Friday, August 17, 2012

Prairie's Hooves - trimming back toe

I continue to terrify myself with the whole trimming thing, but I am also really pleased and impressed with how good Prairie's feet are looking and how (when guided) I can actually make some improvements.

Currently my biggest "concern" is the bull-nosing on her hind toes and making sure that I don't enable a negative plane back there.  Because I was a wee bit nervous about how exactly to balance her hinds, I didn't touch them for a couple weeks and opted to wait for my vet to show up in order to supervise my efforts.

She was hugely helpful in showing me some of the balance issues (so much medial toe) and then watching over my shoulder as I slowly worked some of the excess toe off.  Prairie grows such a thick wall on her hinds it's moderately staggering.  I felt like I was rasping forever...

By the time I brought her foot back in (mostly) balance her foot was looking really, really pretty.  Her hinds have a very nice cup to them, and it was clear that her angles are in a good spot and hopefully won't encourage continued bull-nosing.

I spent a while chatting with my vet about how the hind legs "float" as opposed to being anchored like the front limbs.  Obviously not a technical term, but the imaging makes sense to me.  Also makes sense that hoof imbalance in the hinds can travel right up each joint and over the hips then push down into the opposite foot...

Long story short my vet wasn't concerned about her hinds (whew).  She was really pleased with my work on her fronts but suggested I relieve the quarters just a touch more.  Nothing wild or dramatic but enough of a curve that I can slide a piece of paper under them...

So to sum up, I'm feeling relieved with the hinds, confident up front and excited that it looks like I'll be able to maintain the mare (mostly) on my own (coaching sessions to be continued).  Maybe most importantly Prairie is showing that her feet are staying healthy and strong with their current routine.

Have to love that.

I didn't have my good camera, but in the name of crappy documentation here are some blurry and poorly lit phone photos.  At this point her fronts were about 1 week from the last time I touched them, and 1 day from the hinds' last touch up.

The angle isn't actually that off.  She was standing oddly
I'm pretty happy with this foot, but need to stay on top of the flare a bit more often..

Angles looking good.. toe backed up quite a bit
Blurry so you can see her 'cuppines' but I'm happy (except for her sulcus)

Slightly more bull nosed than her LH, but under control I think
blurry again, WHOOPS

very happy with this foot too
Again, blurry. but same flare issue as the LF

So that's where we are.  Right now my goals are to proactively manage the flare and separation up front a bit more and encourage straight growth in the hinds.  Also, I'm going to keep an eye on those cracks forming in her sulcus... I don't like those.  They don't seem to be ouchy, or infected at all right now - but I'd rather not have a spot for thrush to be hiding when the mud comes back to town in a few months...


  1. Mad respect for toe touching. That shit scares me.

    Plus, my guy is shod, so I have an easy way out. :D

  2. Her feet look great! I totally second what SprinklerBandit said. I would be terrified to do my own horses feet. But...mine is shod anyway, so it doesn't matter. :)

  3. I envy your guts and initiative to learn to maintain your mare's feet! I've been toying with the idea for a while now, but your success is definitely giving me confidence.

    Prarie's feet look like great gravel crunchers. Nice and strong.

  4. What does he mean by hind legs floating and front legs being anchored? I can't quite get that image in my head - front legs aren't actually attached to the horse via bone, just soft tissue, and the hind legs are definitely attached bone to bone... so my head I can only see how front legs would float and hind legs would not. Help a sister understand! ;)

  5. I agree with Andrea. The lack of collarbones would make it seem more like the front legs are "floating".

    Nice of you to share more photos. The hinds do look much better with the shortened toe and I can tell from your writing that you are well on your way to becoming a hoof geek. :)

  6. Once again, nice tootsies!! She has some lovely heel/frogs - just goes to show how that allows such nice movement.

    I also was a little confused with the floating leg thing. Can you clarify a little?

    <3 owner trimmers - every owner should know how to wield a rasp!

  7. Good job! She's looking good!

    As for the cracks in the sulcus, for prevention of thrush you can use salt water. I use it almost daily in the winter as a preventative. I just put salt (about an eighth to a quarter cup for average sized spray bottle) in a spray bottle, fill with water, shake it up and spray on the bottoms of the hooves, making sure to get down in all the cracks and crevices. It works great and it's cheap. :D


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