Sunday, August 26, 2012

3 Years Work

I have written about trimming feet, my horses and the Appies, a few times. One of these days I will tell about the horse who started it all for me, but this will be about Rebel, one of the Appies. Rebel is an 18yr old 16h Appaloosa gelding who when I started trimming him was dealing with ring bone in both is front fetlocks. Pain caused him to be pretty violent in his behavior during the trims. After he nearly gave his owner a black eye, we began to use drugs to slow him down.
Over the last 3 years we have gone from doing 1 or 2 hooves at a time to being able to do 4 hooves every 4-5 weeks. It is still a difficult process that takes 3 people to achieve, but we are finally seeing results. Like many horses Rebel has two different front feet, a bit upright in the right and a bit under run in the left. Because I have limited time to work on him (patience is always and issue) I focus on bringing his toes back. I want him to have an easier time breaking over. Rebel also has an issue with landing flat. He tends, especially on the left to walk on the outside of his hoof. The problem I have is he has built up sole on that foot causing part of the problem. Each trim I take a bit off, but not too much because he has had a close call with founder recently. I know of horses, with previous founder, that were okay until their sole was trimmed and the coffin bone rotated.
His right front is the hardest to work on, because he gives us very little time to hold it in the cradle. Some days he is too lame to try anything. It can be frustrating to see what needs to be done, but being unable to do the job. Two trims ago, I had to leave the right front undone completely and with summer growth that killed me. Last trim, he cooperated and I caught up a little.
Saturday was his trim after five weeks. As we walked him in from the field, I noticed he did not slow when we went on the pavement. Normally the concussion causes him pain and makes him more cautious on pavement, so him moving well equals a very good sign. Rebel got his shot and we let it work while I trimmed his daughter. When it was his turn, he did not look very sleepy. Mom decided to help distract him by feeding him pieces of carrots. Plus his owner finally gave him bute for 3 days before the trim. We started on his right front, get the worst done first. Surprisingly I was able to trim his bars, some sole and toe. A major achievement for his level of patience. The left front still has too much sole, so I trimmed what I could and trimmed his toe. Pulling them forward, I rounded his toes and took some of his flare off.
This time after I finished his front feet, I actually felt like my work was paying off and helping Rebel. His hooves are not textbook, but if I had before pictures to compare the change is amazing to me. Here are a few pictures, only front and side view. Bottom view will have to come next time.


  1. Do you have any sole shots? Or shots from behind the hooves showing the lateral cartilage? Also- try rolling the whole wall, all the way around the heels. That will help with the under-running and make him a little more comfortable.

    1. I will get better pictures next time. These were spur of the moment taken with my cell.
      Never thought of rolling the whole wall, good point.
      It has definitly been a learning experience working with Rebel.