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Shoes mask weaknesses, barefoot highlights strengths

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Stretched white line and tales of the unexpected

Well yesterday was weird but kind of wonderful.

Here is a snapshot of the highlights:

Key note: Soaking hay - a pain, but not as much as when it can't be done, the happy sound lamis become unhappy footy lamis on the dry stuff.  This is very noticeable on the rounds today.

Deshod one horse, must have been in agony because most of the nails (6 per foot) were through the white line. Horse was a total gent throughout.  Oddly his fronts had been 'scalped' (toe wall rasped to white line and sole taken down to the quick) but his backs were mile high with chalk and excess wall.  Can't think of any justification for that.  I have to be honest the shoeing was pretty bad.  Big chap but the gap between the heels was left at not much more than an inch. No surprise his feet are massively contracted.

Big time lami still sound despite problems with hay, but the foot is showing the signs - not a lot to take off volume wise, but very important to keep on top of balance and roll for this one.

New horse (a) - badly stretched white line with loads of blood.  Lameness not immediately obvious because equally short on all four.  I didn't plan it, but while I am talking the owner through the feet and what I am seeing, I find myself getting pretty tough.  Probably tougher than usual.  I worry I have over done it and when I get a call today I am expecting a telling off.  Instead owner tells me they are onboard and are overhauling diet.  Haylage yet again is the key suspect. Very pleased for horse; total gent, the sort that gets kissy when they know you are trying to help and always does their best no matter how poorly they are.  Owner is great for taking hard news on the chin and putting her horse first.

New horse (b) - simple consult - as above; makes me wonder why existing hoof care provider for this horse hasn't said anything?

Regular client (RC1) - sore legs; getting better thanks to dedicated owner.  Still have to trim without touching his legs at all (trust me it's really tricky!) but we have reached an agreement - I will avoid touching his legs and he will do his best not to kick me.  It takes a while but he gets done and we both walk away sound :-)

RC2 - Big teaching session - ambition to get horse more or less self maintaining.  Horse is slightly tricky, but the owner is very capable and the right person for the job.

RC3 - Also teaching session - not just hooves, but lots to explore on diet.  Horse is in trouble, but hides it well before reaching a point where it is all just too much.  I see a lot of horses like this.  Unfortunately too many get blamed and then 'lumped' for what is really human error.  This owner is too smart for that kind of nonsense and is using her brain to help her horse, rather than a stick to beat it.  Gold stars for this one - we will get there.  Smashing horse, smashing owner *

Newbie - horse never known to be sound, walks like a clown.  Not really surprising, the poor thing is on stilts.  Horse is nervous but co-operative, doesn't have the muscle tone to handle too much, so we do enough to restore balance without being prissy.  Makes my (and the owner's) day when the horse walks off like a dead posh expensive show horse.  Get a text this morning reporting that horse is still smiling and is being very, very affectionate.  R-E-S-U-L-T :-)

* The wonderful thing about today - lots of tricky horses, but every owner/carer is determined to work in their horse's best interests, even if it means putting their own ambitions to one side for a while.  Big hugs and gold stars to all of them.

And why weird; ah well, I have to have some secrets :-)

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Southern England, United Kingdom