Monday, November 30, 2009

For want of a horseshoe nail

For want of a nail the shoe was lost
For want of a shoe the horse was lost
For want of a horse the rider was lost
For want of a rider the battle was lost
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail

Too bad they weren’t aware of what a healthy, perfectly trimmed barefoot hoof can accomplish. A win for the hoof, a win for the horse, a win for the rider, a win for the battle, and a win for the kingdom.

But most importantly it's a win for the horse!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Hoof Watchers

I had to share this comment! It's such a great topic. And my reponse was getting so long I had to post it. Thanks Desiree!

Hi Pat, I live up in Port Townsend. I do CMO rides so we go over lots of different ground. I do the trimming on my horses. It's interesting (scary) to be in a large group of horses and look at all of the different feet that they have to live with. I find that the feet are the first thing that I look at when I meet a horse for the first time! LOL!! Any updates on Whiskey? Desiree.


That's funny about the feet. I think we all get that way when we start working on our own horses. We spend so much time scrutinizing our own horses feet asking ourselves, "Is that angle getting better?" or "Is the foot coming down on the medial or lateral side or on the toe first?"

So as we really start seeing wonderfully healthy feet on our own horses, we can't help but look at others and wonder why their owner can't see everything that is way off.

One day after I had just gotten done trimming the hooves of one of my clients at a big beautiful boarding facility I was sitting in my car putting away my calendar and reshuffling the mountains of stuff on my front seat. (Stuff that flies onto the floor every time I have to make a quick stop. Drives me nuts!)

A horse came walking toward me being led by an attractive young woman in her twenties. Her horse was slender and black and beautiful. I looked down at the horses feet. Not intentionally, just that my eyes were drawn to them, just like the eyes of passers-by are drawn to my husband’s prosthetic hand.

Disbelief at first and I just settled on the horse’s hooves and watched her walk by. It was a little like watching a person walking in swim fins, but not as exaggerated. The heels were very underrun and the toes incredibly long.

Her poor mare’s hooves reminded me of glam finger nails that I sometimes see on people. Fingernails beautiful contoured and painted, but crazy long and causing their fingers to be nearly useless.

I think this owner was feeling proud of herself, walking past a barefoot trimmer with her barefoot horse.

Okay, I'm aware that there are some wild bands of horses who grow very long toes and very effectively use those toes to dig through snow, sand, dirt in search for the sparce food in their environment, but this would not be the case at a fancy boarding stable.

I wanted so badly to get out of my car and stop her and tell her what I saw about her horse’s hooves that could be corrected to make her horse so much more comfortable.

It is possible that the owner was trimming her horse herself. If so, bravo to her! I really think it’s great when owners get involved with their horse’s feet. If she pays someone for the service, I had to ask myself, how could a hoof care professional do that to a horse and not know it was really harmful and even dangerous, especially when she was riding her horse.

Horse’s trip and fall and roll over riders when their feet aren’t functioning properly. I believe that is why Linda Parelli recently took a bad spill on her horse Remmer. I bet she never even considered it might be his feet. His feet were the first thing I thought of when I heard about the accident.

It’s kind of like have bad tires on your car and expecting it to get you safely around. It can most of the time, but at some point…well, people have gotten killed.

And even more recently Remmer has abscessed and had to sit out their trip to the UK. Linda sounded okay with giving her lovely horse a break and she was happy that in a few days, the abscess would rupture and he would be good as new.

That tells me that neither she, nor her “genius farrier” understands the cycle of abscesses.  Or that separation in the white line of the hoofwall and/or bars is the cause of abscessing.  And there should really be no separation in Remmer's feet since he's been under the care of a genius farrier for awhile now.

Of all the horses I know, I feel so sad for that horse. He’s has an owner who loves him with every fiber of her being and would do anything for him no matter what the cost.  Sadly he has some of the worst hoof care money can buy.

What can you do though? I never stopped the gal with the horse who had the super long toes to offer advice. I figured it would likely fall on deaf ears. People are not ready to hear it until they are ready to hear it.

