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Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Yesterday I decided to trim Farley in preparation for the ride this weekend. I started digging with my hoof knife and hoof pick and discovered loose, dead sole. A LOT of loose, dead sole. So much sole fell away under my hoof pick that the foot was begging me to take off ~1/4” of heel from the high/clubby LF foot! (the "true" seat of the corn or whatever now exposed....) The hinds did the same thing, to a lesser degree. Once I took the heels down to the newly exposed sole, like magic the frogs appeared in their rightful spots, the bars stood up straight and behaved themselves, and a tight white line emerged from underneath all that retained sole. The angles of the fronts are much closer now and the right front doesn’t look so “weird” to me anymore.

Invariably, after a long period of Farley’s hooves not changing in any visible way, I start to think – “who am I, that I’m messing around with Farley’s hooves????” The angles look all wrong, there’s dirt in the white line, and I’m left wondering what I’m screwing up.

Then, ALWAYS, something magical happens. Her hooves will DO something. And it re-validates everything I’m doing with her hooves.

A week ago the farrier was a no-show and so I had to pull on my big girl panties and trim Farley’s hooves – something I do not like doing if I’ve left them for more than a couple of weeks. I’d much rather have a farrier trim her, and then maintain the trim weekly, than to try and trim her after letting it go for 3 or 4 weeks. I was VERY pleased to see big chunks of sole coming out of her hinds and a tight white line emerging. Her frogs were in the process of shedding, which made me nervous because instead of a nice, developed frog, now it looked like a tiny little frog down in the depths of her foot……..

After the trim yesterday the frogs look just fine – there was so much retained sole that the FROGS were at the proper depth, not the sole/wall, but I couldn’t fix that until the sole decided to release.

I’ve been trimming Farley for a little over a year and it is so gratifying. I still lean on professional farriers, but in general I take responsibility for the health and condition of Farley’s hooves.

I’m learning that Farley’s hooves change with the season, which is very interesting.

I’ve learned not the rush the hoof – the sole will eventually be released when it is time, the frogs will shed when they need to – I just need to tidy up as necessary.

By sticking to some basic principles, even when I’m frustrated that nothing SEEMS to be happening, sooner or later it seems to work out.
  • Movement – keeping Farley moving daily over a variety of surfaces, at a variety of speeds keeps the foot in good working order.
  • Nutrition – continue to focus on reducing sugars where ever I can.
  • Address flares – Keep on eye on the quarters during the summer time.
  • Take down the heels – Take down the heels as the foot lets me. I usually go down as far as I can flake sole out. Then all go out a day or two later and see if any more sole has flaked out, allowing me to take them down even more.....I'm a wimp going down to the true seat of the corn or whatever it's called, if I can't get to it by flaking sole away easily which is why I have a farrier :)
  • Roll – don’t over do the mustang roll. I do a roll, but I don’t go crazy with it.
  • Trim – often. Every 1-2 weeks if she’s in work – work = hoof growth.
  • Balance – use the sole as my guide and listen to my farrier to identify my tendencies (right now, it’s to the leave the right side inside high).
  • Tidy up – Trim the bars to the sole, cut away flaps of frog, break away any flaking sole. This is my favorite part of the trim!

I wish that Farley’s hooves had waiting another week to undergo the latest development in the barefoot transition (is she still in transition????) as I have a RIDE this weekend, BUT the hoof decided it was time, so who am I to argue?

As always - I welcome suggestions and comments. I can ALWAYS use advice when it comes to trimming!

1 comment:

  1. re: your "tendancies"
    When I heard Blake Brown speak at the PNER conference last winter, he mentioned that he sees this kind of mild imbalance as a result of the farrier being right handed! Right-handed people are stronger on that side, so it's easy for them, especially on that side of the horse, to push just a little bit harder with the rasp on the outside edge, creating a slightly higher inside edge.



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