Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Christmas message?

Well, here is the best shot at a Christmas message from Rockley - make of it what you like, but compare and contrast the following emails from 2 different owners about 2 different horses.  Both horses have (or had) asymmetric hooves and have had "issues" in the past. 
Email 1, from an owner whose horse who has not been trimmed for nearly 4 months although his hoof health has been carefully monitored.  He is in regular work.

"Big thumbs up from the physio, he's not 100% but she said he's like a completely different horse  -much better :-)  You'll probably find this funny, the physio said his feet weren't very pretty - I took it as a compliment."

The second email is from someone whose horses' hooves I used to look after but can't get to now.  Actually the horse she is talking about is one I never, ever trimmed, even though I saw him every 6 weeks, because he had compensations in his feet which were necessary in order for him to be comfortable and load evenly.  His owner often asked me if I should make his feet look "prettier" but each time I saw him we talked about his comfort levels, how he was moving and his improving capability on tough terrain and decided he did better left alone.

I handed the horses over to someone else nearly a year ago.

"When you came to see my boys, you never touched [him] but every time [???] has come he has been trimmed and gradually over time he has become more and more footsore, whereas before, he could walk over anything.   [???] is due to visit us soon and [his] front feet, as usual,  have worn on the outside but not on the inside.  My question is, should his feet be trimmed bearing in mind they are now so sore?"

What do you think?


alimac said...

Very interesting. I have just changed from a trimmer back to a farrier. The farrier has been twice to check his feet. The first time he took a miniscule amount off his front feet to put his breakover to where the horse 'wanted' it. The second time he did nothing. So in 11 weeks he has had nothing off his feet, other than self trimming. He is now rock crunching and this is the first time in 2 years of being barefoot he has been! Yes his feet are not 'pretty' as they used to be but who cares, he certainley doesn't! Less is definately more in my book!

Jassy Mackenzie said...

Very interesting! Nic, I emailed you a while ago about my young TB's frog issues. I'm lucky to have the most awesome trimmer who is sensitive to the needs of the horse and since then we have adopted a very much "less is more" approach with both of my boys but especially him.

One of the interesting things we noticed is that when she looked at his feet after 3 weeks (she was there for another horse), she commented that his off hind toe was getting a bit long and asked if I'd like her to trim it. She said she was surprised because last time he'd gone to five weeks and the hoof had been fine.

I said no - rather wait - so we did and guess what? When she came yesterday she couldn't believe it - the off hind had normalised, worn itself down (we'd been doing a good amount of work) and nothing needed to be taken from the toe at all!

spanner07 said...

So interesting, I hope the second emailer is able to find a supportive trimmer/farrier who has learnt that beauty is as beauty does. Since Orbit came to visit you neither have been touched but have worked hard - well, they are on the form of their lives! Physio out twice since (it's an obsession of ours!) and is really pleased with her - she is going so well that I have been able to tick seeing her jump in Harpbury main arena from my bucket list! Alot to be said to leaving the trimming to the expert, thank you for helping us see that.

Nic Barker said...

I love your stories, guys - so interesting and wonderful to hear - rockcrunching has to be the way to go, Alimac!

Jassy, fab to hear about your youngsgter, thats really good news :-)

And as for Orbit - I am thrilled, and well done to you two for all your hard work. One big complaint - where are the photos of her in the main arena?! Fantastic job!

jenj said...

As "good horse mums," I always want to DO something to fix my horse's problems. It's harder to leave well enough alone than it is to spend money on the latest supplements or try a new trimmer or something else. The problem is, how do you know when it's best to take action and when it's best to leave it alone? That's the million-dollar question for sure!

I do hope the second emailer is able to find a happy medium for her horse, where he is not footsore.

cptrayes said...

I think she should listen to her horse - he's screaming in her ear!


Nic Barker said...

>how do you know when it's best to take action and when it's best to leave it alone?

My golden rule -when the horse moves better, is sounder, loads better when left alone, then that's when trimming should be put on hold.

Form follows function.

Healthy, strong feet will develop with good nutrition and correct work. Probably then, trimming will be irrelevant.

Unknown said...

I totally agree with "leave alone if horse gets worse with trimming" as duly taught by Kingsley.

Just a random thought - seeing hooves are always changing in response to work the horse does...and seeing the shape and sensitivity is dynamic and changes in response to biomechanics and diet etc....
Seeing all that, I wonder if leaving hooves without shoes AND corrective trimming would make us all pay more attention to how we school/train/compete our horses.
If, let's say, schooling/dressage a horse with weak back muscle at a level it is not ready for, in hollow outline and by a rider with underdeveloped seat would cause the horse degree of back pain that would quickly lead to more limb strain that would then lead to sensitivity in bare feet/lameness then perhaps the whole training would become wiser.
As it is, so many issues in the horses' bodies that are the results of uneducated riding can go on and on for a year or longer. These issues are "treated" and "cured" for a moment only to resurface with greater force and show up as lameness.
Perhaps having horses barefoot and largely self-trimming, a horse that shows any issues in weeks or days rather than years, we would grow more sensitive to training the whole horse and be more tune in to their needs and body issues.

Now, that's a random Boxing Day thought ;)
All the best,