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Shoes mask weaknesses, barefoot highlights strengths

Saturday, 31 December 2016

Meet Julie, trimming in Suffolk and Norfolk

To introduce myself to those who don’t know me already - I’m Julie, one of Lucy’s newest Barefoot South Associates.  I’m based in Mid Suffolk and I’m offering trimming services in Suffolk and Norfolk, as well as parts of Essex and Cambridgeshire.

I’ve had two main passions for as long as I can remember, horses and dance.  The dance seeming to give me a true understanding of the balance, movement and grace that is seen in a fit, healthy horse.  I could also see that some of the horses I was working with didn’t have that same ease of movement as their wild counterparts but, at the time, I couldn’t figure out why.

Then I met Mr Thomas.  

If I’m honest, when I first bought Mr T he was a bit of a train wreck.  The words used in his description should have included; lame, navicular, sheared heels, can see where we’re going…

Try as I might I could not get him sound and, to cut a (very) long story short, I stumbled somewhat blindly into the world of the unshod horse.

After many wrong turns, frustrations and research I found Barefoot South and a place where I could learn about diet, exercise, environment and the barefoot trim without it all being a big secret.  It was a bit of a revelation.

I decided that I would train as a trimmer and from then, everything changed – after two years of studying I passed my exams, meeting both the expectations of Barefoot South and the requirements of the Equine Barefoot Care National Occupational Standards.

Having confirmed my status as a hoof geek (I’m always happy to expand on my geek credentials) I want to help owners to help their horses find their balance, movement and grace and go on to do fantastic things – whatever that might mean to them.

Oh, and Mr T?  He’s sound.

I can’t wait to see where this new journey takes me. 

To make an appointment with Julie contact Barefoot South click on this link to our contact form                   

Monday, 19 December 2016

Hoof cracks

Hoof cracks can be scary, but they don't need to be.

I'm not big on drama, it just gets in the way.  See the hoof crack below.

When I was called to this case, the hoof crack had been present for 9 years and if I understand correctly had been resistant to conventional wisdom/treatments.  The horse was persistently lame.  The crack originated from a field gate injury.

The first photo was 5 months ago.  You can see the crack runs from just below the coronary band to ground.  It is wide, deep and infected.  The toe is also long and the dorsal wall has a distinct dish.

The 'Hoof Fairy Wand'* was activated and the second photo is now; December.  The crack is growing out nicely.  There is a little gunk in the crack, but it is less than 2mm deep.  The horse is now sound to hack out.

Early July 2016 crack is deep and infected

Mid December 2016 crack is shallow and growing out.

* Sorry - the magic wand doesn't exist.  Working as a team we tweaked a few things and the owner has done an outstanding job.

Monday, 15 August 2016

Balance and trimming

Not all horses are able to self trim.  Maybe they don't do the miles, maybe their work load is inconsistent, maybe everything they do is on the squish.

It can all end in tears.  See the first foot, more or less self trimmed. Then look at the second and third photos.  The latter in particular via the wobbly event lines show just how 'out' the foot was.

Went from very lame to high mileage performance horse.  Not overnight obviously.


Education is the way forward

This horse was tripping and couldn't stand properly.  An easy fix.  Shame that it had to get this far.  Can you see what is wrong with the hoof capsule shape?

Monday, 23 May 2016

Toe Cracks

Do hooves with WLD, Abscesses, or Seedy Toe need shoes to be fixed?

This horse had them all and the post relates to a horse I saw several years back, but I never showed you the finished product.

Well here you go.  Before and after shots in pairs.

FYI - this was not achieved overnight and took frequent trim intervals.

View from front

Left hind at the beginning
Left hind at the finish

View from Side

Side view left hind beginning
Side view left hind finish

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Never say Never x3

A rare still moment
1 - This is a KWPN I first met aged about 5.  Diagnosed Navicular the prognosis was poor and the Vet School advised PTS or at most a year as a light hack on Bute.

He is now 11 and doing just fine.  A sugar sensitive Labrador x Shetland pony of a horse, he weighs in about 750kg, or 1653lb for folks from the US.  He stands at 17.2hh, or 178cm in his bare feet.

2 - The big news is that he can turn out in a herd of 14 on 30 acres of ex woodland.  Relatively poor ground on a stonking hill that suits him pretty well.

3 - He can also jump.  The horse it was rumoured couldn't jump, quite clearly can when sufficiently motivated...  He decided he wanted to come in and the gate was shut, so he jumped the fence, uphill and out of mud.  We found the foot prints.  Never say never!

Friday, 6 May 2016

High Heels are not a good thing

High Heeled Shuffle

This horse had been lame on/off for two years.  The list of issues
was lengthy.  Movement resembled an old man with a Zimmer frame.

Compare the heel height in photo 1 with the good foot in photo 2.  You can see the likely consequences for the pedal bone of the hoof in photo 1, even without an x-ray.

The high heel was added to with a further wedge. Note the event lines and rasped out toe.

1 Compare the heel height with that of the photo 2 below
2 Dissection of an excellent hoof, note hairline at heel

3 Heel is the narrowest point of foot.  (incorrect)

4 Sheared and contracted heel, note excessive
 heel height

The shuffling horse became something of a tank on overdrive when shoes were removed.  Ridden work commenced earlier than usual in the rehab process because the horse was so strong in hand.

The photos below are just 7 weeks post de-shoe - change can happen fast in the right circumstances.  The owner has worked hard to achieve this. 
5 Same foot, seven weeks post deshoe, note
decontraction already happening

3 months post de-shoe and the horse is moving really well. Thrush is still an issue - it had got so deep into the foot under the pads and up into the sheared heel.  But it is getting better.  Horse jumped out of his field a time or two, so obviously feeling well.  Congratulations to the owner for seeing this through and sticking with him.

6 No longer shuffling, hacking out several times a week
and jumping out of field (boots are overreach not hoof)

About Me

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Southern England, United Kingdom