Friday, July 26, 2013

Another 8-Week Trim

My farrier has an eagle-eye when it comes to hoof health, and I hate to hear that anything is wrong with my horses' hooves, so I try to keep them clean with just the right amount of conditioning.  Sometimes he comes and says that my horses' hooves are too hard and dry, and they are ruining his tools.  Other times he comes and says that the gunk I put on the hooves to condition them is ruining his tools.  So, I've been trying to find the right number of days before an appointment to apply the conditioner so that it has been fully absorbed, yet the hooves are not dried out, by the time he uses his tools.  I guess I hit the nail on the head this time around because I didn't hear any complaints.  The sweet spot seems to be to apply conditioner 4 to 5 days before a trim.

In fact, he said that my three Arabs have had the best feet he's seen in the year he's been trimming them, which means that their hooves have successfully adapted to barefoot trims.  He also said that my horses had the cleanest, driest, healthiest hooves of any horses he has trimmed since monsoon season started.  He thinks all the sand in my arena is the main factor in that positive outcome.  He's been seeing a lot of cases of thrush and fungus and whatnot.  He suspects a lot of people have just been leaving their horses standing around in mud, urine and manure all day.  Between my husband, P.S. and I, we probably clean up manure 2 to 3 times a day.  As soon as a stall gets too wet from rain or urine, we close the gate and don't let horses stand in there.

Despite that good news, I'm a little worried about Rock's feet.  This is only his second barefoot trim, but the farrier found blood and bruising in his laminae, and you can even see blood lines in his white hoof walls.  When we got him, he was in shoes, he had long toes and practically no heel.  The farrier said it could take six months to a year for him to reshape Rock's hooves to be more upright and offer more support.  He doesn't believe in snipping all at once and causing pain, bleeding and tenderness.  He shapes the hooves in small increments and lets the horse get used to its new way of moving between trims.

He questioned me about the amount of alfalfa I had been feeding Rock, because that can cause more blood flow through the hooves and white line, but based on the way I feed, he didn't think that was the cause.  He thought it was more likely that if Rock had been kept in shoes his whole life, and is now barefoot, his hooves are starting to get blood flow where they did not have it before.  I could see that his hooves were tender, because he bobbed his head up and down a lot.  He was well behaved, but at the same time respectfully expressing his discomfort.  This means that if we ride him, we have to ride him in boots.  I think I will cut back on his alfalfa servings too just in case.

The other suggestion he brought up, which was for all the horses, was to use a flathead screwdriver to get dirt and rocks out from the white line so that they don't keep getting wedged up there deeper until the hoof wall chips off.

He also talked to me about Rock's breeding.  He wanted to know more about it.  He's very interested in line-back duns.  I explained that all I knew what that he was a grade Quarter Horse with some Paint.  That seemed to be the consensus between the seller and the vet.  The farrier pointed out that Rock has faint Zebra stripes on the backs of his legs, which are usually indicative of the Kiger Mustang.  I could definitely see some Mustang in him.  I don't mind a little Mustang at all.


Jennifer said...

Rock has head bobbing and pain when you ride?

Then stop riding. Boots don't eliminate the pain. Need proof?

Stab yourself in the foot a few times. Focus on your heels and foot pads. Then put on socks and shoes, and go for a run. Feet hurt? Yeah, I bet they will.

I read a lot here. I don't comment, but seeing how the horse is giving you indications he hurts, and your farrier is showing you why he hurts, a comment is necessary.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Jennifer - I see why you don't publicly display your profile. I was referring to him bobbing his head while he was being trimmed. We've probably only ridden the horse four times for no longer than 15 minutes on soft ground because we knew it takes 6 to 12 months for the hooves to toughen up once you start the barefoot trims. I'm not an idiot, but the people who previously trimmed his hooves off balance, cutting his heels down to nothing, leaving a long toe, and leaving shoes on him for way too long make me wonder.

Crystal said...

We pretty well leave our horses barefoot (except my cutting horse has front shoes) and after a trim we got one gelding who is always sore for a day or two after. iasked my farrier why and he said just a tender horse, so maybe he will just get better after toughening up a bit.

I had a reg qh gelding who had no mustand in him whatsoever and he was a red dun and he had tiger stripes too, so maybe not just mustangs have it

Katharine Swan said...

I always clean out the white line when I pick my horses' feet. For that very reason I prefer a hoof pick that tapers to more of a point, rather than the squared-off kind that is more common.

I agree with your farrier's slow approach to changes. My new farrier is the same way. I have heard transitioning a shod horse to barefoot can be a long and uncomfortable process, but it sounds like your farrier is doing good work and making good suggestions.

redhorse said...

Any time the environment goes from dry to wet or wet to dry, a horse's hoof has to adjust. That's when I usually see pink in my horse's hooves. It will take Rock a while to adjust completely to barefoot, but I've found that a coarse sand is the best thing for a horse's hoof. It cleans and polishes them, and doesn't stick like soil.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

I love a barefoot horse. It took Apache about 2 years of good barefoot trims, and 24/7 turnout on rocky hilly pasture before she had tough enough hooves to handle our rocky, rugged trail rides. Now she can ride over anything, including gravel roads without gimping at all.

My friend's mule has very exotic looking prominent zebra stripes across his legs. Probably comes from his donkey parentage.
Perhaps Rock is part donkey. lol!


Laughing Orca Ranch said...

There are a discussion about those stripes on FB tonight and I thought of you. Here's what was said:

"the primitive markings known as" dun factor" are called Agouti stripes. "Kiger" are a rare breed of mustang brought here by Spanish Conquistador's that carry the dun factor & color. All horses, domestic and wild, that carry "high" dun factor will also have the stripes on the outside of their ears as well as shoulder barring and heavy leg barring."


lytha said...

it was obvious to me that rock was bobbing his head during the trim, from NM's description.

a commenter making a blogger say "i'm not an idiot" - *shakes head sadly*

BrownEyed Cowgirl said...

LOL...Sorry was going to comment, but read Jennifer's comment and got to laughing so hard, I forgot what I was going to say...

Obviously the idiot is not you NM. ROFLMAO!!!