So today I spent the day at a trimming clinic, thought i'd share.
It was a great day - I learnt a ton. We spent the morning with a lecture about evolution, the function of the hoof, the anatomy of the hoof, why barefoot, movement, and then moved on to trimming parameters and techniques.
Before lunch, we had a trimming demo and tool use demo on cadaver legs, and then we got a leg each to trim ourselves. It was a bit gross (The leg bit was still squishy
) but really helpful being able to twist the hoof any whichway to better see the effect of what we were doing. I wish I got a before photo of my leg - The sole was too long and had started to curl under. I got after photos though - The photo makes it look like there is a flare on one heel but I promise there wasn't :]
After lunch we brought the horses in and trimmed out own. Andrew used Bundy for a demo on one hind foot. Bundy was very tight through the shoulder so wasn't very happy about me holding his foot up for long periods of time - He was pulling back/rearing every 3 minutes or so, so it took a fair while! It was very interesting - I had a fellow helping me out and showing me things as we went. He found a crack in one toe so spent some time investigating it and cut it out a bit to help it grow out. He also had a bit of wall seperation in each front foot so we took a bit more wall off those spots to get rid of it. He was higher in the outside heel on both fronts, and very low in the frog on his front right.
After we trimmed our own we had another lecture, on other influences on hoof health, i.e. diet and environment.
After that Andrew gave a talk about biomechanics and the workings of the leg/foot - With a fresh cadaver leg - Pulling the tendons and such. I felt very sick and couldn't watch this bit which was a shame.
I ended up buying some tools of my own and will now start doing maintenace trims on our three in between trimmer visits, ad get feedback from our trimmer on how I am doing. I hope to do an advanced school with them when they come back in a few months.
It was a great clinic - I learnt a lot that I didn't know. How the quarters aren't meant to be weight bearing, and neither is the outer wall. How the sole plane perfectly mimics the placement of the pedal bone, almost giving you x-ray vision into the foot. The importance of the frog touchhing the ground and the function of the frog combined with the digital cushion. Some of the long term effects of shoeing.
It's interesting to note that Andrew is a certified master farrier and racetrack farrier, but with more knowledge has moved away from shoeing and now specialises in rehabbing chronic lameness cases (Navicular, Laminitis) using barefoot techniques.