Thursday, March 31, 2016


It hit me today that Rock always goes lame right before a farrier appointment.  That means it is happening every 8 weeks.  The causes are not consistent, though.  Sometimes he's tender from thrush, sometimes he has a hoof abscess, sometimes Gabbrielle kicks him in the leg or shoulder, and sometimes he injures the leg himself by kicking out or doing some crazy maneuver.

I was just thinking yesterday that the decomposed granite we laid down in the barn must be doing a good job keeping their hooves dry, because he hasn't gone lame yet, and he has a farrier appointment tomorrow.  Then this morning I walked outside to find him favoring his right hind.  I didn't say anything to the farrier, because I wanted to know if he'd pick up on it.  It was very subtle.

Sure enough, the farrier said that he's tender on his right hind because he had a little bit of thrush up deep inside his hoof.  It only sprinkled for a little bit over the past couple of days -- not even enough to wet the ground for more than a few minutes, and I've  been cleaning up manure all day, every day, so I have no idea how to prevent this thrush problem beyond picking out his hooves and pouring thrush treatment on them every day whether he has thrush or not.

The decomposed granite has been great on their hooves as far as hardening them up and polishing them, but that's about it.  The hardening resulted in my farrier having to replace his rasp.  He didn't complain, though, like some of my other farriers in the past would have.  I've actually had some farriers insist that I have the horses stand in water or that I put ointment on their hooves to soften them up before they come for an appointment, because their hooves were ruining their tools.

The decomposed granite is starting to cause dust and respiratory problems for Lostine.  I don't think I will use it again for the stalls, but I don't want to use sand either.  I've had several people suggest using pea gravel, but I worry that it's not soft enough for them to lie on.  Does anyone use pea gravel in their stalls?  What do you think of it?

Rock demonstrated his solidness once again.  The farrier trims the horses' hooves while sitting on a stool, and he prefers not to have me hold the horse.  He's gotten comfortable enough with my horses to not even put a halter on them and tie them while he works on their hooves.  Rock had a barrel filled with hay right in front of him, yet he held perfectly still while the farrier trimmed his front hooves.  Then the farrier went to sit on his stool, and the stool shot out from underneath him, tipped over, spilling the metal tools, and the farrier fell right at Rock's feet.

It could have been a bad situation, because the farrier was lying on the ground between the horse and the stall railing with no escape if the horse spun around to run and stepped on him.  Rock just raised his head up a little bit, but stood solid and waited for the farrier to get up and pick his stool and tools.  I was so glad that didn't happen with any other horse, because the outcome might not have been as good.

Because Rock was tender on his right hind foot, I did have to put the halter on him and hold him when the farrier trimmed his back feet.  Rock was quite upset, throwing his head around.  I probably should have given him some pain killer as soon as I noticed him favoring the hoof.

Bombay and Lostine were champs.  They pretty much slept during their pedicures, but Gabbrielle was total pill.  I gave her two scoops of Mare Magic and they didn't do anything to improve her sassy mood.  The farrier had to put in a lot of time just working on getting her to relax her legs and let him set the hooves gently on the ground.  The farrier was groaning in pain from all the strength he had to use to get the job done.  Gabbrielle is so moody.  I just never know which mare I'm going to get.


Linda said...

That is so weird about the thrush when your area is extremely dry. I don't get it. And, I've never heard of a farrier sitting on a stool while trimming. Glad he's okay! Do you think it would help if he had an every 7 week trim?

Ian H said...

Having some experience as a farrier, I would consider shortening his trim time to 7 weeks. A also don't know of any farrier that would risk his life by sitting on a stool. I would ask him to show me proof of workman insurance, or other liability protection. If not, I would look for another farrier! FWIW

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

He sits on a stool because he has a bad back. Rock needs to be trimmed every 7 weeks, Gabbrielle and Lostine need to be trimmed every 9 weeks, and Bombay can go for 12. I picked 8 for everyone in hopes of having a happy medium. I'd rather trim Rock myself than to have that many appointments.