Sunday, February 13, 2011

Trimmer visit Jan. 22, 2011

(Playful Bud is not the most appreciated pony at the moment!)

Things are looking great for Buttercup. She actually seems to be having a second foal-hood — further cementing my theory that because laminitis begins in the hindgut of actually processing the sugar that comes in, she's been uncomfortable for years before her hooves became an actual problem.

She's jumping all over her pasture-mate and causing general chaos at her caretaker's barn. And unfortunately, because she's become rather destructive with her feel-goodery, she will be finding a new home here soon ... whether that's back at the barn near me or with her trimmer, Scott.

We are facing a move back to Charleston, S.C., this summer so things will be in transition for us over the next four to six months. If I neglect things here, it's not because the saga is over. It's just that moving is really super stressful!

Onto the latest and greatest trim!



Let me start by saying, putting yourself out there on the Internet when it comes to hoof rehabilitation is hard, especially as a layman. I'm often asked things about Bud's hooves that I really don't have a clue about. But the great part about it is that it helps me view her progress a bit more objectively.

No one wants to see progress more than me — even to the point of seeing it when it really isn't there. The mind often sees what it wants it to see. I'm happy to share my story, not only to help others but also to objectively view my own horse, who I love dearly, and my own decisions. I haven't always made the right decision, but I try to make those decisions for the right reasons.

So, while these hoof pics here aren't 100% great, I think we've been making great progress. But I want to point out where these hooves can be improved. I think I've been to rosy lately and have not been as critical as I should be. So here's where I find issues:

(Left and right, respectively.) While the balance between both sides of the hoof, dissected, has drastically improved and really looks positive, the thickness of the bars and its location to the actual heel are still very thick and far forward. Where the buttresses of the heel are at the top horizontal line, is near where the bars should start ... not near that bottom horizontal line.

Her bars have been an issue and the current program is to keep backing them up slowly with each trim. Why? Well, I'll let Scott answer that one (excuse the typos, he was typing from his phone):

This is the thing in some trim methods they say cut them (the bars) out and in some others they say don't touch. So what I have done that works for me is this I will take them out and I mean really get them out ONLY when the rest of the hoof is in good shape to carry the load remember the number one RULE I DON'T WANT them to be SORE I have found that if I just dig out the bars every time the horse will step off so I try to get all the other things healthy FROG. BALANCE. Hoof wall. Heels. Toe. And when just a few of those things happen the other things get better like the bars and the horse was in work moving happy. Its like training I'm not focused on what's wrong and attacking that problem I'm just going to work on things that are going to fix the problem like softness. Hip. Shoulder. Poll. Neck. Collection. In buttrercups case it was frogs first. Balance. Toe con cavity. And hoof wall crack is where we are now I think she has made good hoof growth we just have to keep working

Thank you, Scott. Love hoof care professionals that don't mind a few questions!

To show that we have had further positive growth in the hoof, I've taken lines to the lateral views of the hooves:

To those wanting to know why I didn't follow the exact angle of the hoof wall: 1) she still has separation and the hoof wall is not a good judge of angle on the hoof that way, and 2) I did it from the actual break-over point of the hoof, which does show a more accurate angle. Also, these images, while fairly good, are not angled correctly for best angle assessment.

Her heel, while curved under, is not drastically wrapped under or at a severe discordance with her toe angle.

Oh forget this critical approach! I'm just happy my little Bud has made any progress at all!


  1. what a great blog entry. i love that you've been brave enough to post in such detail, and to do the drawings and even post a message from your trimmer!

    i wish my horse had frogs like that - we're still battling thrush and the central sulcus is so deep on each hoof. i'm treating 3 of 4 now with pete's goo, which should work if i do it everyday.

    i'm amazed that buttercup doesn't even seem to have a CS on that one hoof.

    i'm encountering a lot of blood areas (bruises in the hoof) as i rasp lately, signs of the damage done by months of walking on ice and hard snow. it kind of freaks me out. have you seen this on buttercup?


  2. Lytha, thank you!

    Those frogs have been a work in progress. Here's the post from December 2009 where it was incredibly atrophied:

    One of the things Scott does to help the frog "breathe" and reduce chance of thrush is he removes and flaps over the collateral groove, and also any groove by the central groove (sulcus). Here's an image of one of his dug-out grooves: (this horse grows a deep groove because of his contracted frogs caused by some poor farrier work ... as his heel and bars have been given the right stuff, this frog has expanded slightly, making the groove less deep over time.

    Regular lysol-soakings also really help keep infection down! Do 1 oz concentrated lysol (in the brown bottle; do you have that in Germany?) in 1 gallon of water. Soak each hoof for about 15 minutes. This can be done as little as once a week or every other week, but if infection is present, do it every three days or so.

    As far as the bruising, we live on the coastal plain, so not only do we get a pass on most winter frozen ground, but we also end up with very soup winters with very wet, soft ground!

    Of course, white hooves, like Buttercup's, tend to show actual bruises better than dark hooves. All hooves bruise. However, when it becomes a soundness issue, that's when it needs to be addressed.

    If your horse's hoof is not sound enough to withstand its conditions, it could create a detrimental cycle and become unable to heal itself imo. In this case, turnout boots (like the Easy Boot Rxs) with perhaps a frog pad (provides frog stimulation! So healthier frog!) may be a good course of action for a few weeks. Then gradually wean the horse off the boots once the horse's hoof becomes stronger.

    Hope that helps! Best of luck :)

  3. wow those are great pics, thanks. we seem to have the atrophied look in winter a lot over here.

    the pic of the trimmed grooves and cs doesn't look too extreme at all to me, just normal trimming of the rough spots to reduce thrush.

    i'm leaving the rough spots (atrophied areas) because right now they are helping hold my cotton wads in with the pete's goo. if i trimmed it away the cotton would not stay in. they often stay in for 24 hours which is good, i think.

    there is no lysol in germany and i know no equivalent.

    i hope to have my trimmer out soon and do a hoof update with photos. it's been a while.

    thanks again,


  4. I don't know if you can find comments on old posts but I'm going to leave one anyway: Looking at the bottom of your horse's feet it looks like her entire sole might actually be covered by bar material- in which case you'd need to very carefully cut it off so that the sole can grow out from under it.

    I say this because she doesn't look like she's got much concavity and the surface looks weird- shiny and waxy instead of pebbly like sole should look.

    Ask you trimmer about this and see if he'll take a very small slice out of what you currently think is the sole. You should be able to look at that sliver and determine what exactly it is. If it is bar don't be surprised if you see some bruising under it.

  5. Sma, thanks for the input! I know he regularly takes down the "dead" parts of the sole, scooping it out. I'll make sure to ask him next time I see him. It does look very waxy in the pics, doesn't it?

    She has concavity there (more than she's ever had in her entire life) and I'll make sure to get actual good pictures to show that next time I see her.

    Thanks again! (I put my comments on "approval" so it notifies me when folks post; I did it because I got inundated with spammer ... I think "trimmer" might have been triggering it lol)