Thanks for the comment Desiree. Wisky is doing as best that she can. Her hooves are really improving and she has a great trimmer working on her at home and we are constantly brainstorming on ways to keep her comfortable while she is growing new hoof capsules. I learned a lot from working on her. So I’ll always owe her that.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Horse Poem by Jessica

This is a lovely poem my young niece wrote and her mom sent to me. I had to share with you.

A lonely barn
On a warm, cloudy day
Right before the sun sets
Stomping hooves
Wind flying through my hair
Running horses
The beautiful animals
I ride in the wind
I play with the horses
On a lonely weekend
I will be happy

Thank you Jessica!  You look great on Pearl.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

I've Been Polled!

Well, no one has ever accused me of being opinionated.

That's not true.  Really a few hundred people have accused me of that. Haw Haw!  It's true.

But here's another opinion of mine that probably won't matter much to anyone else, but it might.

I think we should band together and rise up and demand more informative horse magazines! If they are going to whittle the pages down in horse mags today, the information should be more user-necessary and less user-fluff.

Okay, let me back up a little bit.

I was just over on the Eclectic Horseman site where I ordered a DVD set called
Four Strands of Rawhide with Randy Rieman and Bill Dorrance.  Because I want to learn to braid Raitas (or Reatas) just like Bill Dorrance used to. That was the only website where I could find any instructional material with him.

On that site they have an ongoing poll where you can vote on different horse related topics. One of the poll questions really surprised me when it came up and the results REALLY surprised me!

In general, when your horses are in use do they go:

166 49.7%

shod all around
125 37.4%

shod on fronts
35 10.5%

in easyboots (or similar product)
8 2.4%

(334 voters)

I was so impressed with this site and the topics that I signed up for their magazine.  Which is what got me on this topic!

Over the years I've subscribed to many of national horse magazines or nag mags as some refer to them. Equus, Horse & Rider, Horse Illustrated, Dressage Today.  I love to keep abreast of everything horse related.  (I don't do any dressage riding, yet.  But you know, someday maybe.  And my dressage horse is a beauty!  He just doesn't know he's a dressage horse, yet.  But you know, someday maybe.)

My first poll question:

Have you noticed lately that horse magazines have been shrinking?
a. Yes, but at least the prices haven't gone up as they have with everything else.
b. Nope, and don't care about this stupid poll question.
c. Get real!  The only thing that hasn't been shrinking is my waist line.

Once you pull-out all the extra subscription cards, what remains isn't much. A front and back cover and 10 pages of ads and 5 pages of articles. Okay that's a tiny bit exaggerated, but it's getting like that.

I think they should combine all those mags, Equus and H&R (which are printed by the same publisher anyway), along with a few others and create one new mag.

Would you subscribe? 
a. Yep
b. Nope
c. Maybe

I let all my subscriptions drop (as did many others I'm assuming, which explains the reduction in pages) except two Equus and Horse Illustrated.

The next one I may drop will be Equus. That's because Horse Illustrated kind of is that magazine that combines all topics and I don't see as many really lame trainers in that one as I have in the others.

So in Equus recently I came across this picture. The article is titled Hoof Supplements on page 27 of edition number 387.

I looked at that photo and was instantly upset.  Someone has once again cut into a healthy frog!  Dang it! 

That same person cut into live sole!  Do you know that the hoof reacts to this assault as an injury because that's what it is?!  That's a fact, not a poll question.

But this hoof is ready for a shoe.  It needs the protection of a shoe now because every bit of protection that it's been busy growing over the past 8 weeks has just been hacked out of it.

One thing about this picture is that you can clearly distinguish the white line ( that yellow line around the outside of the sole) and the waterline just to the outside of the white (yellow) line. Then nail holes and outer (or pigmented) wall.  Sometimes the waterline is referred to as the unpigmented wall.

If your horse should start limping right after being shod, usually that's because of what is referred to as a "hot nail."  The nail was driven into the sensitive laminae above the white (yellow) line.

What would I have done differently with this foot?

