About this Blog

Meet my very 1st horse, Lazarus.
I couldn't wait for Santa anymore or ask one more time for a pony for my bday (after age 30 it got embarrassing). I took matters in my own hands and I finally decided to pick a pony that needed a new home. Laz found me as I contemplated with this idea. He was sweet yet very sassy, fresh off the track, Thoroughbred (OTTB).
Join us for our re-training, rehabbing from laminitis and testing all parts of mixed up horsemanship and partnership, and luck...

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Somewhere between fun, worry, patience and questioning

I find it crazy that snowflakes are so beautiful especially when they land on our equines furried winter bear fur

 Laz, after our awesome ride, noshing on his slurpee
Can I pull out the cavaletti's and work on those in snow?
He's not fat, I promise, but needs help in the belly area.......who doesn't, its January?!

Ok, so here's where it gets to be that I constantly worry but also have to balance that with enjoying where we are TODAY. 
Today, I had a great ride on my horse.  
My horse was happily trotting around, wanting to play and we pushed our 'safety' zone a little today with great results (aka riding in closer, closer to areas he always spooks at)
We also worked on w/t, silent whoa's, transitions, figure 8's, backing up and just standing patiently until I ask him to move. This proved to be interesting. I would ask him to "Whoa" and he would but after a few seconds he wanted to go again. I would back him up a few steps and repeat the "whoa" request.  I noticed, he goes through a mental routine.  He stopped, and when he thought we should walk again, he remained standing but starting his nervous chewing. I would just pat him and sit quiet on his back and waited.  Laz would then shake his head, lick his lips and it was the sign, thinking process, of "oh, you want me to stand here...ok" that I was waiting for to say "Gooood boy!" and we would start walking again.  We did that several times and each time the release of understanding came faster. :)
It was a great ride.

But then, the reality of it is, I worry about his feet CONSTANTLY
They just look so horrible
I'm not knocking my trimmer's work-it's just the truth of the time frame of where we are
I know, I know, they look better than what they did...for sure! 
But I just want to make sure I'm not missing a HUGE RED FLAG and being a bad horse mommy who is blissfully riding her hurting boy.  I mean, his physical, and mental body language is: He's happy.  I know that. I also know that Laz has a high pain tolerance and for that, I don't want to wait for any "OUCH-I'm seriously hurting" signs.  Also I want to make sure that we don't digress with his growth of barefoot feet and make sure I'm doing all I can to keep him healing.
So, that being said-Today's photos of feet-up for thoughts!!

Front Left
This hoof always looks the best to me, out of all 4
I know-major major hoof wall separation STILL...ugh, why won't they go away?! What can I do to get ride of it? Seems that if he's been barefoot since March 2010, shouldn't this have healed by now? Is it thrushy? It doesn't smell but I know that isn't the only indication.

Right Rear 
(you know..the devil foot..worse laminitic one)
 Doesn't that hoof wall scare the shit out of you?! It does me. I assume it could have been the damage from his wedge shoes that he wore for months..but can this come back healthy? 
His sole is so odd, like it's callusing to protect him.

Right Front
This is concerning to me for a few reasons
1. Ice stays packed in this foot like crazy
2. Why is his sole BLACK?! Bruised? Or natural pigmentation?
3.  Again, wall separation...jesus
4. I don't like the toe shape or the sole at the toe
5.  Are the bars too high, it may be hard to tell from pictures
 Same Right Front, diff angle so you can see the bars and the toe a bit better
So, yes I will know more when I do xrays in Spring...and Cliff comes in a couple of weeks so I'll ask him his thoughts, etc on above too

Video clips of him trotting before our ride today.
I think he's still looking great and strong and even had some nice strides and movement today
Also, you can see I need to work on our "Ho" as in stop, a lot more.
I think he looks great (considering) here. 
I can definitely see him dragging his left rear toe more than other feet 
Anything else that you see that sticks out? Good or Bad?
This is our "Shhhhhhht" game
I'm sure you've play this, Laz really loves it
And just a funny one for the dog loving readers out there
Billy shoveling our driveway and Mason helping him

I appreciate your thoughts on his feet, etc!
I know so many of you have years of experience of barefoot trimming success


  1. I'm going through feet issues with my OTTB as well, I don't have any insight to offer, but look forward to reading some! :)

  2. I am sorry Kristen - I know nothing, but if it makes you feel better, Pie and Sovey's feet look weird to me too and my farrier always says they are fine. I am always freaking out though, thinking that maybe he doesn't know what he is talking about. So, even so-called "normal" TB cause panic to concerned owners.

    I am inspired to start the "stand still" exercise. I totally know the nervous licking, chewing. I want to get to the other side of that.

