Thursday, June 23, 2011

My Barefoot Horse: Summer Trim

I trimmed Harley's feet on the first day of summer.  Ironically, it was not as hot as many of our spring days have been.  It is a lot worse to trim feet than it is to ride on really hot days, so I decided to trim now and ride the next time that I see him.  I generated these photo comparisons in the best, free computer program ever: Paint!

Comparison of the front feet before and after the trim

Comparison of the hind feet before and after the trim
The weather has gone from rainy and muddy to dry and hot very quickly.  His frogs are thrush-free now and have fattened up some since the spring.  The central sulcus on each foot has widened and is clean.  The left hind developed an asymmetrical crease that worked its way up the frog toward the apex.  I treated with Absorbine thrush remedy, holding the foot up so the solution could drain into the crease.  The infection was stubborn, but is finally gone.  He did not show great tenderness while I was treating it, but he did pull his foot away a couple times.  In motion, he was fine, but this is a good, minor (thankfully) example of how bacterial or fungal infections can eat the frog and cause pain.  We are lucky enough to have 24/7 turnout, with stall time only for meals, but perpetual mud is still enough to allow thrush to take hold of the frog.

I am very happy with the way his heels have strengthened.  They used to be less wide, like they were not doing their share of the weight-bearing.  Now, the heels are much more robust, with the exception of the medial heel on the right hind.  This is also the foot that I have to remind him to keep under his body in left lead canter or his balance dissolves.  As his balance under saddle has improved, so have his heels.  This begs the question "Which came first, good balance or good heels?"

Fronts done with a nice bevel

Then the hinds

Petite profile determined by the horse, not the trimmer

Very cute, Harley
There was not much to take off these feet, but if I allow them to go much longer than two weeks, the outer walls begin cracking, attempting to self trim.  The white line also begins to stretch if I let this happen.  If we had a larger variety of surfaces (Some pea gravel would be nice!) and a paddock system that encouraged movement, he would probably be able to self-trim.  I do not consider roadwork in our area, because too many people race down the country road like it is the highway.  I would happily trade rasping-time for saddle-time if there was a quiet road to walk along.

Are we done yet?

Seriously.  I want carrots now.

Harley likes to do a little of his own trimming.

Buckskin highlights

My Love


  1. I read the Rockley blog and plan about my future pasture. It will have a track and it will have abrasive footing. Trimming every two weeks gets old when it's really hot or really cold!

    I hear ya on the thrush, I've been struggling with it for months. I've finally just put oxine in a spray bottle and now they get spritzed everyday. Fortunately it's making a difference.

  2. There are many things from Rockley Farm that I would like to incorporate in my dream farm some day!

    I stay on top of thrush as best I can. I treat with prevention in mind, but when I was a kid I was just taught to put thrush buster on super gross feet, everything else was pretty much let go.


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