Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Bethel, Ohio USA
• Horses: 0
Your environment is nearly ideal for keeping a horse. Presuming the hoof wear does not exceed growth, maintenance will be relatively minor.
Working on desert hardened feet is tough and requires sharp tools; particularly the hoof knife.
Per your photos, I'd put emphasis/priority on.....
1. Try to keep the commissures more open to air at each side of the frog. Run a sharp knife from the apex of the frog to the rear of the commissure, shaving just the hardened surface of the frog at a slight angle. The result should allow you to easily pass a hoof pick completely through the each cleft.
2. Heavy terrain abrasion will care for most of the distal wall requirements. Run a rasp around the edge just enough to clean up minor chip damage. If you spend more than 30 seconds doing that, it's too much.
3. Thoroughbreds are more prone to distortion at the quarters of the hoof wall. Occasionally dress the walls in an effort to keep a straight line from hairline to ground. Don't be so aggressive as to compromise wall thickness but don't allow quarter flares to become excessive. It's a balance that requires experience. Use the wall thickness at the heel quarters to guide your judgement.
4. There is a lot of unexfoliated, keratinized solar tissue packed into the foot, particularly the back half of the foot. The bar depth better defines this. Without more experience, I'm very reluctant to advise that you try to do anything about this. Your current rasp work will take care of most of that need. Consider this an information point only.
All three of these recommendations should be viewed in the context of minor, non-aggressive changes. In the desert, less is more.