Friday 6 June 2014

The horse is the best trimmer

Duffy arrived 2 weeks ago with long hoof wall, overgrown frogs and a landing that was nowhere near as good as it should have been in a long term barefoot horse. However, he had been in quarantine for several weeks as he was coming back into the UK and it was clear his feet were itching to adapt and change. 
Seeing a foot like this, many people's first reaction would be to reach for the hoof knife and nippers and a few years ago I would have done the same. But really there is no need, because Duffy already knew exactly what he needed to - he just needed the movement to be allowed to do it. 
Here is the same foot 2 weeks later with no trimming but plenty of mileage on different surfaces. His landing is now clearly heel first, his frog looks fantastic and his heels and bars can do their job properly.
 A much shorter foot but its been achieved gradually and in response only to the stimulus Duffy has created as he has been moving around. Nothing has been removed except where the foot is already strong enough and the stimulus of the miles over which he has done this have already resulted in a more capable hoof internally as well as externally.
A comparison of the hoof from the front is interesting because the wall was so long at the toe that it had cracked and you can clearly see the leverage which was creating it. We often focus on cracks because they are such a visible problem but in fact in my experience they are rarely a primary issue and as the hoof becomes healthier they often sort themselves out. 
Two weeks later as you can see the toe has shortened and the crack is now superficial and should grow out quite easily. The hoof wall at the toe is untidy where the weak, unsupported wall has chipped away but that too is cosmetic and his feet should look rather smart in another fortnight. 

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