went through quite a many farrier. He usually wore shoes during the summer show season, and went barefoot through the winter. He's not been ridden regularly since 2002, not been ridden at all since 2005, and although he always enjoyed going for a ride, just 5 minutes at a walk was all he could handle due to arthritis. Jack has been known to look long right after being trimmed, and was doing okay hoof-wise with the same farrier since 2005, but I've seen great improvement in his hoof shape since I started taking the rasp and doing his trimming last August.

This last time I really worked on backing up the toe, and hope to continue bringing his toes back gradually until he no longer has that "ski slope" look. I am also working on a long-time battle with thrush with him, which I think will improve now that we're able to have the horses on pasture and not in the "dry" (usually muddy all winter) lot. Improving his frog health should probably help his overall hoof shape gradually. I'm currently using a chemical that I bought at the local Tractor Supply Co., green, and I am interested in trying a more "natural" thrush remedy. Any suggestions??

I only have "after" photos of Arabee. I did her fronts on Saturday morning, and her rear feet Saturday afternoon. All pictures were taken on Sunday afternoon, after I hosed off her muddy feet, which is why her legs are wet looking.
This is her front feet taken from her left side:
I need to try to wait a week between trimming Jack and Arabee, since their feet are so different. I feel like I got way too carried away with the left front hoof at the toe, almost like I was still in the mindset of trimming Jack the Ski Slope. I felt awful after the trim with the LF, since I actually rasped so much wall away at the toe that she's almost totally walking on her sole for the front 1/4 to 1/3 of her hoof. But the longer I look at the pictures, the more I start to think that the LF is the more correct trim, perhaps not quite enough of a roll on the RF hoof. Maybe I didn't rasp quite enough on the RF because of over-doing it on the LF. She is sound, I longed her a bit right after the trim and I could not see any "off" movement. Any input on this??

The bottom of her right hind hoof:

Another shot of her front feet, showing the difference between the RF and LF:
The LF is resting on the sole for the front 1/4 to 1/3 of the hoof. The RF has some wall touching all the way around the hoof. Which is more correct? I am thinking perhaps somewhere in the middle.
She's lost some concavity in her hooves since her stall-rest and not being ridden. I hope to get on and ride some this week if the weather cooperates, and I might have found someone who will ride her a little this summer, Matt's cousin who's in high school, but I know she might get busy. Anyway, I hope her concavity returns with some work, either under saddle or in hand.

Okay, last warning! Next picture is of Arabee's injured RF hoof.
It shows me holding it up. At the top of the leg you can see some scabbing, that has nothing to do with the actual injury. I suspect it is scratches, unfortunately. Below the scabbing is the actual cut on her pastern, which went through the coronet band, and into the hoof about an inch. You can see the ring around the top of the hoof where it has started to grow out. At one point, her leg was so swollen and puffy that her hoof started to curl away from the coronet band, so it looks like it's starting to grow back well. I am still concerned about the part of the coronet band that actually got sliced through - I hope that hoof growth returns to normal there.
For now I have been trimming as usual, just restoring the mustang roll around the wall to the level of the sole. While her hoof is healing, is there any sort of trimming I should be doing differently?? Especially as the injured part grows down and out.


Boots and Saddles 4 Mel said...

Wow - that cut on her cornet band is much worse than I thought it would be according to your description!

I'm hoping that someone comments on your trimming job so that I can learn. They look pretty darn good to me. From what I'm reading I've been (when Minx was still alive) rasping from the top and then finishing the bottom - the roll usually comes to the white line all the way around. But I'm a complete newbie and still had my farrier out every 12 weeks or so to take a look.

Nicole said...

Mel - it has sure changed a lot since she first cut it. If you're interested (being a vet-to-be hopeful! ...or are you already a vet student?) I can email you a picture of when she first did it. I really don't understand the way wounds heal well enough to explain why it changed so much, but when she did it it was just about 1/4"wide by 1/4" deep....and it just sort of splayed open as it swelled up, and now is starting to fill in.

Boots and Saddles 4 Mel said...

I would definatley be interested in any other photos showing the progression. Wow - I didn't request pics before because I thought it was a simple puncture above the cornet band.

Nicole said...

i'm happy to send the picture, but I didn't find an email address in your profile. I'll only post the picture on this blog if I get like 2 other requests. The picture I have was taken immediately after she was injured, and is pretty bloody....but if I have enough requests, I will post it here. Otherwise, you can send me your email address at or put it here in the comments if you want. I wish I would have taken weekly pictures, but I think next time (cause unfortunately there always will be a next time, horses are so GOOD at getting hurt)I will make sure to take weekly pictures to see how it changed as time went by.

Boots and Saddles 4 Mel said...

Use the address It's not my regular one, but it's one I post on my blog just for stuff like this!

~The South Dakota Cowgirl~ said...

Did her hoof grow back right? We had a horse this year that practically severed his entire 1/3 of his hoof on one side, at the heel bulb. It has grown back and he is almost 100% sound on it again. Took some time, but it healed well. Mother Nature can work wonders!