Sunday, 13 December 2009
To be a better trimmer I need to see a wider variety of cases. So I have taken myself off to Dallas to train with Jamie Jackson. He has updated his training programme and its much more intensive and rigorous than previously. Which is just as well because I know I have a lot to learn.
We are practising on a mix of cadavers and live horses. Although it is sad and sometimes unpleasant to think about the dead horses, I would rather make my mistakes on them than a live one. The fatal mistakes have already been made on the dead horses and sometimes the evidence is in their feet.
The pictures above show what could have been a good foot that over a relatively short time period could have been rehabilitated. It has bull nose and compacted soles from inappropriate foot care. The later pictures show the compacted sole coming out and what the foot looks like after one trim.
Tuesday, 8 December 2009
Sunday, 29 November 2009
Grace's feet in general look horrible (to me). But they are getting better. Decontracting, the corns have gone, the thrush is 90% gone and so is the fungal infection. The latter is problematic because of the extreme wet weather and a previously very damp bed (roof and walls leaked). But importantly Grace is getting happier on her pins. Her heel first landing is becoming more consistant and she is capable of more manoveres. (Things like turning on the forehand used to be impossible because of the pain in her feet.)
I am slightly dreading next season when I feel we are going to be really challenged on the diet front. But one step (literally) at a time. :-)
Sunday, 22 November 2009
Near fore, off fore, near hind, off hind - in order.
At last the heels in front are starting to decontract. It isn't something that should be forced, you have to listen to the foot, follow the live sole plane and let the foot take the time it needs to heal.
Forcing a foot can make the horse lame or take it in the wrong direction - trust the hoof to know what is needed. But of course, look after the gut to prevent laminitis and treat any foot infections as required. The aim with the trim is to only remove what natural wear would have taken off if the horse were living in an optimal environment with optimal exercise.
The heels on the fronts are arguably too long, but taking them any shorter would mean invading the live sole plane which is unacceptable. The owner has been briefed to look out for the sole turning chalky in the seat of corn area.
Madam has been an interesting case - because if you just looked at the outer hoof wall you'd think her feet were fabulous (and in many respects they are). But it has taken an age to get her feet to this stage and if you look at the undersides with a 'barefooters' perspective you can see that her feet can be better still. And we are not being totally aesthetic here - we are looking for function over form.
I suspect Madam's heel contraction is linked to her sugar intake. We had got them to partly decontract last winter, only to have them close right up again in the summer when she had an overload of sugar. It's something to keep an eye on.
Friday, 13 November 2009
The block of 4 photos above are of Grace's off (right) hind. Top two pictures are immediately after she was deshod, the second two pictures are some 8/9 weeks later.
Saturday, 7 November 2009
Barefeet are such effective barometers of a horse's health, I can't imagine wanting to shut that feedback down. I have a lot of sympathy for Madam's Mum (MM) - Madam must fall into the category of 'very hard to take barefoot' because she is so sensitive to sugar and simple starch. But MM is doing a great job in less than ideal circumstances and Madam is reaping the benefits.
The alternative would be a horse that is borderline laminitic all winter with full blown episodes in the spring/summer/Autumn - and if the evidence were covered up with shoes Madam could be in real trouble.
Bearing in mind how purple her feet were in the early days of our guardianship I am relieved that we caught her in time, albeit somewhat aggrieved that this sort of issue is not picked up by vettings. And that standard veterinary advice regarding laminitis is so fixated on dealing with the symptoms rather than the cause.
But let's stick to the positives. The finding we have is that it is entirely possible for a newish horse owner to successfully barefoot a challenging horse, if they are able to manage that horse's Diet, Environment, Exercise and Trim to suit. (DEET)
There is no doubt in my mind that Madam is better off because of her 'Mum's' efforts and that they are both a shining example of what can be achieved. (Especially now the linseed is doing it's work on Madam's coat!) :-)
Wednesday, 28 October 2009
I used to compete in Endurance. I liked the fact that my horsemanship was being tested. My aim was to complete the course with a horse that was in excellent condition and happy with their work.
Barefoot does that for me now. It tests my horsemanship. If I fail the results show in the feet. Much more quickly than they might elsewhere, and the marks on the hoof provide a timeline of my successes and failures.
Of course the rest of the horse is a reflection too. A poor coat, a rib showing that shouldn't be. But these are relatively easily managed and past successes and failures are not recorded. A good foot on a metabolic horse is more challenging.
Saturday, 24 October 2009
The first picture, which is far from perfect, shows a foot which is on its way to good concavity, nice thick sole, tight white line. Now an inappropriate diet has put paid to that.
The second photo shows bruising extending across most of the sole, which has lost a lot of concavity. You can also see the extensive flaring of the hoof wall. The third photo below shows just how much concavity there used to be.
Sunday, 9 August 2009
Madam works most days, over a variety of terrain including lots of rough stuff and roads, has lessons twice a week and does endurance. In just two weeks, despite all this work she had grown half a centimetre of foot.
If a horse is in good health and is worked correctly this amount of growth is typical and the more stimulation the foot gets, the more it grows. Wearing the feet out is the least of Madam's worries. If only her diet was as easy.
Friday, 31 July 2009
Friday, 17 July 2009
Wednesday, 24 June 2009
Monday, 15 June 2009
I have to be honest. I'd rather turn Madam out if we could. But our temporary accomodation has no grass free turnout, in fact the grazing is some of the lushest in the area. But although it must be a bit stressful for her, there is no denying she is doing well. The first two pictures show her today - I swear she knows just how good she looks :-)
The four sole pictures show the off fore on 24/01, 01/02, 15/02 and 15/06 this year.
From the end of January until some time in March our trimmer was out of action. You can see how the foot is flaring out and a thumping great thrush infection is taking hold. Although we CleanTraxed her feet, we did in the end have to trim out a fair bit of rotting tissue. The daily use of Sudocream seems to have done the trick.
In today's foot picture you may be able to see the development of some decent concavity, the flare is under control, the frog is bulking up and the heels are starting to decontract. My thumb is holding back the tip of the frog to show where it is starting to shed. Unless there is infection developing underneath we will let this shed naturally, as the frog underneath is immature and will need protecting. This foot needs a trim and I will post before and after pictures when it is done.