1. I would have left the protective outer layer on the frog so it could function normally.  I would not have opened it up to the horse's world of manure, urine, bacteria and most likely thrush which can and will damage that foot to the point where the horse would be mildly to seriously lame without shoes.  If this type of damage continues with every shoeing eventually that frog will just give up trying to heal itself.  Two more poll questions: Do you see shriveled up, atrophied frogs on your horse?  Do you know that frogs aren't really supposed to shed every year?  They only go through that cycle when they aren't healthy and they are attempting to self-repair.

2.  I would not have attacked the sole and hacked any of it out unless there was a layer of dead, flaky sole that was trying to exfoliate because it was ready.  Then I might help it, if that what the hoof seemed to be calling for.  I'd leave it alone if it didn't.  A hoof on natural maintenance trims usually needs nothing done to the frog, bars and sole.

3. I would NOT put a shoe back on this foot because I wouldn't have damaged to the point that will take weeks to repair itself. I would simply put the natural bevel around the wall and grow out those ugly nail holes and any flare.  After the hoofwall was able to repair itself and the holes were gone, I would have a healthy foot the horse could use without shoes.  Or if not, I could just pop a pair of Easyboot Gloves on the fronts and off I'd go.

I do all the time, still I hate to see these pictures in magazines.  I wish editors would educate themselves in fields that have passed them by. 

Two more poll questions:

Why is the white line termed the white line?
a. because calling it "the yellow line" made too much sense.
b. because calling it the distal laminar junction is too hard to remember.
c. because there are no blood vessels in the area of laminae that connects the wall to the sole, so it's white, rather than red as is the sensitive laminae, the area that connects the wall to the coffin bone.

Why is the water line termed the water line?
a. because that where the horse stores water in dry climates.
b. because it sounds almost as ridiculous as calling a yellow line a white line. 
c.  because that area of unpigmented wall is the most moist part of the wall drawing moisture from other areas of wall and is generally the area of wall that should come into contact with the ground first during a stride.

I have never seen those two questions answered in any nag mag anywhere. Have you?

I like my answers!

Well, I know I'm going to get some flake for both of those "c" answers though.  I always seem to illicit at least a couple "you're so dumb" response when I try to sound like I know what I'm talking about. Haw haw!

And what is your response to that Eclectic Horseman poll question?

Just curious!

Thanks for reading!


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Licensed Professionals!

So I just came across this list of professionals on the Washington State Dept of Licensing website who are required to be licensed to perform their job.

For the past few years now, I’ve felt that hoofcare professionals, anyone shoeing, trimming or administering repair of any sort, professionally, to the hooves of horses, should be licensed.

What I found interesting about this list is the how some of the professions who are required to be licensed  compare to hoof care professionals who are not required to be licensed.

It's nice for me that I'm involved in one of the few professions that doesn't require anything more than a business license, and that's not something many farriers require of themselves which resolves that whole tax paying deal, however I think that would be a smart requirement of us - as well as a way to help ensure that horseowners are offered some assurance that they are hiring a professional farrier who has a basic idea of what he/she is doing

Did you know that to be a professional taxidermist, you are required to be licensed?

It’s okay to use cutting tools on the hooves of live animals without a license, but not okay to cut into dead animals without one. Interesting? Well, morticians must be licensed and their profession involves the non-living.

Some of the professionals on the list that Washington State (and most other states) requires license for include: accountants, animal massage therapists, auctioneers, professional boxers, bulk commercial fertilizer distributers (Big BSers I guess) check cashers, crematories, egg handlers, explosives experts (I s’pose that one makes sense) recreational fishing and hunting requires a license, as well as game farming, interpreters, insurance agents, nursery owners, pest inspectors, plumbers, real estate agents, river outfitters, seed dealers, shellfish harvesters, shopkeepers, stock brokers, talkie tooters (not makin’ that up) timekeepers (for professional athletes – are you kidding me?) travel agents and professional wrestlers.

All those professionals need to be licensed, but those of us responsible for the horses ability to stay upright when needed, are NOT required to test for a pesky license!

That just blows my mind. 

Just an observation.


Sunday, November 1, 2009

Pond Bridge

These pictures might explain why our Barefoot Playfield is taking so long to complete.  Rich doesn't like to do projects that don't involve heavy equiptment.  Many thanks to our friends Jim and Don for all their help!  We have a ways go but it's going to be one heck of a bridge!