|August 2013: Doesn't look like much, but these hoof shavings took a lot of work to produce!|
Wow! It has been forever since I wrote a hoof trimming post. This was not so much due to a lack of trimming as it was a lack of photos. I continued to maintain Harley's feet while I was expecting our daughter. Thankfully, this was not as arduous a task as one might expect. My arms remained reliably strong throughout my pregnancy. They were perhaps the only part of me that did not transform in some shape or form from day one to the birth day. Trimming was actually a welcomed activity, especially as my list of activities decreased as the weeks progressed. It wasn't easy, but it was doable and I believe "relatively" safe under the given circumstances (me trimming Harley). How did I make the feat (hehe) of trimming my horse while pregnant possible? Here were my strategies:
- Only trim a sane, reliable horse who knows me very well and respects my space and boundaries: check. Harley was as solid as they get. He can get fidgety, but he was saintly quiet for all of my "expectant" hoof trims. Did he know?
- Do not let Harley's feet get away from me. I was very careful to almost never allow a scheduled trim pass. I religiously trimmed his feet every three weeks and kept up with the bars diligently.
- Only trim a pair of feet on each visit. This cut my work in half, but required two days of trimming. Since I couldn't ride my horse in the end, I did not mind the extra time we spent together working on his feet. In fact, I quite enjoyed it. I kept the work spaced so that I had a week between front and hind foot trims. I usually keep this schedule during the summer months anyway, because it is just too darn hot and buggy to trim all four!
- Use the hoof stand. Enough said.
- Use very new, sharp rasps...
- And use two rasps! I had a standard (14"), super sharp rasp for taking down excess hoof wall quickly. I used my usual shorter (12") Ladies' rasp for the bevel.
- Have a back-up plan if I am unable to continue trimming my horse. I did not make any phone calls, but I am sure that the farrier or trimmer who frequents our barn would have helped me out in a pinch. It was not my first choice to let someone else trim my horse, because I did not want to worry about a new person affecting my horse's feet (especially with all those worrisome hormones reeking havoc on my sentiments).
- Be willing to let his feet grow longer than normal "at the end".
There was also an unforeseen benefit to not riding or working my horse for the last two months of my pregnancy: his hoof growth slowed down. I was really surprised, but he did not have any flaring from excess growth and barely any mechanical separation. I was shocked about the last part. I thought for sure that I would have to do some damage control, but, honestly, he was no worse for the wear. What a relief, because I had plenty to worry about during those first weeks with our daughter. Not having to worry about the state of my beloved horse's feet was much appreciated.
Unfortunately, I did not have time to take photos of his feet when I trimmed them in June. They looked surprisingly good, just long. I wanted very badly to document them, but I was in whirlwind mode and nothing was stopping me long enough to snap photos. Plus the bugs were killer that day and Harley was not a happy camper. By July, I sort of got my photography act together.
|July 2013 before his trim: This was the second trim since baby.|
|July 2013: Self-trimming going on here at four to five weeks (heat wave delayed our trim). Wowsers.|
|July 2013: Post-trim hinds|
|July 2013: Harley looking cute, but also wanting for grass (he is not smiling in this picture). He was not amused by photo ops on this day, because he was already feeling the effects of baby infringing on his grazing time.|
|August 2013: Now we're talking!|
|2-months old: Pink zebras are almost ponies!|