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...

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Hug your trimmer!

HOOF nerd alert!
I did my own true assessing/trimming/trying/playing with pretending to be a trimmer on Saturday.
First off, I want to say THANK YOU to my trimmer M, who is incredibly patient, helps me and encourages me to do this. She loaned me some of her tools (ring/book/rasp) so I may play.
It's scary, but also amazing.

So, here it goes.
First off, I videotaped Laz in Slow Motion, to see how his fronts were landing.
Fronts were my focus for this, so forget hind end for now.
Toe first or heel first?
It can be hard to tell via naked eye when it's 'close'
Here was result:
Wrong and needs to be corrected.
Friday night, cue me, nose first into book and watching videos galore to try to figure out 'why' and how I could help him better use his hooves/be more comfortable.
I literally dreamt all night Friday how I was going to trim on Saturday.
Why yes, I am...and proud of it!
I started with his 'club' foot.
I hate that it's a club and feel it's flixable. 
Why, because if it "SHOULD" be a club...shouldn't he be landing heel first and sound on it?
Well, he's not...so maybe it doesn't want to be a club after all.
This is where I get to play trimmer...I can try things out and see if it works or doesn't and make changes.
 Major disclaimer..this is NOT a what to do.
Far from it.
In fact, this may be a 'what I don't do again' post OR a " YES it worked" post...future will tell.

So, I first measured the heel length by using my gauge. 
It's approximately 1-1/8" from hair line to where heel 'should' be.
I drew a horizontal line connecting that, as you can see below.
The RING gage is a guideline to help you find what toe/wall needs to be rasped back.
I placed the ring, finding the widest point of his hoof, on the white line.
Then I drew with my sharpie, along the OUTSIDE of ring around his hoof.
Then, marking about 5/8" out, I hand free drew a second line.
That is where I would rasp a 90 degree to, to remove the extra toe.
As you can see...not much needed to go.
It was more heel.
Again-I'm trying things out on Laz in hopes it helps him
I'm sure there are a million things wrong here but I'm learning.

Continuing on, rasping heels down.
According to my measure, the heels should be rasped back to that black line/marker.
I tried to also watch if I were to 'rasp' sole, to stop.
I did hit it a few times, oops! But minor
Below was another reason WHY I decided to be a bit more aggressive on taking DOWN his heels on club foot, RF.
See, at the toe?
That inward curve that dips down towards his frog? It would catch stones during our road walk and instantly he would favor his foot, we'd stop, I'd pick it out and carry on.
But WHY was it allowing..the white line needs to be tighter and..was the toe too long??creating his hoof to grow out and pull out thus (yes, THUS) pulling/stretching his white line and hoof wall apart? 
Checking for balance..pictures can be helpful OR deceiving so it's hard to tell. He does pigeon toe IN towards his LF so I see how is medial (inside) wall looks higher as well as hairline looks higher. Should I allow him to pigeon toe walk because he wants to?? Again, he's not landing heel first or sound, so to me, it's my key to try to fix instead of leaving it.
If he was sound with funky feet, FINE. But currently, he's not. I think there is room for improvement so he can set himself up for success.

So, TWO HOURS later.
I trimmed his two fronts, and his RH.
I would stop, let Laz try the foot out to make sure I wasn't just attacking and hurting him.
It was a slow and gentle process, lots of thinking, marking, re-measuring, stopping, hand walking him, back to trimming, looking, etc.

 Thankfully I got LOTS of this;
Nose touching to me, when I would stand up and cry about my back aching.
He would literally gently say "OK, this is good."
Angel boy...what a great horse he is.
I would pat him each time he wanted to test his adjustments and just watch him.
He is truly SUCH a great horse!
He is SO patient with me...especially when beveling/rasping by hand with no stand.
I must get a stand!!

 He did also tell me "ENOUGH" but more on his RH..
Starting out, paring out more bar...JESUS this bar goes on for days!!
I think it's jammed up into his ears!
 I've been spraying whenever I go out to barn, in his separated white line with Vetricyn Gel
I hope it's helping! Seems like it is...
More bar...see those dark 'dashes' along the medial side (left side of hoof in picture)
That is where he asked me NOT to touch yet.
I would put my knife with slight pressure and he yanked back.
I'll try again, in a few days and see what he thinks...all in good time.
I think it's best to allow time for hoof to relax, adjust and change and then reassess what we have.
THIS below...YESSSS.
See all that weight on his RH..those closed happy eyes?
Boom. Yes.
 I stopped there, it was enough...
A BIG thank you to the best teacher.
He is so trusting, and gives me great instant feedback.
Thank you Boo!

