Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Horse Hooves

I've had growing concerns over my horse's feet over the past 6 months and I think my trimmers trim has changed. This summer, my horse's started to have hoof wall breakage on the sides and other things that are new and cause concern. I've been wanting to take over hoof care for my horses and a woman named Gail has come into my life who specializes in teaching people to trim themselves. How convenient! If you build it, they will come...

I met her today and we started with Z's feet. She had some compliments for Z's growth and function but the trim did not impress her. The biggest offense was the over grown bars. She's become heel high and developed a very upright hoof. I've been watching that develop and actually asked my trimmer about it recently. She also had sooo much flare on all 4 hooves and some wall separation starting on the front right.

I decided it was time to start taking this over and we did a trim on Z's feet together. They looked amazingly better at the end. It took a long damn time (2.5 hours) partly because Gail is focused on getting it right and partly because she was teaching me along the way. I was a little stressed missing work for that long, but it worked out ok. Z's frogs are very healthy and her hoof structure is strong. However, a few more months of unbalanced trims would start to take a toll.

She looked at Rain's feet and saw the same offenses, but additionally a less healthy frog. Rain's frog is actually looking a bit thrushy. Too much tissue is left on the frog, inviting bacteria. We did not look at Gemini together, but after Gail left I was able to take a look at his hooves with my new knowledge and see the same problems plus a little more on the hinds.

Now, I'll order my own tools (for now, rasp, knife, and nippers) and see what I can do under Gail's tutelage. I spend $150/month on hoof trims. That's $1800/year. Wow. I can gain some knowledge and pay Gail to spot check my work for much less. I think I'll spend a few hundred getting the right tools, but that's not a recurring cost. This has been a long time coming and I'm too smart of a woman to pay someone to make my horse's feet not functional.

To my trimmer's credit, she was great in the beginning. Over the 2 years, I've seen the trim change and this summer it got so noticeable that I had to take action. I've been defending her trims and having barefoot horses for 2 years.

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