Well, I'm almost on overload. Posting here and your comments have driven me back into reading again and more.
You didn't know what you were getting into mate!
He says that the healthy foot will have 3/4 inch from the hoof plane to the apex of the frog. Otherwise the sole will be thin. Apparently, the deeper the distance, the thicker the sole underneath. Hondo has about 1/4 inch.
Firstly, it's been a long time since I've looked at Ramey's stuff. I think there is a LOT of great info there, but as with everyone, some open to speculation. Just to clarify, it's the sulcus/groove at the apex of frog, not the frog itself, that 'should' be *somewhere around* 3/4" from ground surface *when horse is standing on hard, flat ground. I do think this is helpful to *consider*. This is an average, not an absolute, and some will be more or less, but perfectly healthy, thick soled, and some will be thin soled regardless of concavity, because there are other factors involved, such as stretched toes... IMO, just take note of sole depth indicators like that & be considerate of it in management. It may change a lot or a little... wouldn't be too concerned, so long as there is some depth there.
Not sure how much dead sole if any there is at that point so could be over 1/4 inch but not much.
sole may be 1/4" thick(hopefully at least) but generally speaking, it's highly unlikely there will be that much dead sole anywhere.
I'm thinking the distance from the hoof plane to the frog apex, or amount of concavity, is the thing I will monitor as progress, or not, toward becoming barefoot capable.
It's an indicator, not an absolute. Re 'barefoot capable' I think comfort, including good movement, heel first landings, etc, because horses are so stoic as to often not show obvious 'discomfort', is by far the most important indicator.
Ramey seems to say that the proper concavity tends to pull the toes back and the heels back to where they should be
Maybe my faulty memory, but I thought I remembered Ramey was in line with my thinking about that - that it's pretty much the opposite; bring toes & heels back into balance(with consideration for sole depth & extra support if needed), and 'concavity' & sole depth will follow. You can't trim to force concavity(well, you can, but...), and if you don't address long toes, that will stretch the sole thinner.
I may add frog pads to the boot just to get a little more frog action with the boots. But the frog is not above the hoof plane anymore
No, they look pretty good & not obviously needing added frog support. But brings to mind something I've put into practice since lessons with Dr Robert Bowker(well worth looking up, if you want more fascinating brain overload!
). He is, among so many other 'strings to his bow', a neurobiologist. He told us that because of stimulating nerves in the frog, you can place a terry towelling(rough) wash cloth under the foot of a 'sensitive on hard ground' horse and it will feel relief, even if it's seriously lame. (I don't think I was the only one in a room full of experienced trimmers to take that with a big chunk of rocksalt!) He also said he found a terry cloth, or something soft but rough under the frogs(& one reason he credits deep pea gravel as great for horses), provides much more stimulation/circulation, so can really improve health & strength of heels. Well, cynical or not, I've seen with my own eyes now, horses who are in terrible pain standing on concrete, who have been relieved with a terry towel!! And I have since used that stringy/pimply rubber matting they use in cars, glued in my boots in triangles for the frogs.
Ramey seems to believe that frog action alone is the most important thing to producing concavity which in turn brings the hoof wall back into form which means bringing the toe and heels back to where they belong. He seemed to say the dropping of the coffin bone is what actually pushes the toe forward and drags the heel with it.
I agree that the function/health of the caudal hoof is of extreme importance to the whole, but I don't think any one 'part' is exclusive, or should be considered so. IF that is what he said, I disagree. Depending on environment, exercise, horn health/strength, etc, walls will overgrow & deform, regardless of health of heels.
All this is based on my understanding of what I've read. But I do not always bat 100 in the understanding department.
Do any of us??
Our learning & perception is also affected by our prior learning & experiences, so we all take/remember/forget different 'lessons' from the same words
When we hit the rocky road he started looking for the powdery spots. When he missed or there were none he winced occasionally and said ouch! After about a mile I couldn't take it any longer and headed back for his boots.
That's great, that you're obviously attentive to how he's feeling. Next time, tie the boots to the saddle so you don't have to go back!
when I realized I would not know what to analyse. I don't know what he eats other than the bermuda grass. But they don't spend near all their day there. They leave and can be seen eating mesquite leaves and various high desert native weeds or whatever. Desert forage is usually pretty good stuff and unusually high in protein.
Sounds like he probably has a pretty reasonable diet! And if he is able to roam 100's of acres, chances are there are some different soil types/areas with different minerals too. In that sort of situation, I probably wouldn't get too excited about analysis & supps, unless there are health probs. You can get pasture/plant analysis done, if you can collect a 'cross section' of what he eats, or contact, as you mention, a local 'ag' person or such, who knows the local area. Or get blood or hair analysis for nutrition though.
So... now I've further overloaded you
, have fun in... sorting the wheat from the chaff & making sense of it all! I look forward to hearing your further adventures!