Thursday, August 13, 2009

Today my dad's horse had a farrier appointment so I watched a horse being shod for the first time. (My first time, not the horse's.) Neat stuff. This farrier used to trim my horses. He's a nice guy and a talker. We had some good conversation. Fun to talk shop with someone much more experienced than me, even if I don't agree with him on everything. Actually, I should say especially because we don't agree on everything. More fun to get some new info to chew on than to sit around saying "uh huh, yep" to each other. Some things he says I have to say "You might be right" because I just haven't seen it done but have heard about it (100 mile barefoot endurance races with no trouble), but other things I just don't see the same way. He didn't think it was safe to trot a barefoot horse on gravel. I do that all the time! But I have a horse with nice strong hooves. He also gave me some really cool new information. For every quarter of an inch that the breakover is too far forward it raises the strain on the hoof by 10%. Also, with the hoof mapping taught by Gene O (Natural Balance) this farrier located the coffin bone with accuracy within 1/16 of an inch when using radiographs to verify. These were studies they did at WSU. I'm still not 100% sold on the artificial breakover of a Natural Balance shoe, but it's fascinating stuff nonetheless. Except to my dad. He got bored listening to us talk. How could anyone be bored by a horse's hoof?!?! It's a fascinating, well-engineered design! When it works right, that is.

We talked a lot about how people have bred bad feet on western performance/show horses. Sad. He did tell me that I probably don't have to worry about Tonka going lame because of his crooked feet, since I don't use him all that hard and he has such strong big feet. Hope he's right on that.

My sister was pretty sick today, her third day after chemo and second day after getting the shot that makes her bone marrow start working again (the chemo shuts down the production of red blood cells). Lots of nausea and bone aches. She was able to take half a tranquilizer and finally get some sleep though. It's weird to sit there babysitting my sister...

I trimmed her new horse Rusty's hind feet today after her husband got home. She'd gotten his fronts done before her surgery. He has a pretty gooey case of thrush, so I'll probably take over something to treat that tomorrow. He's going to need some time and good nutrition to grow a better hoof. At his age they may be as good as they get. They don't look horrible by any means, and he doesn't seem sore, but they're not mustang feet. His front feet look nice and big from the top. I haven't looked underneath yet though. Next time I'm over there and not sure what to do with myself I'll probably trim Camria. Her hooves are growing really, really fast. I don't want to trim Levi, her quarter horse. His feet are so incredibly awful. Wry, thin walled, underrun, thin soled. You name it, if it's bad, those hooves have it. And she's pretty particular about how she wants him trimmed. So I'm hoping she has someone else lined up to trim him.

I guess I'm babbling about hooves a lot today. I like hooves. I don't so much like the physical part of trimming them, and the second-guessing myself that I always do when I trim. But hooves are pretty cool. Speaking of which, I really need to finish trimming Cisco tomorrow. Now with my sister's 6 horses as well, I have 44 hooves to trim. I better put them all on a schedule...

8 comments:

Kara said...

I'm with you, Andrea. I love hooves too. They really are fascinating structures. I like trimming too, when things aren't too complicated. It was very interesting how Kachina and Griffin's hooves are so different. Griffin has more dinner plate hooves with flatter soles, where as Kachina's seem less spread out and have more concave soles...but Griffin's hooves might change now that I can keep them trimmed up and in shape.

Kate said...

Hooves are good! Hooves are great! Hooves help make the horse! I use Natural Balance shoes on my mare, who developed concussion laminitis when she was barefoot for several months - it just didn't work for her. I think that a lot of horse breeds have horses with poor feet - it isn't much emphasized in breeding and should be. It is interesting how every horse's hooves are different.

gtyyup said...

Praying for your sister...

Trimming...44 hooves?!? Too many for me! Thank goodness my guys running on the hill do a lot of self trimming and I just need to keep them shaped.

I started using the angle grinder a few years back and it sure saves me. But it's still hard work and so time consuming. I'm just not as young as I used to be!

arlene said...

Andrea, I'm coming from a different world when it comes to horse hooves. Up until I got ill/ankle deal, I'd never ridden a horse without shoes. I'm afraid hours of riding on roads, like I did in England and here in the US, would turn a horse hooves into bloody stumps. I agree though more natural riding requires more natural feet, (bare foot). I guess I'm an unnatural rider lol.

I've spend many hours in the smokey stink of a blacksmiths (farriers) forge and I'm a "slap some shoes on him and let me get out of here" kind of person.

You must have a good back to do all those horses. Good on you!

Anonymous said...

good chewing for the dogs!

Lea and her Mustangs said...

Am glad you didn'T really pass out. I was so worried about you. Still concerned because of all the stress your family is under. Hop0e AMy comes thru this OK. I know its tough and tough to be there and watch it.

Flying Cowgirl said...

I could talk and study hooves all day as well. It's nice to hear that I'm not alone with the second guessing of my trimming.

Do you have a hoof jack? If not, it's a total back saver! I'm so glad that I bought mine a few years ago.

I found that when I had that many horses to trim, I was always under them trimming and not on them riding so much.

Andrea said...

gtyyup - I may have to try a grinder. I'd forgotten about that option. It might make my life a lot easier.

Kate and Arlene - I think you're right, some horses just can't go barefoot, whether it's for genetic reasons or human imposed (wet confined conditions, shoes, etc.). I do have EasyBoots for my horses in case the going gets too rough.

Flying Cowgirl - good to see you here! Yes, I do have a HoofJack and I adore it! Yep, trimming definitely takes away from fun horsey time. But if I can improve my speed and strength, maybe it won't be so time consuming. Luckily it sounds like she has someone lined up to trim two of their horses, so it won't be quite as much work as I thought.