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Friday, May 3, 2013

In which I get trimming advice

Yesterday I sent some pictures of Farley's feet to renegade.  My plan is to use renegade strap ons at Tevis this year, so I want to make sure that her feet are trimmed as optimally as possible, since the "better" (ie closer to ideal) the hoof mechanics are, the better the performance of the boot. 

I want to be perfectly clear: I'm NOT taking a pigeon toed, contracted heel, crooked hoof creature and decreeing that it shall have "normal" mechanics.   I have a horse with nice normal feet without any major abnormalities.  Any significant imbalances in the hoof are more than likely caused by my trimming and can be corrected without causing lameness or harm to the horse.  

I am NOT a hoof care professional or trimmer.  A trimmer still looks at Farley's feet every 5-10 weeks (depending on whether I miss my appointment.....) and cleans them up for me - I'm especially concerned that my inexperience will result in a medial imbalance etc.  And, just because I can see something that needs to be addressed in Farley's hoof doesn't mean I know how to use my tools to fix it!

Digression: I see a lot of trimming jobs done by various people in a 2 hour radius from me because of my "Boots4Mel" business.  I would say that 50% of the trims are see are worse than what I do with Farley, and 50% of them are better.  Of those 50% that I think do a better job than me, there's only a fraction of them that I would actually trust to trim my horse for various reasons and I haven't seen anyone I would chose over my current trimmer.  I make a point of looking at the horse's foot before asking who trims so that I'm not biased, but every time I see a trim I really really like, it's by my trimmer :).

I have to admit that I'm a little self conscious about posting pictures of Farley's feet.  I'm not sure why - I KNOW I'm not a professional.  I KNOW that I don't do a perfect job.  And I KNOW that there are a lot of people out there who can give good advice.  I'm not trying to pass myself off as the best trimmer in the horse.

I think some of it is this:
1. A fraction of the advice I'm going to get is really good advice that should actually be implemented.
2. Most of the advice is going to come from people like me - who may be able to see the abnormality, but don't necessarily know how to correct it.
3. Some of the advice is going to wrong. 

Here's the problem: I'm not knowledgeable enough yet to sort through which advice falls into category 1, 2, or 3.  I have to rely more on knowing WHO the advice is coming from than WHAT they are actually saying.  There's only 2 reasons to post picture of Farley's feet. 
1. To show off and brag how good they look.  I'm totally not there yet - she's rock crunching sound but that doesn't mean that her feet are "show worthy" yet. 
2. To ask for advice.  And since we already established that there's only certain people I'm going to take advice from anyways - than if I want advice I should just ask them......

OK OK OK - get to the point you say. 

I sent pics of Farley's bare hooves.

I received a page of advice. 

I like to think of the advice as falling into 3 categories (because there is NOTHING better than a numbered list!!!!!!)

Category 1: Principles that I knew.....that I have apparently forgotten and needed to be reminded of (don't take sole off in the front quarter of the hoof!!!!!!!  even with the rasp!!!!!!!!! If the sole is that high, the walls don't need to be taken down!!!!!!!)
My reaction to this advice: *head to desk*

Category 2: Subtle things that I have a hard time seeing.....but that once pointed out I can see better and thus correct!!!  (things like the relative height of heels between feet, slight flare at the ground surface etc.)
My reaction to this advice: I can't WAIT to take a rasp to my pony feet and correct this!!!!!!  COOL!!!!!!!!!!

Category 3: Ummm.......things I haven't done out of pure laziness. In my email with the pictures I called the trim a "clean up" that was left " a bit rough". 

Translation: Doing a good mustang roll is a lot of work and so I just sort of rounded up the corners. 

Time for whiney-ness: But her feet are HARD, and doing a proper mustang roll makes me SWEAT. 

The email reiterated the importance of a proper mustang roll.

My reaction: &*&^^&%%^&(*)  I need new a new rasp.  That's the only explanation for why I have avoided doing a roll (and then tried to justify the lack of it, LOL)

I took this as a sign that I needed to visit an awesome farrier supply store that lives in Sac - "The Horseshoe Barn". 

Every farrier/trimmer in the area recommends the place, but it's never been convienent for me to stop in.  Yesterday I had a client visit for boots that took me right by the place so I stopped in. 

 It was GREAT.  Walls and walls of options and brands and supplies.  And very knowledgeable people that were able to give advice about which knife sharpener to get, and whether my current brand of rasp was good or whether I should switch. 

Friendly, knowledgeable and reasonably priced.  What more could I ask for?  Well, that this place wasn't on the OTHER side of Sac from where I live and travel, but that is probably asking for a bit much......
 I exited the building with a box of goodies.  :)  Can't wait to get started on those hooves!!!!!!


  1. Good choice on the SaveEdge rasp...that's my favorite. And a good reminder that I too need to replace my tools...#@$% desert hooves eat up a rasp like none other...

    Some good advice I got was, "If trimming seems harder than usual, it's probably time for a new rasp."

  2. I've been using save edge rasps for a couple of years and love them. I've strayed once and only once :-). The guy at the shop said there was no reason for me to switch. I didn't know save edge had so many different types of rasps!!!!!!! I was drooling over the loop knives. I've been naughty and using it for all sorts of things and now going to see if I can salvage it with my new sharpener. If I can't there's one I have my eye on.

  3. LOL! I've been going to Horseshoe Barn for a number of years, hadn't I told you about it?

    They are the only "local" place to get blacksmithing supplies like bags of coal.


  4. I use a "Ladies" rasp from the Star Ridge Company. The rasp is 12" instead of 14", which makes it lighter and more maneuverable. I have small hands, too, so this rasp makes installing a mustang roll quicker and easier than when I used the standard size.

  5. I mail ordered a rasp from them last fall (holy crap that means I got like 9 months out of it!) and they sent CANDY with the order! They rule, would buy from them again (except that I already picked up a new Save Edge when I went by my favorite feed store in Reno)


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