Saturday, September 29, 2007

Under the Horse Sneak Preview

Pete Ramey's New Natural Hoof Care Program

Here is a sneak preview of Pete Ramey's new 10 DVD program. It is a necessity for anyone who wants to learn to trim their own horses, and professionals with a desire to get better and learn more about natural hoof care. Buy it! Watch it! Loan it to your farrier and veterinarian! But make sure you get it back so you can watch it over and over again.

The sad truth is that the hooves are the most neglected and abused aspect of every horse's body. We owners will budget for fancy show equipment, expensive saddles, trailers, trucks, costly supplements, and grooming supplies. We spend millions on that stuff. But we sure don't like to spend money on, and really have the least knowledge about, the most important part of the horse. The hooves!

Without healthy hooves, we will not be riding our horses. Well, I have to take that back. Most horseowners are riding horses whose feet hurt to some degree. Most of us just don't recognize the problems our horses are living and performing with daily.

Every horse deserves for us to know this information and Pete does a spectactular job of delivering it.

The second most neglected, yet most important part of our horses is their teeth! Don't get me started on that...

Friday, September 28, 2007

Q&A Toewall Separation

Hi Pat:As I said in my phone call, our Arab/Quarter Horse mare, Zippy, hasdeveloped a stretched white line on her right front hoof. We have had heralmost 2 years and I have been trimming her for about a year and have neverseen this.We moved her about 2 months ago. She was in a mud free area that was partsand and part dirt. She was with another horse, so she moved around a fairamount. She spent the nights in a stall (large; 12 x 18) and had access tofree choice orchard grass hay. We moved her to a boarding facility muchcloser to our house which is dirt and weeds with a two sided shelter. Wescoop manure daily. She sometimes has another horse in with her, though notat present. Here she is fed alfalfa twice per day. When we bought Zippy, shewas in a very muddy paddock and not very clean stall and fed alfalfa twiceper day. Even at that she has always had good hooves.There is about a ½ "space between the white and water lines, with dirtpacked between. She had developed what looked like a hard ridge around theedge of the hoof underneath. I nipped this and it seemed to be dirt mixedwith horn, although it was too hard for me to scrape off with a hoof pick. This ridge reappeared 4-5 days after I nipped, but when I squeezed it withthe nippers again, Zippy seemed sensitive, so I left it alone. She is not lame (yet) and has no ridges or other abnormalities on the outside of thehoof. Any advice on how to deal with this would be greatly appreciated. TW
Hi TW,

I've seen what's in the pictures a few times and it does generally come on suddenly and usually tenderfootedness is associated with it.
There are a couple possible causes. One is acute lamintis - founder. Possibly caused by a sudden change in feed or sudden over-abundance in feed, spring grass or some form of mechanical founder rather than organic.
Correct whatever caused that incident and grow the hooves out and continue trimming.
Another possible cause is thrush. We think of thrush as being a stinky condition of the hoof which happens now and then during wet weather. But it's a fungal/ bacterial infection which can lead to a very painful condition that can degrade the hoof structures it attacts.
To know if it's thrush, press on her frog and her digital cushion and see if she responds with sensitivity. There might be some other cause of the heel pain, but generally, it's thrush. What happens is that the horse doesn't want to come down on his heel when pain from heel pressure is present, so they start impacting first on their toe and then on their heel. You can walk her around and really watch for how her hoof is landing. That toe first landing will disrupt the toewall/sole/lamelar juncture and cause the separation you're seeing.

Take care of the thrush or whatever is causing the heel pain (an abscess could also be the culprit) and get her landing on her heel again and the toe wall will again grow down tight and the separation will grow out.

Please don't treat it with chemicals, or anything you wouldn't be willing to gargle with, including bleach! There are so many caustic thrush remedies on the market. I use "gentle" iodine.

You might also want to take a look at your horse's diet and see if any improvements can be made. Let me know how it goes.


Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Trip to Pagosa Springs, Colorado

Pat Parelli sliding Magic to a stop right in front of us!

We got back last week from a wonderful trip to Pagosa Springs to attend the annual Parelli Conference! It was amazing! Astounding! Emotional! Motivational! I got a hug from Pat Parelli! (His idea, I didn't attack him, although I did consider it, but my husband was taking pictures:0)

We drove there and back and Rich did almost all the driving! Our only stop on the way there was in Moab, Utah where I got to see the Arches for the first time. Beautiful! We arrived in Pagosa Thursday evening and stayed in a wonderful room at the Hot Springs Hotel. Rich and I got to experience the Lobster Pot! Wow, I'll never eat another lobster. Poor things.

We left Pagosa at 5pm on Sunday and pulled into our driveway at 7pm the next evening. What a haul, but that is the 2nd time I've driven through Utah at night. You miss lots of pretty scenery when you do that.

They have a new program out that I recommend to anyone looking for a better relationship with their horse! Also they've partnered up with the Myler Bit Company and they came up with the coolest new bridle. A few were sold at the conference. We will test them out and reporting our findings and once they've worked out the bugs, they will be selling to the general public.

Well, off to work! Have a wonderful day!

Pat (Parelli) Wagner


Phil from Jeromesville, OH emailed this question to my website:

We have an older (mid 20’s) appaloosa that had been neglected and hasCushing’s. Recently she started to limp the veterinary found an abscess and wetreated by soaking in Epsom salt and an oral medicine for inflammation. When theveterinary was there the frog came out, she said it would grow back?It is now a couple of weeks later and she is limping again. We have startedsoaking and the oral medication per the veterinary’s instructions. We cannot see another abscess? Will the frog grow back? Is there more we can do to help her, we have heard about a soak boot and Epsomsalt poultice? What can we do for prevention?Do you have any recommendation on what we should feed her since she has Cushing’s? Thank you,Phil

Answer: (It's a long one!)