    Also, from my blog - it is sooo weird you asked about the song - I like both versions but was actually listening to the Fleetwood Mac version after my ride yesterday. Just a few minutes ago, though, we all were playing Cranium (Maizie, mom, Brian, me) and Maizie was acting out "Rolling Stones" and she rolled on the hardwood floor and my mom guessed "Smashing Pumpkins" and we all kept laughing!

  3. I know very little about trimming, except I know that it takes a long time to recover/grow out hooves after a problem. They don't look so bad to me - frogs can get weird this time of year. It may take a long time for things to come right particularly with the left hind. Judge based on his attitude and how he feels about life - is he happy, that's what matters.

  4. Awww, sweetie, I wish I could offer something helpful to say about his feet, but honestly horse feet STILL perplex me, even so called normal ones. They are so complex and what's normal for one horse is not so for the next.

    I think you're doing the best you can. Continue to ask questions and seek advice. Post these pics on some barefoot blogs-there are a lot of great ones out there (let me know if you want recommendations). Trust your gut and keep searching...you and Laz will get there. I do know Laminitis has an extremely long healing period, but you're right to question his progress at this stage, even if everything is progressing as it should. I hope you get some good insight here.

    Laz is so lucky to have you. He's so frigging adorable:)

  5. Could you get pics of his feet standing on a flat surface, like a concrete wash bay or something?

    I think the separation is because of his off-kilter underrun heels- they're causing his feet to bear weight differently (as you've noticed with the thickening sole). Once his heels get under control (and it will take time), I think his white line will tighten up. In the meantime, you can ask your trimmer to do a better roll around the toes.

    Has Cliff showed you how to do some maintenance trimming between his visits? It might be a good idea, since Laz is probably getting to the point where his feet are growing faster than before, and keeping him in balance is going to be difficult with the 6-8 week trimming schedule.

    As for thrush- I don't see any indication of it. A lot of horses shed their frogs (and sometimes parts of their sole) this time of year. The thickened sole you mentioned can also be a sign of a slough coming on. Don't panic- just let it come off on its own. If it wants to come off, there's already going to be new sole underneath it.

  6. I can't help you much on the feet but he is moving good and that I am sure is a good sign.

  7. I don't know enough about hooves to be of a lot of help, but I did want to mention that when Chrome's frogs looked like that (soft, sunken) I used a spray bottle full of salt water (a handful or so of salt and then fill the bottle with water and shake it)and it hardened his frogs and soles up nicely. They look so much better.

    How long as the blue been there? My first thought was bruising too . . . maybe it's the snow? We had snow for one day and Chrome was walking on ice balls in no time. To help you can clean them out and spray pam cooking spray on the bottoms to prevent the snow from packing in.

    His heels look way to long to me, but it could be the sunken frog. I would also like to see pictures of him standing on a hard surface.

    Sorry I'm not much help. I'm learning too. Cliff sounds great and knowledgeable so I wouldn't worry too much. However if the blue color is new since his last visit you might want to email him those pictures and ask him what could be causing it. Also ask if he thinks salt water would help. I don't know much about laminitis so I don't want to suggest something that will hurt Laz.

    Good luck!!

  8. Like Amanda said, pics taken with Laz standing on a flat surface (from the front, sides, etc.) would be helpful so we can see what his angles look like, exactly where his heels are, etc. Side solar shots would also be good.

    And, yes, you need to get a rasp and learn to use it! I know it's scary at first, but I promise that it really isn't difficult and doesn't take a ton of brain cells. Just get Cliff to show you how to do it. If you can rasp his hooves once a week and keep that roll going, it will REALLY help to tighten up those connections.

    And, to me, those bars do look long and the heels look under-run. The "landing zones" should be all the way at the back of the hooves, and it looks like Laz's are waaaaay forward. Again, this will be easier to see with different pics.
    Overall, they are looking better and of course it does take time. His hooves look pretty good but there is also much room for improvement.

  9. I would ask mrs mom. Shes the best. http://ohhorsefeathers.blogspot.com/ she will point out some things for ya.

    As for feet that wall separation looks like a flare. A horses hoof is like a water balloon. When you press on a water balloon all the water goes to the other side so if a horse is placing more weight (uneven growth) on one part of the hoof it's going to buckle in and create what we call a flare. It happens in the front and the sides that we can see with the naked eye. So look for a flare, get a strait object (screwdriver, pencil, ruler, side of a rasp) and put it against the planes of his hoof, front, sides etc (there should be some concavity to his sole that is a good thing). Are there any dips? I can tell from the separation there are some sort of flares there in the same place Indigo gets her. Indigo gets flares on the inside fronts and outside backs. 6-8 weeks is too long for her and a lot of horses because just like fingernails very few hooves grow completely strait due to limb conformation, injuries etc. at 4 weeks Indigo will have noticeable flares this is why I have always kept a rasp and hoof knife on hand ask your farrier I bet he might have an extra one and just get a handle or tape the tang (pointy end). I "roll" Indigo's hoof wall so shes not landing on uneven hoof wall causing those flares. Mr.Pony on the other hand can go weeks and weeks and weeks without a trim and not have noticeable hoof wall growth or any flares at all. The black hoof is just pigmentation. Each horses sole has a fingerprint and that is Laz's.
    Remember: just because they don't have anything to trim doesn't mean they don't need to be balanced, something a lot of farriers overlook, a good reason why I am going into the field I am.