Video from after trim, slight improvement??
Still NOT landing correctly, far from it...but a few steps are a bit better?
I also see, A LOT to work on...
LF lands before RH does, so that is carrying too much weight which would explain why it's just a flat spread hoof. 
I need to see how to help that LF not in twist medially as well, that just looks wrong.
Bars, need to watch those and see if they are still needing to be removed..that may be months of checking/ scraping out.
All in hopes of a more sound pony.
PS Don't forget to hug your trimmer...they do BACK breaking work in a very hard job with hooves that are ever changing.

Below is from Cheryl of ABC Hoofcare -which is sort of the method I've applied above.
I say sort of, because I have not attended her school or classes..just self studied.
My thoughts are below in (())'s

Toe-first-landing has many side effects and damages to the coffin joint
when continued long term.
But, you have to find why the horse is landing toe-first. The horse is
doing this intentionally because it is uncomfortable to walk "normally"
which is a heel first landing. This is the way the leg is structured to
do.  To not load the heel is "unnatural" and requires the wrong tendon and
muscles for forward motion.

Reasons for toe-first-landings come from avoiding pain in the heel.

1. Disease in the sensitive frog and it is inflamed
(Not in our case, I truly don't think)

2. Disease has weakened the structural strength of the "live frog"
which supports the compression of the digital cushion when the pastern
is coming down
(Not in our case, I truly don't think) 
3. Bar has grown inward into the sole (bar pool which is in the
navicular or fulcrum region.
(yup!! we have bar issues) 
4. Bar has grown out over the sole and has stopped the ability to
5. Arthritis developed in the coffin joint from years of improper
hoof movement
(Quite possibly good be another reason..although I've seen him move out better in snow/cold)
6. Damages to the tendons and other sensitive parts within
(Quite possible)
7. The capsule is not balanced and has a long toe
(I think YES on club....maybe...)
8. The capsule is not balanced lateral medially with tall
(Something is up with his quarters, as I relived them, I would recheck every 15 minutes or so, and they dropped back down, so I would relive again. I did this about 3 times on club foot..hmmmm)
9. Idea's can be from many locations of the body that are not
(Poor Lazaroo has so many issues, so YES, but one thing at a time)

The onion peeling is part of what we have to do. Keeping a list and
scratching off what we discovered is fine. But, then we might not be
seeing what we are looking at or recognizing some of the clues. It is
frustrating but we have to do this for them to rebound and be
comfortable in their own feet.
When bar is trimmed and not laying out or into the sole. And the sole
is free to grow without being inhibited from bar, fungus, disease. 
Having the frogs integrity on the surface not hiding another story
beneath with fungus reducing the strength of the live frog. Finding
inflammation within the corium from damage, metabolic failures and
compression (abscessing, bruising, IR). Then you have to look at the
bones and I always suggest having every horse you own have x-rays so
you have a basis and then if things deviate you can see it is new or if
things don't improve you know problems existed when you got them.

If you are still here...WOW...!
Perhaps you are a hoof nerd too?


  1. *raises hand* Fellow Hoofaholic here! ;-) Oh my god, this hoof stuff is complicated, fascinating, infuriating, life-changing--the whole barefoot thing is quite the mad spinning tea-cup of a ride!

    I see big improvements with your trim. Heels on that RH look GREAT! I think you have mastered the whole "pulling the heel back" concept big-time. And Laz obviously agrees.

    The first time Candy trimmed Salem (I believe she had recently graduated from OSNHC), she used the rings. But she said that she doesn't find them helpful, so after that first trim I never saw them again. She does always measure for a 30-degree hairline and a heel that's 1 1/8" from coronet, though.

    Hopefully we can both figure out the magic "recipes" for our boys' feet and get them sound! And then have some shots, will be greatly deserved!!

  2. I am not a hoof nerd, per se, but I do find all of this interesting. I love finding out how the whole horse works and how we can help them feel good. Mostly, what I find out is that as humans, we can only do a tiny bit without messing up nature. That is why I love this post. You are reading and learning and then ONLY doing a tiny bit at a time and listening to Laz. That has to be correct. You are so lucky to have him. I laugh about you writing with a Sharpie. My Pie and Sovey would never stand for that. I would have a Sharpie mustache by the end of it because they just aren't very patient. My Foggy is like your Laz - a good boy!

