Friday, September 2, 2011

My Barefoot Horse: Late Summer Photos

Here are some current photos of Harley's feet.  I trimmed them about a week and a half ago.  The lightening speed growth of his walls have finally slowed down since the spring.

Just photos today?  Make it quick.  It's hay time.

Left front
Left hind
Right hind
Right front
I have changed a couple things about Harley's trim.  

The Bars
I trimmed the bars for the first time in a long, long time.  Up until this point, I pretty much left my knife in the tack room and scraped any chalky sole with the hoof pick.  After reading and rereading about bars and the pressure they can cause (dorsal surface) inside the hoof, I decided to carefully take them down to the level of the sole and flake away any chalky bar material that was overgrown.  I did this gradually and found that he exfoliated parts of his sole shortly thereafter.  Since then, it looks like he has gained concavity and a tougher sole, especially in the front feet.  The frogs are much fatter than in the spring.  The central sulcus thrush peskiness seems to have finally subsided, although I keep a watchful eye.  The rain has recently left the front frogs a little ragged on the surface, so I am treating as necessary.  The asymmetrical crevice in the left hind was the deepest and oddest, but it has just about grown out and is approaching the center of the frog again.  I like how his heels are looking.  Even the wimpy medial right heel seems a little more serviceable.  I daresay that the backs of his feet are slightly wider, again with more change in the fronts.

Finishing The Hoof From The Top
I am still without hoof stand, so I trim almost exclusively from the bottom.  It is very awkward to finish a nice bevel from the bottom.  I was hanging up-side-down under my horse trying to round his toes, when I decided that I should just try holding his hoof up in front instead.  This worked surprisingly well and he did not really lean on me.  Good Boy!  I was able to round the edges quickly and address a little bit of flare at the quarters, which I have not been able to see and reach at the same time before.  Harley seemed to find breathing in my ear and nuzzling my hair terribly amusing while I finished his fronts.  I am glad he is amused as I break my back trying to support his foot and rasp at the same time!  One day I will break down (only figuratively, I hope) and buy a stand.


  1. You got some funky shadows going on in that barn, I can't quite tell what I'm looking at on the fronts. I think you could take the heels down a bit more and take off some more of that overlying bar material.

    Looking at those hinds, see how the bars on the outside of the feet are still bent and sort of pulling those heels forward? You can bring those back a little more too.

    Pat yourself on the back, the bars look much better than they did last time! I don't have a hoof jack either but I need to buy one ASAP, they do make your life easier.

  2. Hi smazourek,
    Thanks for the input on the bars and heels. I am glad the bars look better to you. I will take them down more next time. They were at the level of the sole when I finished the last trim. The sole in the heel buttress usually exfoliates immediately afterward, even if I was super careful to take them down after scraping out any chalky material. I am not sure if he wants them like that or just grows a fast foot. I will take a look at the hind bars, too.

    The sun was low so the shadows are pretty odd on the fronts. Isn't he rockin' the 1/3 2/3 ratio?

  3. Harley has very nice looking feet! It seems as though you're doing an excellent job. Feet are the one part of my horse's anatomy that I don't really want to take on. My hesitation at working with feet strikes me as odd given how important I know that they are! As a compromise, I have found an excellent farrier who does beautiful work. I commend you for your willingness to tackle such a complicated and ever present job. Nice work!

  4. Thanks, Karen. I learned from a friend who trimmed him for a couple years before I took over. Keeping him out 24/7 and his diet are also a big part of the equation. I am lucky that he has lovely feet.

  5. I'm not great with foot stuff so I commend anyone who takes them on. I'd rather rely on my farrier. Harley's feet look good to me. Very cute picture of him on the crossties.

  6. I have been trimming like that for years and I finally got a hoof stand - it's magical. No more giant horses leaning on me.

  7. Some day I will have the magic, too!


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