|I am getting better with the hoof stand.|
|Taking pictures while using the hoof stand is another story.|
After my initial frustrations with trying to use the Hoof Jack, I sought out professional help. Even though I trim Harley's feet, our barn still has a regular farrier that takes care of most of the other horses. He happened to be around shortly after I last wrote about my failed attempts to use the stand for trimming. Although, he was not familiar with using the cradle, he did give me some very helpful pointers:
- Raise the post so that you have to lift the horse's foot onto the post. I had set the post too low. After practicing with his stand, which is a standard metal farrier stand with no height adjustment, I set my post to the same height as his stand. This is about at the level of my knee.
- Use your knee to lift the horse's hoof onto the post. This was a simple, but very helpful tidbit. I watched him lift my horse's foot using his knee and hands. This also leaves one hand free if you need to move the stand a little bit for the best placement of the hoof. After watching, I was able to imitate his technique. What a difference!
- Always keep at least one foot on the stand, so that the horse cannot topple the stand or knock it onto you. Enough said. Good advice.
Thank you for all of your help and advice, Mr. Farrier!
Once I had used the stand to finish the top of Harley's feet, I got more comfortable with the idea of trying the cradle again. My friend said that she tried it and her horse stood very nicely. She said that it was much easier to trim his feet using the cradle, so I decided to give it another shot.
And you know what? It worked.
I tried keeping the stand a little higher, even with the cradle, and Harley was much better about keeping his foot in the stand. I tried using my knee to steady his foot as I trimmed the bottom and that worked, too. The trim was completed in a little more timely fashion and I did not have to keep putting my horse's foot down to take breaks. I definitely felt less tired when his front feet were finished. By the time I got to his hind feet, I had found a way to steady his foot in the cradle so that I could use TWO hands (that's right, I said two hands) to work the rasp. In over two years of trimming, that was a first. YES!
Harley is usually a good boy, but he was super good for his hind feet. I think that he actually got to liking the stand. He stayed relaxed and did not mind keeping his foot in the stand for much longer than he lets me hold it on my own. I was pretty amazed.
|Harley and his new friend.|
Three weeks of growth has proven, once again, to be bordering on too much time between trims in the summer months. Harley's outer walls started to crack a little bit and the white line at the toe became wonky. Thankfully, this is a minor hiccup that does not affect his soundness.
|Just needs to be finished from the top with my new stand!|
|Right front wonkiness.|
|Left front to match. The hinds had something similar going on.|
I just rasp up to the white line to relieve the pressure at the hoof wall and keep the toe short. The issue should resolve itself by the next trim as long as I do not wait too long to pick up the rasp. This sort of thing tends to happen in the summer and confirms to me that I cannot leave him to self-trim. Despite 24/7 turnout, we just do not have the variety of terrain to take off enough hoof without my help. Even riding him almost every day (which I have not been able to do this year do to severe weather and heat, but I have done in previous summers) does not make much of a dent. He just grows even more hoof!