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My horse's hooves...room for improvement?
Here is a link to my horse's hooves from June to November. What should I improve? I know he has little cracks and such...we've been working on those with an increased bevel and a more circular trim (we had some problems because I was squaring his toe unintentionally). His left front foot especially...it looks like it needs to be shifted over or rotated over...it doesn't look like it is on straight to me? What do all the barefoot trimmers think out there? (NOTE: This month is our 1 year anniversary for barefoot trimming myself!!)
nobody?? Where's all my barefoot trimmers?
Well, I am an amateur trimmer that does my own. I've had instruction though ;-).
Looking at the latest photos, I'd say your heels could come down more, quarters scooped, and toes backed up (to help with that splitting issue). I'd also do a more exaggerated mustang roll to prevent cracking and chipping. I also prefer to leave the sole alone, only scraping out flaky sole with the dull edge of my knife. The walls should be shorter too, 1/16th to 1/8th of an inch longer then the sole.
All that said, what does the horse tell you? Traveling well? Tracking up evenly? Standing square? Sound on all terrain? That's your true test ;-).
You're doing OK, but I'd be getting a professional at least every few months to help you with difficulties & keep you on track. While it's obvious the horse has improved in some ways - you have taken care of the cracks by the looks of things & they'll be grown out soon with any luck - there are some things that concern me.
Agree with luvs2, except (maybe, see below)for backing up toes & general wall length - I'd do a bit more of a mustang roll & keep on top of it every week or 2. Don't think they need backing up at all. I also don't agree that the walls are too long, except maybe at the quarters - looks to be less than 1/8" to me. Tho can't be really accurate with just these pix to go on, let alone not knowing the full story & being there to see for myself... so take whatever is suggested with a grain of salt....
He looks a little long & underslung in the heels in the earlier pics. This doesn't appear to have been improved - maybe even worse. IMO more heel and bar material could have come off in the beginning, certainly could now, and perhaps a heel bevel would be a good step in getting the heels further back.
I'm a little unsure of the pics, as I'm not sure which foot is which in some pix, but in the 7th & 8th November shots, it seems that the heels may actually be higher than in the beginning. But in the 11th & 12th shots it appears they're well short enough(??) Are 7-8 backs, 11-12 fronts perhaps?
Have you left them longer on purpose perhaps, to help him be comfortable on weak heels/digital cushions? I don't think they need to be that high anyway, if they still need to be high at all. The frog also looks possibly more contracted, which it wasn't in the June pix. This means he's likely to be still landing toe first with sensitive heels. Lowering them & using boots maybe with pads would be my preference, to get him using & building the back of his foot without making him uncomfortable. You need to do whatever you can to get him comfortably landing heel first. The 7th shot makes it look as if the inside heel is more forward than the outside too. The last pics make it look like his feet are different angles & not matching, which they appeared to be in the earlier pix.
In the last of the October shots - side on back foot shows that the foot has taken care of most of the excess quarter length itself - you just need to keep it rolled - but the rear of the quarter seems to be still a little too long & jammed. This may be from the high heels & if you're leaving them longer temporarily for comfort, you still need to relieve the quarters immediately in front of heel buttress. The bars also need to be brought down a bit more. As a rule, I treat them the same as the rest of the wall, keeping them close to sole level.
It appears the horse has rather shallow feet, at the front at least. *As a rule*(never say never) I don't think it's a good idea to pare the sole, certainly not routinely and especially not to the extent *it appears* you may have done, and especially not on a horse with shallow collateral grooves, which mean there is little sole depth under the coffin bone anyway. I believe the way to healthy feet is to *grow* a well connected, concave foot, not carve concavity into one which if flat, is not ready for it. As a rule, you should be able to exfoliate all that's necessary with a hoofpick rather than a knife.
