May 31, 2006 - Day 11
Tonka got his front feet trimmed! Wow, what a boy. My farrier said he remembered him from the adoption, he'd been looking at them too. He even remembered how old he was, or maybe he could tell by just looking at him. He said he has good feet, and he's going to grow into a nice looking horse. I knew that, but I love hearing nice things about my horses from others who are knowledgable about them. I'm a proud mama! Anyway, he wasn't totally perfect for the farrier of course. But he did really well. I had never brought his foot around between my legs because I'm pretty awkward at doing that. He acted like he'd done it lots of times before. Tonka didn't react badly to the hoof knife at all. The nippers were harder for him, but he didn't react right away. I think he took it for a few minutes and then suddenly it was too much and he hopped sideways away. The "clip clip" noise bothered him I think. And the handles knock together. But he got through it, and nobody got hurt. The first foot was on his good side and I think he only took it away once. The other side wasn't so good. That boy can hop! It isn't a totally finished job, but he got the wall balanced laterally, and one of the frogs needed balancing as well because it was a bit skewed from the wall being all wrong. He didn't do a finishing roll with the rasp, it was getting to be a bit too much I think, and we wanted to keep it positive.
For better future trims, my farrier suggested using a soft rope to work on bringing the foot forward, since Tonka isn't comfortable with that yet. I'd been thinking about doing that but he was doing really well for me so I thought I didn't need to. I think someone else asking him to do it changed things. I also have nippers from when I used to trim, so I might just go out and pretend to trim him, or even just show them to him periodically and make noise with them. The farrier said he thought he did pretty well this time.
Just as a side note, not specifically about Tonka or mustangs: I don't shoe my horses. I do use a farrier, but just for trims. I looked for a natural or barefoot trimmer but there's only one I know of in my area and he doesn't show up when he's supposed to, and I don't think he's accepting new clients. I found Sam, my current farrier, almost a year ago, and I'm pretty happy with what he does. And with how he treats the critters. He'd be well within his rights to get irritable with some of the stuff the horses throw at him, and he stays cheerful.
Back to the barefoot thing, I highly suggest that you check into it. Even if you still plan on shoeing your horses, the information available through the barefoot practitioner's websites is phenomenal. I know so much more now about the hoof, how it functions, why, and what it should look like. I plan on using boots for my horses that are ouchy in certain situations, but I will not use shoes. My farrier also uses boots on his horses! That says a lot to me.
So, if you want to check the info out, here are some places to look: http://www.barefoothorse.com/ http://www.ironfreehoof.com/index.htm (the previous is one of my very favorites) http://www.barehoof.com/ http://www.thehorseshoof.com/ http://balancedhorse.com/ http://www.naturalhorsetrim.com/ http://www.hoofrehab.com/ (Pete Ramey is in my opinion one of the best.) http://www.hopeforsoundness.com/
Now, I must caution you to use your own good judgement on what is right for your horse. I personally do not like the Strasser methods and avoid a lot of their stuff, but I like to pick and choose what I like, and what works for my horses may not work for everyone else's. It's also not all about the trim, it's about environment and exercise etc. But worth looking into for the benefit of your horse.