Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Regarding P2's Feet

So, I had my favorite vet out yesterday to just check in on P2 as well as to give the little bulldog her routine acupuncture and laser treatment (she looks like a total Frankenstein-frankfurter mid session..).  She also was coming to take a look at one of S's clients to see what was up with his general anxiety/aggression.  An OTTB who has had a rough life punctuated by several owners in a row who either didn't understand him, were terrified of him, or both.  He's a super sweet boy when he wants to be, but holy crap - when he flips that switch he is totally tuned out and sorta scary.

He's so reactive that it makes me think he's got a story to tell, But S is thinking that a fair amount of pain might be pushing him over that edge.  Adorable boy though.

Anyway.  P2:

The vet was thrilled to see that P2's walk already seems to be "coming together."  Which she sort of described as the difference between a slinky/accordion/bendy-bus and a cohesive connected animal.  We settled on that slinky dog thing from Toy Story? I think that's a good description of where P2 was.
slinky... horse?
Happy to say that she's officially no longer a slinky dog and as she develops her muscle she's holding herself together and staying a bit... well, like a less slinky dog.... more like a normal dog.(maybe still a wiener dog, but a normal wiener dog).

So that was good news.  Also, she was impressed to see how well P2 is muscling up in general (but especially along her spine) and P2 got full marks for suppleness and an A+ for her carrot stretches.  It's not much, but I *will* take credit for that!

Then we got to P2's feet.  Monday was the first time I saw Prairie after her trim and also the first time she's ever seemed a bit "ouchy" on the gravel.  Given how much hoof came off over the weekend for her trim, I'm not surprised.  Her feet look.... teeny.  They look nice and tidy, but they look like teeny paws compared to her clunky, clonkers that she had before.

My vet was slightly put off, but not horrified.  We looked at each foot individually and she explained what looked great and what she would change.  The summary is that she felt a bit too much heel was left on all four feet, which was robbing Prairie of about 1" of weight bearing surface as well as tipping her on her toes and potentially starting a bad cycle.

We grabbed her rasp and she showed me how she was taking down heel (hardly touching the already short toe) and evaluating her bars. (we ended up taking them down a bit in her hinds, but she wasn't that concerned about them).

It was a really good learning session for me.  I feel like my eye knows when something "isn't right" but never really knows what exactly my brain is objecting to (I have the same issue with saddle fit).  So it's really nice to have someone talk me through it and explain what their evaluation is and why they are making adjustments.  I find feet so interesting.

What's cool is my vet absolutely loves the farrier who does our barn.  Even though she adjusted his trim a bit, she thinks that he is one of the most open, interested, dynamic hoofcare guys in our area who actually enjoys working with a vet or hearing about other perspectives.  I guess that isn't always the receptions she gets...

Also, I am thinking that if Prairie's feet stay as easy and balanced as they are right now I might try to learn how to maintain her myself.  Don't quote me on that because it sort of terrifies the ever living shit out of me, but I really like the theory of being able to keep her toes done myself and I got all excited about learning more about feet and working with Cowboy Man out at the farm while he's trimming the herd.

So, long story short: body = great!  Feet = good but a little chopped off.  Since she went 7 weeks last time between trims, I'm hoping maybe I try to get my vet out for the next trim in 5-6 weeks and ideally have both her and my farrier around at the same time.  But since I know that both vets and farriers operate in a totally different space-time continuum, I might just settle for getting my vet back first, hearing what she has to say then trying to coach the farrier when he comes to trim.

And now I swear I'll actually get some pictures up so that there's a record of her post-trim.


  1. YES!! I think all horse owners are also hoof owners and should learn to keep their horse's feet trimmed themselves (under guidance of course!).

    Go learn, you will never regret it.

  2. Put me in the terrified camp. So much can go wrong...

    Not that it can't be done, just that I'm unlikely to learn any time soon.

  3. I'm with Lisa! It is very important to understand hooves and trims (even if you never do it yourself), because it's our job to make sure our horses are getting what they need. It's so easy to just trust your farrier and not realize things are bad until it's too late. Like you vet said, letting the heel get too long and the toe too short can lead to a very vicious cycle. I wish when I first got Chrome I'd known then what I do now. I could have prevented the problems he has if I had. So keep on learning. You can never know too much about hooves.


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