I'm also concerned with the colour difference at the toe, which can be seen clearest in the 7th Nov shot. It appears this is stretched laminar material, or a 'lamellar wedge'. This would change my advice not to back up the foot further, as it's obviously seperated & stretched forward of where breakover should be. On that note, I'd be getting xrays & professional help too, before changing anything much.
Studying Pete Ramey's site & resources at Pete Ramey hoof care heals founder in horse’s navicular disease farrier should give you a bit more understanding of the principles that effect my suggestions & concerns. I'd advise you find a *good* professional to come help you stay on track, even if it's only once every few months & you do the interim trims.
All of the November shots are front hooves only.
I would LOVE to find a good barefoot professional...unfortunately to my knowledge (asking vets, stables, and internet searches) there are none in my area. Which is why I started doing my own hooves in the first place:-(
His heels were looking a bit high to me this time around. Which Im actually a bit proud of...he has always had super low underslung heels...a tragic consequence of living in wedge shoes for 3 years prior to last November. I thought maybe we should take them down a bit...and add more bevel back there. I've been so worried about getting that toe back that the heel has been somewhat overlooked.
We did not take off any sole that didn't come off easily. We used a knife not a hoof pick...but it is one of those $5.95 numbers from tractor supply...so it might even be duller than a hoof pick:lol:
We had an acute laminitis scare back in March...which is the color difference. It used to be huge and dramatic and now it seems to be much smaller.
His frogs definitely contracted this time around. I wondered if it is due to the erratic hot, cold, wet (Hurricane Ike) conditions we've had lately.
None of these people are near you?
I count 11 certified BF trimmers in Texas. If none are close, they will likely travel. The guy I have come and check my work twice a year drives from over 2 hours away. He has a bunch of clients in my area that he does all on the same weekend once a month, so I just hop on that schedule.
You might contact the Huston PD and find out who there trimmer is. If he's not near you, ask him if he knows anyone that is.
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A web site just for Texas Natural Trimming.
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A barefoot trimmer in Texas:
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Most of those farriers are 2-3 hours or more away from me. Unfrotunately I don't have the $ to pay those kind of gas mileage fees to come see my one horse.:?
I sympathise with not having people within affordable distance of you. That is also a major reason why I started. But hands on, supervised instruction will help you so much. If you only get them out every few months, or you go to them, with or without your horse(while they do others), you will still learn a heap & costs can be kept down. I still pay another respected trimmer to come check my work & give opinions occasionally, or go watch others work & I've been doing it for a decade.
If this is still not possible(or even if it is), I highly recommend Pete Ramey's DVD set. It's his 3 day(?) clinic on DVD effectively, and you will learn the theory & principles as well as see him trim a large variety of horses, while he tells of the whys & wherefores. Seriously, think about whether you & your horse can really afford not to get some more instruction. Especially in light of laminitis & heel probs - while it's not rocket science, it's not as straightforward as a mainenence trim & you need to understand what effects you're creating, or wanting to.
All Nov shots front feet? Be handy if you labled feet as well as dating the pix. I'm even more concerned with the imbalance in that case. But are they as ill matched as they appear, or is it a bit to do with the angles of the pix? A hoof knife of whatever quality(I know cos I use $5 ones too) is substantially sharper than a hoofpick and IMO should not be used as a matter of course(always exceptions), on a laminitic horse especially.
Don't be proud of high heels, especially in a laminitic horse. It's good that you've improved the angle of them, so they're more upright & less underslung, but low is good & while shoes may have exacerbated the problem, it was overlong heels that would have led to their initial collapse.
I'm going to take a bit of heel off and put a bigger mustang roll on the heel. They look balanced in real life...so I'm chocking that up as camera angle.
I had a great lesson with my trainer yesterday, and she thinks he is moving the best he has in a year. She said he looked much "lighter" on his front end and he doesn't land toe first like he was doing a year ago in his shoes. So I think we are on the right track. Thanks for the advice everybody!!
Oh and I think one of my friends and I are going to go in together and buy those Pete Ramey DVDs...so pricey!!
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