Hoof over time project – Conclusion
|October 8, 2015||Posted by Melinda under Equine Endurance, Hoof trimming, Most Popular|
Project finished! 3 weeks of hoof growth after a trim on Farley’s right hind hoof.
It’s hard to appreciate how much wall and sole has been added in 3 weeks, except if you notice how “far down” the frog looks in the hoof on day 21. The frog WANTS to touch the ground, which is one reason the back of the frog gets long, it’s seeking contact.
You can also appreciate how the side of the hoof with the injury (medial side, which is on the left of these pictures) doesn’t quite behave “normally”. I don’t think it flexes quite the same way and it’s one reason why it tends to retain sole. When trimming this hoof, the trick is to trim the normal side of the hoof heel (lateral side) according to my normal landmarks, and then try to match the abnormal heel in terms of height etc. I will admit to sometimes being more conservative then I probably should be at taking down the medial (injuried) side since it gives me NO warnings or hints on what height it “should” be, and as a result, because balanced heels are important, I’ll often look at the lateral (outside, normal) heel and wish I had taken it down further.
3 weeks is my “ideal” trim cycle and you can see why. 6-8 weeks is a LOT of growth. Not only is it a lot of work to trim, the whole angle and mechanics of the foot is different with that much extra hoof. Three weeks requires just a touch up with the grinder (or rasp in this case since much to my dismay the grinder battery was dead after doing the front feet) and is a good balance between having enough hoof to work with to make small improvements, and so much hoof the flares are being re-established between trims, and the mustang roll is totally gone, and you are starting all *over*. Knowing I’ll be back in 3 weeks also allows me to leave more hoof on – whether I’m short on time, the horse is short on patience, or I’m just unsure how short to go. I’ll be back soon enough it won’t be a big deal if some extra hoof got left.
In the above pictures, look at the two “day 0” trims. Besides my earlier point of how I could be more aggressive about taking the heels down, look at the white line on the toe quarter in the bottom left of the picture. See how it’s already tighter? It’s why I didn’t get too aggressive at trimming down to a clean white line in the first trim. I knew by taking down the heels and doing a mustang roll it would encourage proper hoof wear and growth. The gap in the white line was a combination of a little bit of flare and stretched white line, and wall height that was a little too tall with a retained rim of sole.
The same process is happening at her quarters. As I keep the heels short (and NOT allow 2 months between trims) and the mustang roll refreshed, the retained sole there will come out, the wall will get shorter and that dirt line will disappear.
I’m sure you’ve said before but what grinder are you using? I’m thinking of getting one, I’m so tired of rasping…
It’s a ryobi brand grinder that I have switched out the head for a flat sandpaper like head. I use 40 grit sandpaper or at least the roughest I can find. I wish it was lighter – my wrist gets REALLY tired using it one handed, and I wish it didn’t have a safety – however I have to admit I’ve adapted to both these problems and don’t find I don’t even think about it any more. The biggest thing I’m still annoyed with (after a couple of years of use) is how short the battery life is. I’m guaranteed 2 hooves, perhaps a third. Almost never a complete 4th. I *could* buy a second battery. Instead I bought nippers to reduce the amount of grinding when there’s a lot of hoof to take off (better from a heat build up standpoint anyways) and I usually finish from the top with a rasp, not the grinder (I enjoy rasping from the top anyways).
Some people use pneumatic grinders and I’ve heard they are both quieter and lighter. However at the stable I don’t have consistent access to air or electricity, which is why I went with battery operated.
Ryobi is a cheaper brand, and I had a client who used one for trimming which also played into my decision. I wasn’t sure if I was going to stick with a grinder long term. Now that I know that I REALLY like trimming with it, if I was going to replace it I would try really hard to get one that is lighter and less bulky.
Yep, yep, yep. 3 weeks is ideal in our world too – I suspect we have similar dry, warm environments. Even 5 weeks is enough to start the balance of the hoof changing, with all that that means for strain to flexor tendons when they like to go long in the toe, and concussion to the pedal bone when they have a tendency to go high in the heel…
You would not believe how many discussion I have with people whose “horses are having trouble going barefoot” and they are only getting trimmed every 6-8 weeks… I’ve managed to back away from touch ups every time I ride, to a three week cycle (with 5 horses, that’s a LOT better for me!)