    Check out this blog also, great pictures and resources http://barefoothorseblog.blogspot.com

  10. Just wanted to give you a comparison with the heels. In this pic http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_RGn7YMNGB7Q/TDoxSgLXIOI/AAAAAAAAA2o/LkXRYLtBk-U/s1600/Salem+453.jpg
    you can see that the heel is all the way at the back of the hoof, not way forward like in a hoof with an under-run heel.

    I think once you get the heels back, the bars lowered, and those walls rolled consistently, Laz's hooves will really start to look great.

    Just looked at the pics again, and the right front looks like it has a LOT of retained sole at the toe. I'm not sure what could be causing that; maybe the walls and bars being too high are not allowing the sole to shed (??). That's just a guess.

    Sorry I'm so long-winded!

  11. Lots of good thoughts posted here already.

    The black on his front hooves is his natural pigment. It looks like his front feet are black and his back are white ... which is consistent with Laz having socks on just his back feet. Does it match the pigment on the outside of his feet? My TB has socks on diagonal legs, so he has one front and one back hoof that are white, and one of each that are black.

    Bruises typically have a red or pink tinge to them.

    And I very much second sending your pics to Mrs. Mom from OhHorseFeathers. She's the absolute best and has been my hoof consultant for years now.

  12. I don't really have anything to add about Laz's feet beyond what was said before, but I do think he's moving better in your videos then some of the previous ones you've posted. =-)

    I bet the reason you are seeing the black pigment in his feet are because the snow has cleaned and polished them off. Has he ever been barefoot in the winter before?

  13. YES to Mrs. Mom! She is incredible. She is a farrier and knows what she is talking about! She's on my blog on the sidebar...
    You may want to go for a 5 week trim. My boy's feet grow too fast and 6--8 weeks doesn't work for us. Just a thought tho'....

  14. Here's my non-professional, no experience with laminitis, opinion:

    Yup, those heels and bars are long, but I can't tell from the light in the photos whether it's because of thrush in the frog or not. You can always treat for thrush anyway, it won't hurt anything.

    It does look like your trimmer is doing a good job keeping those toes back, which should eventually encourage the heels to come back too. A long history of shoes + laminitis probably make restoring natural hoof shape a little difficult.

    You would probably see faster improvement on the flaring if you move to a 3-4 week trim schedule. I would also ask the trimmer if he would scoop out the quarters a bit more.

  15. Oh, and about that right rear. Look at the wall growth at the coronet band. If that looks good I wouldn't worry too much. The bad stuff will grow out.

  16. I think it is so easy to get so caught up in the worry of a horses' feet. I know that Bobby suffers from Laminitis on a fairly regular basis, and I'm ALWAYS scrutinizing him...sometimes I think I even imagine him limping. It's always a worry, and I'm to the point where I don't enjoy riding him at times for fear he's in pain...

    I don't know anything about feet, so I'm sorry I can't offer you any advice. To me, he looks like he's moving okay...maybe a bit draggy on that hind left, but he also just looks like he's happily and lazily jogging along. What does your vet/farrier think?

  17. Call Cliff, and talk about a 4 week schedule. As the hoof heals, growth WILL increase. Look at growth from the hairline down-- and just for the heck of it, maybe take a magic marker, or nail polish, and trace out where "old" meets "new" growth, and monitor it. Take pix, and compare every few weeks. Dark sole is pigment-- don't worry over it. Heels are long, and getting out ahead of where they need to be. Callous in an extreme laminitic case like this is usually a GOOD thing- the extra sole helps to support those internal structures and help move things back in place. Remember too---- taking toe is fine but you MUST also take/ address HEEL as well.

    Speedy growth NOW is a Most Excellent Thing IMO. It shows two things- Laz is Healthy INSIDE now, and his FEET are getting healthier by the day INSIDE the hoof capsule as well. Breathe deep Momma- he is on the right track. This did not happen overnight. It can be a tough trip back to health, but you two are in excellent hands with Cliff. Have him come more often, and I bet in two months you will see a HUGE difference!

    Smooch that sweet pony from me ;)

  18. Totally agree with the others about trimming more often if possible. Salem was on a 5-week schedule (which his trimmer was adamant about), even with me rasping once a week, and it kept his hooves in line really well.

