Thursday, November 14, 2013

Is it wrong to love horsey feet this much?

(That is a great question to ask random people, by the way. Particularly non-horsey, non-trimming people who will have no idea what you mean but will be seriously confused and/or creeped out)

Since I started trimming Sofie's feet back in March, I've gone through many phases as a DIY trimmer. At first, I tried to leave her with more wall and heel because she seemed to like it better than the classic barefoot trim. And she did like it (for some reason she loves having giant hoof walls and absolutely no sole and frog contact) but I did not love watching her feet degrade into wonky, flare-y messes (not to mention her frogs shriveled up to nothing without stimulation).

I have pictures from that stage, but I don't want to share them because yeccch.

So I changed tactics, and went back to more of a Ramey trim on her, although I do leave her with a bit more wall and heel than Ann used to. She just does not like having her heels taken all the way down for some reason. Her soles are plenty thick, and her frogs are nicely developed, but she lives on soft sand, so when she faces gravel or rocks, she wants a little bit of wall support. I don't blame her for that one.

Having absolutely no guidance, it was a bit of a challenge for me to figure out what I was doing with her feet. (I love it when people ask me "Oh, did you take a course or something to learn how to do that?" And I always give some lame answer back, like, "No, but I always paid attention to how she was being trimmed in the past". Like, basically, I'm a clueless idiot rasping away at my horse's feet for no reason whatsoever. Be afraid!) I compensated for that lack of leadership with a genuine interest and enthusiasm for horsey feet. I've always been a hoof nerd (taking your horse through hoof rehab and seeing hurting feet become rock crunching will do that to you) and I had been interested in learning to trim for a while. When it became a necessity, I went with it. I have a pretty good feel for it, and if I pay attention and make a thorough effort, I do a good job. But I still occasionally do dumb things like let her toes get too long, and then wonder why she's walking weird in front (of course my mind immediately jumped to "OMG she is developing arthritis in her KNEES now!" Uh, nope, you just left way too much fucking toe on your horse, so now she's landing toe first. Good guess, though. Extra points for the note of panic in your voice, too).

If I had access to a reliable, quality barefoot trimmer, I would not trim my own horse. But, I have come to enjoy it (it helps that summer is over. Everyone who trims probably agrees with me that summer is the worst time to do trimming. It's hard for your horse to even try to cooperate when they're covered in biting flies, ugh). It took a while, but I feel like I've finally reached a point where I'm competent, I'm consistent, and I'm doing the best thing possible for my horse. And, I've gotten faster, too. I just recently did a full trim in less than an hour. I appreciate quickness, and so does my horse, who is not exceptionally patient or cooperative when a trim drags on and on.

So, onto the pictures! We'll start with where we started from, Sofie when I bought her. Fucking. Neglect.

Anything's got to be better than this, right?

Left front.

Right front (I see the wonkiness with the bar on that one side, and I fixed it right after I looked at these pictures).

Fronts from the front! I think there's a bit of flare on those outer walls that I've been working on eliminating, but Ann saw these and didn't mention anything?

Left hind.

Right hind, the wonky hind, the one that always wants to veer off sideways and be all twisted. You can see it's not quite right, but it's stabilized at least. You can also see the ringbone on that leg! This is most definitely a case of body issues causing foot wonkiness. She just does not track straight or land straight, and the hoof grows awkwardly because of all the landing and twisting. If I take the inside wall down all the way and pretty much leave the outside wall alone, it balances as much as it's going to.

Hinds from the front. Even the wonky foot doesn't look terrible from this angle, and in the past, you could clearly see that it was all twisted.

I had Ann, my old trimmer take a look at these pictures the other day, and she had nothing but good things to say. It was extremely heartening, and nice to get a professional opinion. She's pretty outspoken if she doesn't approve of something, so I must not be doing a terrible job!

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