Thank you for contacting me and for trying to do what’s best for your horse. First to answer the question about the frog: Yes, it will grow back. It takes awhile sometimes depending on her current hoofcare. So I have some questions for you.

Is she barefoot? I’ll assume she is or you probably wouldn’t be contacting me. How often is she being trimmed?

She should be trimmed no less than every 5 weeks. And how is she being trimmed? If she is being trimmed by a horseshoer (pasture trimmed) it would be better for her hooves is she was being trimmed naturally.

Shedding of the frog is usually caused by thrush. Which can be very painful and mimic laminitis or abscess. Cleaning the hooves daily and spraying with "gentle" iodine can really help thrush. (note: stay away from the harsh chemical treatments found in the feed stores). For the abscess, your vet offered the correct prescription. And you may be seeing a recurrent limp because when there is one abscess hiding in a hoof, there is often more than one. Abscesses just have to run their course once they start causing pain (and sometimes swelling up the leg) and soaking them or using a poultice can help. You might also offer her some bute temporarily for the discomfort. You could ask your vet about that. Whenever I trim my horses, I spray the bottoms of their hooves with “gentle” iodine. That helps with thrush around the frog which as I mentioned, could possibly be part of your horse’s problem at this time since her frog has shed–thrush will cause that to happen, but spraying will also help toughen their soles and it helps with abscessing.

Another product I like to use that you can get off the internet or from your vet is called Equi-Phar MG-60. It’s a topical poultice by VEDCO. It’s 60% Epsom Salt and has Methyl Salicylate (a wintergreen liniment). I will use this to pack into the bottom of the hoof and then wrap with vet wrap and duct tape. If the horse is stalled it will stay on for awhile. If they’re on pasture, it usually doesn’t last long. It's a great liniment for other problems as well.

As far as the cushings goes. There are grains being manufactured now for horses that need to be on low NSC (non-structural carbohydrate) grains as Cushing's horses do. If you’re going to feed your horse grain, it’s imperative that they are on low NSC grain. One that I know of is made by LMF and that’s what it’s called. Low NSC grain. I’m not sure yet if Purina is manufacturing that or not, but I’m going to be checking into it. Also, the other thing about Cushings is that laminitis is often a symptom of cushings. So you’ll have to determine if your horse is suffering from abscesses or laminitis or both. But if it is laminitis, getting her on a diet of good quality grass hay and low NSC grain should help her symptoms. I’ve got several customers with Cushings horses and they are doing very well and are riding their horses, by keeping them on this diet, plus frequent natural trims. Also cushings horses cannot be put out on green pasture and very little alfalfa and NO ORCHARD GRASS.

Getting some boots for your horse, such as the Soft Ride hoof boots, will give her some comfort while she is going thru the healing process, but shouldn't be left on 24/7 because the hoof needs to be in use and getting lots of air. Boots can cause rubbing and soften the bottom of the hoof.

If you’re not using a natural hoofcare practitioner, you might check the American Hoof Association website and see if there is anyone in your area. I hope this helps you. Please let me know how she does. I’m always curious about the progress of horses I hear about no matter how far away they are. I wish you the best. Pat

Blogging again!

I haven't added any posts to my blog for awhile as it's taken some time to get past losing Dexter. I'm so glad he's no longer suffering, and I think of him whenever I'm out with my horses. He'll never be completely gone. One thing I often visualized him doing someday was running around the field, bucking and farting. I never got to see him doing that, so I think that his spirit is out there always running around my pastures maybe even bugging the other horses just because he can!

Okay, on another note! I frequently receive emails through my website with specific questions owners have about their horse's hooves. So I'm going to start posting those questions with my responses here and hopefully help many horses at the same time.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

When do you give up?

Eating with a friend.

I had been hopeful that when I said Good bye to Dex, it would be temporary, until I saw him for his next trim. His owner came to see him yesterday. The pain medicine he’d been on, bute, had been what was keeping him going and understandably she didn’t want to see him live out his life this way, nor did I.

What appeared to me to be an abscess that had broken out at his heel was becoming infected and there is a chance it could be the beginning of hoof slough. He seemed happy enough in his soft dirt field and we’d gotten the loafing cleaned and cushioned for him, but I was expecting too much from him. A lifetime of chronic laminitis cannot be cured in weeks, or months and maybe not at all. From the day he was born as a halter show horse, Dexter’s life was a recipe for founder. Like many horses before and after him, they don't see the results of what they're doing to pump up these babies into the Amazon yearlings to win the ribbons.

I called a company that hauls carcasses to the rendering plant. He also euthanizes animals in the most humane way possible, in my opinion. A single bullet.

Last night Dexter got to see a beautiful lightening storm and he felt his last warm summer shower. I fed him a dinner of sweet feed, oats and alfalfa. This morning his breakfast was the same, and he’s been grazing for hours. Sweet feed, oats and carrots for lunch. Now we are just waiting for the man to arrive to take his life and take away his body.

Because he is later than expected, I’ve had to reschedule a couple trimming appointments I had today to wait with Dexter. This isn't a fun way to spend the day before a trip to Pagosa Springs, Colorado, to spend the weekend at the Parelli Conference. I should be really excited about that, and I am, but I’m also very sad. I wish I could have done more for Dex. But in the words of a man who has seen lots of death, “if you are going to have animals, you are eventually going to have dead animals, and that’s just how it goes.”

Good bye Buddy. It was sure wonderful getting to know you. You’re an amazing horse.
Taking a load off.
New place to get out of the weather.
Grazing on his last day.
Go and be happy in horse heaven.