  19. Just a thought to keep the ice out of his tootsies. Vasoline. Check with Cliff first because I'm not sure what it will do to his hoof, but I've heard that Vasoline will keep the ice from building up.

  20. I'm relieved more knowledgeable people posted about the black on the hooves. I didn't know that they could have dark pigmentation like that on the bottoms (I don't think I've ever even owned a horse with socks or white hooves). That's a relief at least. It was very interesting hearing what everyone had to say. I hope all of the comments have reassured Kristen.

    Oh and I agree with Jessica. He is moving a LOT better. I forgot to comment on that because the pigmentation in the hooves had me worried. Please keep us updated with what you learn from Mrs. Mom!

  21. A friend pointed me this way to give a few thoughts. I don't know if someone else has comment on the same things yet, but I didn't have the time to read through everyone else's comments, so pardon if I'm repeating anything already said.

    It can take a year for a horse to grow a new hoof top to bottom, so some of what you're seeing could still be his "old foot" so to speak.

    The separation between his hoof wall and sole looks, at least from here, more like he grows the wall a bit faster than the sole. I'd be curious to see what his feet look like right after they are trimmed. How long has it been since his last trim in these pictures? How long do you go between rotations?

    Thrush is an anaerobic creature and produces a VERY foul smelling greasy blackish goop. It's unmistakable and you would know it if you had it. If you clean out his feet somewhat regularly it shouldn't be a worry. The black foot is simply the pigmentation of the hoof. Horse feet come in two basic colors: "blue" horn and "white" horn. Blue horn is dark and tends to be a little harder and tougher than white. There is some inbetween and horses can have hoof that has strips of white and blue horn together, especially if they have some pink and dark skin around the cornonary band. It's merely pigmentation, nothing to worry about.

    Does his frog touch the ground when he's standing? From these pictures it appears that his frogs are a bit sucked up into the foot and don't make connection with the ground, this prevents the frog from doing it's job of absorbing shock and improving circulation.

    It also looks like his bars are pushed a bit forward, like his heels are underrun a bit. Again, some different angles, specifically him standing on some flat ground to get an idea of how his feet connect with the ground would help. Can't tell much on his feet in the videos because of the snow hiding them.

  22. WOW, thank you all for your input/comments, suggestions, support! I SO appreciate it.
    As many of your said, the hoof can be such a mystery and what to do and what not to do, etc.

    Cliff comes out next Thurs (27th) so I will see what he sees, and review the bars/heels, etc with him. We were on a 6-7 week schedule but I think going back to a 4-5 week is going to prove better for Laz. Mrs. Mom (ohhorsefeathers.blogspot.com and I talked over the phone (how great is she?!)and reviewed what I should talk to Cliff about, etc. Thanks again!

    xo to you all!

  23. Award for you on my blog too! (www.tbeventer.blogspot.com) Maybe it won't be the same one as Denali's Mom!
    Anyways, I have nothing to say about his feetsies since I have no advice to give, but it looks like everyone else has good stuff though!

  24. I have left you an award on my blog!

  25. If the wall is longer than the sole, the pressure will continue to separate the wall... Seeing his feet on a flat surface would help... Also, you can check with www.hoof-tech.com, his name is Bill Campanelli and tell him I sent you.... for a second opinion...

    Petra Christensen
    Parelli 2Star Junior Instructor
    Parelli Central

  26. I'm with smazourek and Sydney about the flare. I think you'd have a lot less separation if you're farrier would round the edges (what barefoot practitioners call a "mustang roll" and rasp off a lot of the flare, especially at the bars. By doing that, you're relieving the pressure on the hoof wall which is part of the reason it is seperating (pressure and disease). If you can eliminate the pressure, then you can heal the disease much more easily.

    A lot of farriers are taught that the hoof wall is what supports the horse, so they do a flat trim (in preparation for a shoe). In reality, both the sole and the hoof wall balance to create support. The Sole is like the shock absorber, and the wall is the stablity. Both must be present and uniform to maintain that healthy hoof balance. That's why rolling the edges helps so much with keeping a clean and healthy white line--it helps distribute equal weight between the sole and the hoof wall, so they can act (and stay together) as one.

  27. I found your blog because I googled "sunken frog". My mare has the exact same problem as your guy, her frog isn't even touching the ground, and she gets horrible ice balls in her feet (she winds up 1/2" taller!).

    I looked at the video of your guy trotting, and while pausing it I managed to catch him landing toe-first, which isn't a good thing. It probably is because of his long heels. Also, don't rule out thrush just because it doesn't smell! For one thing, it's freaking cold and that cuts down on smell, and for another, some thrush hides deep in the foot and doesn't give much of a symptom except for the heels being contracted. This was a great site talking about thrush and barefoot trimming: http://www.healthyhoof.com/articles/Thrush/Thrush.html

    I'll come back to read more about your guy! Good luck!