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.

1 comment:

sahara4d said...

Hoof watchers...I like it, need to put it on a t-shirt..."I'm a Hoof Watcher" That does seem to be an area of horse ownership that some people don't know much about. They just leave it all up to the farrier. I'm not saying that that is aways bad some shoeing is done well...low heel and such. Yes there is still a shoe on the foot but it's better that the high heels and long toes that I have seen. I wont even go into some of the major cracks that I have seen. I see it on barefoot hooves too just like the gal that you saw at that barn. I just keep my mouth closed unless someone asks me about my barefoot horses. Unless a person is ready to take on the commitment to transition their horses to barefoot no amount of talking will change their minds. O.K. this is getting too long, time to shutup. Desiree