    Pie was born with a "club foot" on his right front. He was just put together wrong. My first farrier would try to make that hoof "correct" and consequently, Pie was lame a lot on that foot. My new perfect Barefoot farrier allows the hoof to be how it is and trims around the natural formation. Pie lands heel to toe and is perfect on it. Nature attached his foot to his leg in a goofy manner, but it is right for Pie. We humans have to make subtle adjustments, or as Nic says at Rockley, use celery to trim (no trimming at all). You are so brave and kind to Laz and you are such a good horsey mommy - dreaming of trimming!

    1. Thankfully, through all of this, Laz is pretty darn patient. He has his days though when he doesn't (can't) stand still! He seems to stand still when I'm doing things he enjoys, making his hooves for comfortable! :)
      Pie having a club and using it correctly-PERFECT. I wouldn't TOUCH it. I'm not sure Laz's club is supposed to be 'that' way because he doesn't use it correctly. I agree 100% with Rockley's method-they watch what the horse has and changes. I've tried (to my limited extent) to do the same with Laz and leaving the bars and not changing some height/angles-left him more lame. I wish I could let nature be 100% but in this case, I'm hoping she allows me to encourage a slight turn in her path, and then take back over :)

  3. Ha! Hoof nerd. I like it, I am 100% a hopeless hoof nerd.

    I think you are on the right track with the bars an long toe being the issue with the tow first landings. I would like to see a slow motion video of someone else trotting him fast on soft ground past the camera, toward the camera and then away from the camera to get a true indication if he really in landing toe first - I think you are taping and lunging slowly on a small circle, yes? Might not be quick enough to show his true movement.

    His feet look lovely though - keep doin what you are doing (listening to the feet!) and you will get there. :)

    1. Lisa-YES. It's hard-I was lunging him w/ rope in my mouth to try and capture slo mo video. I agree, if I could have someone run him and video it may show more of the truth! Unfort I'm alone 99.9% out there.
      I tried recording while running in front of him, backwards but he was so sweetly trotting slow as to say "Duh, get out of my way" so that wouldn't be 100% accurate either ;)

  4. Ugh. Autocorrect on iPhone makes me look like I have a terrible grasp of the English language.

  5. This is all beyond me and I probably trust my farrier too much, but I love reading other people's posts about hooves. Very cool! Keep posting them!

    1. As long as Bobby is moving soundly, why worry!? With Laz and his special glass hooves-I have found, I have to play more of an active role. Ignorance can be bliss but in our case, it' was just frustration and loosing time in getting him sound. As it is; I'm JUST starting to chisel at this HUGE iceberg.

  6. I admire your dedication. Two hours of trimming is grueling work. Laz's patience is also to be commended. It is really neat when they tell us that something is good by licking and chewing or not to proceed by pulling their foot back. I know that horses can be naughty sometimes, but I think that usually they are being forthcoming with those kinds of things. They want to be comfortable and pain-free like anyone else. Once they realize we are listening, they really start telling us things.

    Let me preface this by saying that I have NO professional training. I do not measure angles or heel lengths or foot shape with a tool. The one time that I tried to do that (based on an educational video and literature), my horse's white line started to open up, so I quickly abandoned it. I trim hoof wall passive to the sole (especially at the quarters), keep the bars low (a new thing that I learned last year), and keep the wall off the ground with a strong roll. This technique is simple enough for me to work with confidently on my own. Occasionally, a trimmer, trainer, or vet will see my horse's feet and give the angles and such a thumbs up. I find that they line up (at least for my horse, the only one that I trim) when I work from the bottom of the foot. And of course, I read and visit reputable sites, like Rockley, to keep my perspective fresh and informed. I have yet to dream about trimming, but I think that I cannot escape the nerd status at this point. ;)

  7. Thanks for the very informative post! As long as you have your horses' best interests at heart you shouldn't go wrong.

    It's great that you have a supportive farrier / trimmer. They do have a very tough job. I'm worn out and sweating after messing with one hoof... a hoof jack would make things easier!! ;)

    I ♡ that Veterycin gel!!

  8. I have to admire your patience and his too! I'm trying so hard to learn more about hooves! Love the pictures. I really admire your efforts.

  9. Fourth picture down- there are those high points on the bars I was telling you about. I hope you took those off. Reading the rest of your post now...

  10. Yep, I know where you meant now.
    Yes, I took my knife and had scraped back and leveled bar into heel, if that makes sense? this was mid photo/trim work, which I need to explain that better in post. I also better beveled the toe all around.