Saturday, January 24, 2009

Don't let this happen to your horse.

As I was doing some research on laminitis, I came across a blog by a farrier. I was shocked by a couple pictures on his blog and had to comment. His description of this picture was that it something he sees frequently.

He was correcting something about this foot, I can't even remember now because I went into shock that he would actually do this to a hoof, on purpose, for ANY reason. And after gutting the hoof, he does nothing to actually correct its faults, like addressing that stretched white line (long toe.)

(Notice the black around the hoof wall. That is bruising from horse shoes.)

In my comment, I asked him if HE did THAT to that hoof? Then added: If so, it's no wonder he sees that sort of thing on hooves frequently.

He came back with with the most arrogant attitude of: "Yeah, I should have my head examined. huh." Then adding that he's only been a farrier for 18 years so you'd think he knew what he was doing.

Sadly, he does think he knows what he's doing, but I'm pretty sure he doesn't!

What he was doing is called "SURGERY."

Now hear this! No hoof care professional, be it horseshoer, farrier, nor natural hoofcare practitioner, whatever we call ourselves, have a license (or a right) to perform surgery on your horses!

Please remember that! We don't have a right to be cutting into the sole until we get to blood, ever, ever, ever! Nor should be be cutting into the corium of the frog. And if we do we need to be fired ON THE SPOT and a vet called in to clean up our mess!

How do you think a horse would fair to have a hoof cut into like that, then be sent back out to trod around in mud, manure and urine?

The problem with veterinarian logic when it comes to hooves is that when they discover a problem, often a farrier is called in to fix it. What isn't checked into is whether that farrier is qualified to fix the problem or make it worse. How does the vet know? How do you know?

Local farriers who are known in the community for having excellent shoeing skills, may not have the skills or the qualifications to treat laminitis, abscesses, navicular issues, pedal osteitis, canker, or the plethera of other issues that can go wrong with a hoof.

Many farriers have never even been to farrier school. They learned from Uncle Joe one summer because they got laid off from their job at the mill and need a way to earn a living. Seriously, there are a lot of those guys/gals out there. And I've heard certified "farriers" refer to them as "horseshoers" in a not so complimentary tone.

One of my customers asked her former shoer why he got into that profession, and his response was: "Strong back - weak mind." I'm sure he was joking, but...well, she's my customer now if that tells you anything.

Now if you are a farrier and you are taking offense at this, please don't. I named one of my pony's after the first farrier we had when I was a kid. Buster Silva. Buster learned from...well, his Uncle one summer when he needed to find a way to earn some money. But Buster was a wonderful horseshoer. He was timely, dependable and had a great horse-side manner. I saw him more than I saw my wayward father and I will always remember him as being kind to us kids when we had rode our horses shoes off and he knew we were paying for new shoes with our babysitting money.

Was Buster qualified to treat laminitis, abscessing, white line disease, navicular? No, I'm sure he wasn't. But we didn't have to deal with any of those issues 40 years ago like we do today. Why? More horses today I imagine, and sadly back then affording a vet was a luxury for most horse people, and a bullet was cheap.

(I think we see more hoof and metabolic issues today because we have too many pasture pets living on race horse diets.)

Another picture from that blog. What was he treating here? An abscess? The abscess wasn't painful enough I guess, so the hoof was cut out from under the horse.

This type of trimming is why THIS horse could never go barefoot. Had he NOT gauged out its sole, the horse might have stood a chance at healthy bare feet.

You bloody it - you buy it!


Mrs Mom said...

Holy Jumpin Jehosephat Pat.

That iron bending moron is a candidate for a rasp enema IMO. (Sorry. I get testy when Dear Husband and I are called in to fix issues like that and more, with our barefoot practice.)

Yeah. BIG rasp. Serious enema.

Mikey said...

OH I have so many comments!
First. I think the difference in farriers vs horseshoers lies in continuing education. Things we "knew" 20 yrs ago, science is proving different. Studies are done, new methods are tried. I believe if you deem yourself a professional, it's imperative that you continue to learn about your subject.

I am one who apprenticed for months. I believe that I had a good teacher who didn't let me do much except pull shoes and do finish on client horses. He said I could practice on my own horses and that was good. He also quizzed me on the "Principles" (back then it was the P2 book) at 6 a.m. every morning. I'd bring 6 shoes I'd tried to level the night before and he'd look at them, then throw them at me saying "NOT LEVEL" lol. He was a 30 yr veteran who believed in exactness. He was tough, and he made me cry at least once a week, lol. But you learn...

