How to trim a horse with Severe Arthritis?

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How to trim a horse with Severe Arthritis?

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    07-11-2011, 07:51 PM
How to trim a horse with Severe Arthritis?

I am new here, so I'm not quite sure where to post this. I have a 26 or so yr old mare and I love her to death. But she has severe arthritis in her knees. Recently, it has become worse and its a battle to clean her front right foot because she will not put he weight on her front left fully anymore. I don't know what to do, because she needs a trim soon. We do not have a special farrier, my brother is very good at it but we don't have any special stands or what not.

Does anyone have any ideas of stands or slings we could use while trimming so she doesn't have to bear all her weight on that leg? She also cannot bend those knees very much at all. Thanks for any ideas!
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    07-11-2011, 08:01 PM
Green Broke
Welcome to the forum!

Just as a tip, you do not need to place a thread in several different sections, as they all appear in the new post area.

To trim the mare, you could use a stand, or if there was a trimming stock in your area, you might want to use that. The stock works the same as a stationary stock, except it has the advantage of the horse being lifted off the ground so you can get to their hooves.

The stand might be better, as it wouldn't be as frightening. You could also give her a bit of bute to help with any extra pain she might have after trimming.
    07-11-2011, 08:04 PM
Super Moderator
I had a walking horse that I lost at 38. He had severe ringbone and some hip/joint issues along with arthritis. We would give him bute before the farrier came and then we would set him up so that he was against the wall so that he could lean against the wall. Sometimes I had to stand and push against him to keep him leaning on the wall rather then the farrier. A couple times I thought he was going to fall over near the end. If it wasn't for the ring bone I would have quite having his hooves trimmed at that point. Had he not had such a strong will to live I may have given up on him. Thankfully, he made that final decision for me as I never want to have to make it...
    07-11-2011, 08:17 PM
Super Moderator
Welcome to the forum! Per VelvetAB's note, I removed the other 2 threads and merged current responses...
    07-11-2011, 08:17 PM
My best suggestion would be to give her a dose of bute before trying to trim her. That way, it won't hurt her to bear all her weight on that one leg. Plus, give her plenty of rest breaks.

Clean it out, set it down, trim one pass, set it down, trim another pass if needed, set it down, rasp a bit, set it down, rasp a bit more, set it down, do a bit of final shaping, set it down. Plus, any time she feels like she is having trouble or getting tired, set it down. Give her a break of a few minutes between each time that you pick it up.

Those hoof stands are extremely handy but you may have better luck with just a person that is able and willing to hold her foot extremely low while working on it. Another thought is to have one person hold the foot and another person work on it. That way, the holder can use their hands to hold it instead of their knees and keep it as low as the horse needs it to be comfortable.

When working on her foot, try to keep from putting any kind of torque on her foot that would cause her leg to pivot at the knee joint. I've known some farriers that tend to clip a spot with the nippers and then pull/tear at an angle to get it loose and that would cause the horse's leg to move/spin/pivot in their grip. Not that big of a deal for a healthy horse but painful for one with bad knees.
    07-11-2011, 08:31 PM
For a couple of years I had a vet out at trimming time, every 6-8 weeks, to sedate & medicate my horse with a bad knee. She could bend it but it was painful at times. The time I saw her holding her leg up & trembling (we stopped at that point) was the last time she had to do it without sleepy time.
Her trims were quite expensive & I wish to this day I was still paying for her.
    07-11-2011, 09:01 PM
I would like to second and third what the other posters have already contributed

A sympathetic farrier is the first and most important step.

Bute, or even Banamine, the night before and the morning of is a huge help.

Turnout the night before, and not allowing the horse to stand in a stall at all before shoeing is critical.

Some arthritic horses benefit from mild forced exercise such as lunging to limber them up before shoeing

Farmpony's suggestion of a wall to lean on is good as well. My 35 year old pony was trimmed this way the last couple of years of his life, he simply couldn't support his weight on his bad leg, so we let him lean/lay over a padded partition, and the farrier would do him quickly, with minimal flexion on the leg.

SO glad you're sympathetic to your old horse's needs.

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