Oh, that stinks! And their feet were looking great last time I was out there.
Dang...you DO have your boots, right?
Well, I'll be back to work ASAP...have heard a lot of gripes about the farriers cutting up "my" horses' soles and causing some tenderness. It's almost like a vendictive issue for them to "correct" my barefoot trims, and it's not just he men! Even some of the other so-called barefoot trimmers that have sprung up in the area are butchering them.
Just want to use it as a case in point of really checking out the farrier/trimmer you use. And I'm not picking at you, Vidaloco, just using that as prime example of why horse owners should check into the reputations of anyone who will work on their horses. I guess it's been a sore spot for me lately to hear about so many of the barefoot horses that were doing so well are all ouchy now thanks to careless trimming by local farriers that are filling in while I'm pregnant. Not much professional curteousy around here, either. Most have been rude about taking referrals since I'm a "Natural" trimmer, and I'm not FROM here and I'm sure my being a woman has a little to do with it. :roll:
Okay, back on topic...yes the trimming of frogs is justitified by farriers as being "hygenic" and that is what you are taught in farrier school. And yes, if you have a lot of infected tissue, some trimming of it will get rid of it, like you would cut off an gangrenous leg. But, if you get toenail fungus, do you cut off the whole toe to keep it more sanitary? No. But keeping your nails short and letting air hit them more will provide less of an environment for the fungus, right? So the farriers that whittle the frog, usually are well-intentioned, but mis-guided. Shoes, in themeselves are enablers for thrush. The mechanics of them simply make it easier to trap dirt in the hoof instead of letting it flip out as the horse walks.
Another reason farriers tend to shave the frog down, is the they are taught it SHOULDN'T touch the ground, because it's too sensitive (well, if it's been thrushy or trimmed to prevent thrush, it has no protective callous, and yes, is temporarily tender on the ground). So they cut it out of weight bearing contact with the ground, and it it looks better trimmed up, so it's a little cosmetic, as well.
I like to leave the frog intact. It will thicken and callous. The tenderness goes away and the action of being used stimulates circuation, that helps fight infections, plus the bigger healthier frog helps to shed the manure/mud that gets trapped and causes thrush in the first place. The frog helps absorb shock as well as traction for the foot. I do sometimes trim little "flappy-dos", to keep them from hiding mud/manure and breeding germs, but really don't bother with it much in the dry season, just depends.
Cutting into frog makes it more vulnerable to any infections and tenderness. Ever get a blister that pops, and that outer layer of skin falls off, the fresh stuff underneath is healthy, but ouchy, right? Well, with a frog, the ouchyness is enough to cause some horses to NOT use the back of the foot, so the frog isn't stimulated, and is more susceptable to infection because of the slower circulation, thus the cycle begins. At least, that's the potential effects.