Blood. Oh my. I've cut a handful of horses over the years to blood. I admit it, and I knew when I did it I screwed up. I treated it immediately and told the owners. One was an old horse that the first swipe of the knife hit blood in the toe. She was already short and barefoot and even knowing that, I didn't expect to hit blood. I doctored it and went to my vet to find out what more I could do. I called the owners daily until the horse was sound again.
That said, right now I'm working for two vets. One comes from up north every year and works down here. She brings two horses. I shod for her last year. This year I went out to just look at her horses. I noticed one was wearing pads and I said "What's up with that?" Her eyes about popped out her head and she said "The last farrier that did her cut her to blood" THE VETS OWN HORSE (I would die!). Then, the farrier tried to play it off as the horse's "muscles are sore". The vet had him put pads on, but she was NOT HAPPY AT ALL. She's still very angry, and asked would I do them next week. Yes I will, and I will not cut them that short.
Personally I'd like the horse a touch longer, rather than a touch too short, ya know?? Too short leads to fractured coffin bones and such.
Also, do you ever get the owners who request their horse cut short? We get that every once in a while, the owner would rather have their horse lame for a week, so they can be trimmed in 3 months, instead of 2. Very frustrating. I refuse to do it. Get someone else, not me.
Good post as always. Lots to think about. Tell people, if your farrier regularly cuts your horse to blood, GET A NEW ONE!!! GAH!!
I mean, do you cut your children's nails to blood every time?? I treat all client horses like they are my personal children.

Latigo Liz said...

Utterly speechless.

Jeanne said...

OMG, that's horrible.

What is it Pat Parelli always says? Something like "it doesn't matter if you have 20 years of experience if it's 20 years of bad experience"? I can never remember exactly how he phrases it, but you get my meaning. So the farrier had two decades of experience; if it was the wrong kind... Ugh. said...

oh wow, that is so ugly! At an endurance ride recently I spoke with a long time endurance rider (one who has ridden more miles than I have, and I have a lot) who also shoes his own horses. He just recently took some new classes and said something to the effect of "everything I thought I knew was wrong about shoeing horses", and went on to say how much he had backwards, or just plain wrong. There is still so much to learn - I'm always thinking of better ways to do things with my own horses so even if something is working that doesn't mean that there isn't a better way.

Rachel said...

How sickening the pictures are! I am sorry for the response you got.

I think sometimes people (not you) forget that it's not just a profession, but you are caring for and treating a living being.

I'm still learning, and am appalled at the people who think it's okay to do some of these things without training or experience.

I truly appreciated the extra time you spent with us today and I hope to learn more from you next time (without my 2-year old whining in my face...)

Natural Horse Resource said...

Thanks for such an excellent post. It's so important to show what is unacceptable as well as what we are striving for. Even if this helps just one horse it has done its job!

Btw your interview is proving very popular on our site - thanks again!

Cora said...

Unbelieveable!I feel sick, looking at that.

firecoach said...

How far I have come. When Cowboy was first diagnosed as having Laminitis at WSU, they had their farrier trim him. He took Cowboy's feet so far back that the wall was transparent. I thought that was necessary to help his feet stop hurting. To the point when I had a local trimmer trim him to blood. She was appalled but did it since that is what they did at WSU.
I have since found out that Cowboy is IR and have made great strides in helping him get better. I have a barefoot trimmer come out every 6 weeks or 4 depending on how he is doing. However, with all this snow we have had, he is not able to get out to walk and exercise. This has caused his toes to get a little long,and he is getting a little gimpy. So I had to have Bobbi Jo come out and trim him after just 2 weeks. She is coming out again in 2weeks to see how he is doing. Unfortunately my pea gravel is under a foot of snow and ice and I am not able to walk him in it. So I take him for a walk down the road when I get home in the dark.I will be glad when it starts getting lighter later.
I keep on thinking what can I feed him to make him better, but the only thing that really helps is exercise!

Pat said...

Insulin Resistant horses are challenging when trying to find the best diet for them, but it can be done and we can keep them active, healthy and productive for many years.

Isn't it odd that educated people would believe that the best way to cure a laminitic (laminae on fire) horse would be the cut away the only protection that the coffin bone has between it and the ground? The sole. Why does that make sense to them? And down to the solar papillae no les - the only connective tissue between the sole and the coffin bone.

It just boggles my mind. And if you look at those pictures, the entire outer frog, the protective layer is completely cut away. That would be just like cutting the outer layer of skin off the bottom of your feet and sending you outside to heal. You will likely heal (if you don't succumb to infection), and in that time frame, there is a good chance that oher complications (laminitis for the horse) will take care of itself as well, so it appears that the treatment is the cure.

Very difficult for me to comprehend.

Rising Rainbow said...

both of these pics just make me cringe. OMG, the poor horses!

Pat said...

I've heard more from the Farrier who did this, referred to this manner of guaging out the sole from under the horse, as "reshaping" the sole. His keen instincts for the hoof have helped him determine how much reshaping he can do.


I asked what, if anything, he did to the hoof in the top picture after taking it. He put a shoe on it. He did nothing to address the long toe, which as far as I can see is the main problem with that hoof.

But his 18 years of hoof experience tell him what needs to be done.

I'm asking again, why do so many horses need shoes? Most often it's due to the manner in which the hooves are trimmed.