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New Farrier after 10 years.... Is hoof correct
My farrier of 10 years has retired :-( and yesterday I had my first trim with the new farrier. In his paper add he sounds very good he has been studing in america for 14 years the balance of hooves through the use of MRI and digital radiograph and shoe performance and polo horses at the highest level. So please give any opinions on how correct they are trimmed. My old farrier used to leave them a bit longer so to me they look a bit short but I am only comparing them to my old farriers work (which was a bit different). I went for a ride today and he seemed to be tiptoeing over some spots more than usual. I have had him shod for 8 years but for the last 2 years he has been with no shoes due to contracted heels. He has always been a bit tender without shoes but today it really showed. Please help as I am currenly a bit unhappy.
I think they look good. Nothing to be unhappy about in the least IMHO.
I think your old farrier might have used a "pasture trim"? (Pretty much the same length and shape of a shod hoof) It looks that way to me because of the white line stretching in the first pic. That area where there is a little "trench" around the sole, that is what I am talking about. This can be corrected through a good trim over time...
A barefoot trim or "natural" trim does look shorter because it causes the hoof to rely on its natural weight bearing surfaces rather than its walls for support.
He is probably a little tender because he is experiencing pressure to new areas of his hoof that he has not felt because of the longer walls of his previous trim work. Just give him a little bit of time to get used to it. Btw, Do you have any "before" pics?
A good site for you to read up on and compare to would be Barefoot for Soundness
here you can read about white line stretching and also see some pictures of good barefoot trims and find links to other sites where you can become a more informed( and therefore happier) barefooted horse owner. Good Luck, they look good!
Many thanks Honeysug, what you wrote makes a lot of sense. My old farrier was a bit old school and you hit the nail on the head. He would trim the same as if the hoof was shod or nonshod. He never trimmed the heal at all and the hoof wall was always longer and the bottom of the hoof never really touched the ground. (hope this makes sense). I do feel alot happier now that someone has explained it to me, So I thank you for that. Looks like my old farrier's work was not really correct. No I dont have a before photo I wish I did, to show you. You can kinda see how long they are if you have a look in my photo album of him. Do I give him a break from riding for a week so he gets used to his new cut of hooves or is it ok to keep riding him every few days. Thanks in advance :lol:
No prob, I went through the same worries when my horses first went barefoot.
Yup, old school "box" trim, and you are correct, for a barefoot horse this is not a correct way to trim. I'm not saying he was trying to lame your horse, most farriers are just farriers, they have no training in proper barefoot trimming so they trim like they would for fitting a shoe.
You can give him a break if you want (but make sure he still gets plenty of excersise by hand walking or lunging), or buy a pair of boots for him (if you can afford it), or you can just keep riding (maybe a little lighter for a bit though). No option is the wrong way here...
IMO The best way to get those feet toughened up is a little light riding. You should be able to tell when he has had enough and gets too ouchy(of course boots can be a huge help here if you want to keep your normal riding schedule up).
It is really up to you though.
Please don't hesitate to ask any questiones you might have, that is what this forum is here for! :)
I too think it looks like a pretty good job. He also appears to have pretty nice feet, with only some minor issues.
His frogs look healthy. But especially given he had overgrown, contracted heels, I *possibly* would have left heels a little longer for the time being, reduced them gradually, depending on how his digital cushions were developing & the terrain he works on. It's hard to tell from just those pics, but I would have possibly given him a bit stronger 'mustang roll' right around and, given the bit of possible separation at the quarters, would also have shortened them a little further.
Tippy toeing, or toe first impacts are a problem, as not only does it mean the horse is uncomfortable but he isn't using his feet properly. won't be building the back of his hoof up. He will also obviously be putting more stress on his toes, and compromising the ability of his joints & tendons to cope with the impact. This is why, IMO, the 'correctly balanced' hoof, trimmed to perfect proportions, may not be the best in all situations, especially in a hoof that wasn't strong to begin with. It's better sometimes to leave heels a tad long, in favour of comfort, so they can comfortably make those heel first impacts and improve hoof function & strength first.
Also in order to ensure comfort & correct hoof function, which it sounds like he could have benefitted from from the start, hoof boots or such are probably a good idea, for those surfaces that he's still sensitive to.
In addition to barefoothorse.com, hoofrehab.com is a great resource with heaps of info & links that will help you make light of the principles behind good hoofcare & management. There are heaps more good sites, along with clinics, books & DVDs, if/when you want to get even more into it. I encourage you to do as much study into it as you can, in order to do the best for your horse & make informed decisions about his care. Don't just leave it to taking the word of 'experts'. At least learn enough to have an idea of which 'experts' to listen to, as different opinions abound.
Many thanks for your help Honeysuga & loosie. I will do heaps of reading and research before my next farrier appointment.
I have been doing plenty of research on boots and would love a pair, but have stalled for a little due to the task of measuring the hoof to the shoes so buy the correct size for Blaze. All the boot companies don't refund or change the sizes and I can't really afford 2 sets of boots. I am usually very proactive with my horses health and have in the past noticed very small complaints before they have become a major problem, but understanding his hooves has always been a struggle for me as they are so complexed and I have relied on the farrier. I have made a pact with myself that I will keep reading until I understand. Thanks again guys. :lol:
Actually the hoof looks really nice. I used to study barefoot trimming when I just got my horses, and it looks very much alike known barefoot trim farriers.
I don't blame ya with the boots that's a lot of money to risk getting it wrong. One thing that could make it easier would be to place the hoof on a piece of white paper then trace around it. That way you don't have to worry about holding him still while you measure...
I am glad you are such a proactive horse owner, and I'm sure your horse doesn't mind it too much either hehe.
Also don't discount secondhand, if you know what you need. Ebay & various online ads, as well as conventional places have boots. I've even heard of tack stores hiring them in UK. There's a good market for secondhand, so you can also sell yours on if/when you don't need them.
Just a quick hint for trying on boots..put a plastic shopping bag over your hoof in question, slip the boot on, and put a second on over the entire boot/hoof and hold with duct tape. Walk the horses around on soft grass/sand, etc, and then see if the boot can be twisted or turned while tightened up. If there's no play, and the foot isn't overflowing in the boot, then you have the right fit. The plastic bags will help with dirt/scuffing ( you can even put duct tape across the sole, over the plastic bag if you only have gravel or concrete that will quickly chew up a plastic bag or a roll of vet wrap over the boot (not to hold the boot on, just to protect the bottom). Then when you take the boot off, the plastic bag will have kept he dirt off the boot..it's a bit clumsy, and don't do it if your horse is super afraid of plastic bag monsters, but it does save you some clean up or light damage. When ordering the boots, ask if they can be exhcanged if they are still in new condition for the proper size.
EasyCare has a great policy if you can get the boots cleaned back up, and Loosie is right about finding used ones. I, myself, buy back and re-sell used boots for my clients as their horses feet change sizes or they don't need them anymore.
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