Friday, January 4, 2013

Happy Hoof Photos

My trimmer was out yesterday, and all three horses got trims.  All three horses were perfectly behaved, which is just what I expected.  A number of horses at our barn are sore footed right now, as the sandy, gravelly ground is frozen hard, with no snow cover.  The surface of the turnout pastures is also all chopped up, with frozen peaks and valleys, since there was rain and churned up mud right before the hard freeze set in.  Fortunately, my horses are having no problems and their feet are doing very well.  I think it's a combination of good nutrition - low sugar/starch feed - and regular exercise on a variety of surfaces.  Even Dawn, who has been sore-footed in the past (and is now on a supplement containing chromium to deal with suspected insulin resistance), is doing well.  All three horses needed no trimming of the sole at all - the abrasive surfaces they're on do that for us, and Dawn and Red needed fairly minimal hoof wall trimming (after 7 weeks), since their walls were wearing from abrasion, although Red needed a bit of work as well on his bars in several spots.  Pie grows an enormous amount of foot between trims, and since his hoof wall is very hard and thick, he did need some work, although my farrier said his feet were growing out very evenly and well.

Tonight I took some hoof photos - I had some camera difficulties so the photo set isn't complete, or quite properly posed, but they give some idea of how the hooves are doing.  None of this is a result of trimming - this is how their feet grow - all my trimmer does is remove excess hoof wall, and occasionally excessive bars as needed.  Things I'm particularly happy to see are even hairlines, good angles with straight growth, a balanced sole (more on this) and well-developed heels and frogs with good, broad, deep collateral grooves on either side of the frog - this tends to mean you also have good sole convexity.  I'm really pleased with how their hooves are doing - Dawn's hooves are still improving but are better with every month.

The camera was acting up most with Red's photos.  The hoof/pastern angle on this rear foot looks odd because he has the foot far forward.

Red solar:

My trimmer refers to Pie as "Mr. Perfect Feet" - here's a front Pie foot:

And a rear Pie foot - more about this foot below:

Pie solar shots - excuse the arena sand:

The photo just above is a solar shot of the same hind hoof that's just below - notice something interesting?  The solar view shows a perfectly symetrical foot.  But the heel view shows that the inner hoof wall (right) is fairly straight and the outer hoof wall (left) has a flare, and the heel isn't quite level - but this is the shape his hoof needs to be to load properly for the limb above it.  He's sound and happy, and the symetrical solar view shows that this foot is what he needs.

A Dawn front:

And rear:

Dawn solars - I think the apparent asymetry in the second shot is due to how I'm holding the foot.

Dawn has only been out of front shoes for a little over a year, and is doing really well.  Her heels and sole convexity are still improving, mainly I think due to our rocky, sandy turnout soil and her regular work.

Even when I don't ride, I seem to manage to find something interesting to do with the horses . . .

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