May 6, 2015

Lady Farrier

Funder's comment on my Fit Kit post was like a 2x4 to the head. It was much needed. After reading that I made a plan: find a new farrier, make appointment in near future, order fit kit again to try on during the appointment. Perfect, right?

Well, last night I went out to *gasp* ride my horse and was not happy with her hoofsies at all. They were long, tall and the left front had some separation on the lateral hoof wall from the pressure. I admit to mild panic and a frantic call to my friend's barefoot trimmer.

I left a message and hoped to be able to get in with her soon. She called me back within a half hour and was easy to talk to. Apparently she comes from 2 hours away and informed me that she would be over my way Wednesday morning for a barn of draft horses and then not again until the 23rd. Well, the 23rd would be too long to wait and so she agreed to meet me at 0630 prior to her other appointment. A+ for flexibility!!

Of course this meant my second Fit Kit trial plan was dead. No way could I get a set in 10 hours time.  Oh well.

Poor Gemmie. She was so excited to see me at 0600. The only times I ever go to the barn at dawn are to drag her to an endurance ride and man was she ready to go. She came walking up to me from the back of her pasture and nearly pulled me to the trailer. Then, once tied to the trailer, she began her pre ride stretching routine: sticking her butt in the air and stretching out her front legs with a satisfied grunt. I felt so bad having to tell her we weren't going anywhere. She really isn't enjoying her vacation right now. I also noticed that she is looking extremely pudgy, borderline fat. A month ago I would have rated her a beautiful 5 on BCS and now she is looking like a 6.5. I ran into the BO on my way out and he laughed saying that he noticed it too. She isn't even getting any hay or grain right now. He pulled all the pasture horses off when the grass started growing. I need to ride more!!!

Lady Farrier showed up and was just as easy to talk to in person as on the phone. I have studied barefoot hooves as much as I could without being a professional and I could tell she was a) impressed with my knowledge base and ability to hold an intelligent conversation about hoof form and function and b) very curious as to why I don't trim her myself. I told her I was being a chicken about it and she laughed and promised to get me comfortable.

She looked Gem over and was happy with the health and strength of her feet. She really has awesome feet even when looking a little wonky. She did take quite a bit off and made them a shape I don't think I have ever seen on her before.

She did tell me a few things that I took home with me:
  • Her natural medial to lateral balance is very good

  • She does have high heels that will need to be kept up on. However this isn't as scary as I thought. She said that as long as you keep the heel and toe relationship the same ( have to take as much toe off as heel) the overall weight bearing surface remains the same and therefore the tendons and ligaments will be used the same. If you take more heel off than toe then you effectively move the weight bearing surface. the process of lowering Gem's heels we are going to be limited in how much toe we can bring back each time, but eventually it can be done safely and allow her to remain sound. She took them down quite a bit, but not to where she would be happy for them to stay permanently. This will take time.

  • She has a slight upward flare of the toe on both her fronts causing a mild dish to the hoof wool as it goes from hairline to toe. This is causing a very superficial (2mm in depth) central vertical line which I have been noticing lately. If left uncared for or let to get more severe this can develop a crack. Hers is nowhere near that, but was good to have explained.

  • She does not ever touch the plantar surface (is the bottom called that in horses like in people?) with a rasp. Ever. She states that it disrupts the hoof fibers and enhances the anterior dishing. She only uses a hoof knife there and uses the rasp on the toe (which man did she take a ton of toe) and to smooth the sides.
At the end I was happy with how they looked although I will admit they looked pretty different than I have ever seen on her. Much more like a normal hoof. Gem seemed to walk off in the pasture just fine. The true test will come on Saturday.

She recommended 4 weeks which wasn't a surprise at all, but also isn't something I plan to do forever. She is back out on May 23rd, but that is only 2 weeks and way too soon for me to fork over another $50. I mentioned this to her because it then pushes Gem to 6 weeks. She then gave me a rasp to use and told me to maintain her until then and she will come out and take a look. How awesome for her to give me a rasp?!

My plan is to keep using her until I get more comfortable with doing her myself. I need to get a handle for the rasp and maybe even a hoof stand to use as it looked much easier than holding the hoof myself. I'll have Lady Farrier out again in 6 weeks to check my work and perhaps order the Fit kit again for then. I need the boots for September and want to get some conditioning on them before the ride so need to order them by the end of July.

Here are some pics I grabbed afterward. One day I will need to walk her over to the driveway to get her on even ground, but for now these will have to work. Please chime in and let me know what you think of this trim!!!!!

Both fronts. You can kinda sorta see the superficial vertical lines I talked about. Nothing major, but present nonetheless.

Front right sole shot. Sorry for the dirt obscuring most of it. Her frog is looking better already and after this trim I know it will be loading weight.
Front left. Better view of those vertical lines she showed me.
Lateral view of front. You can see the slight dishing from hair line to toe. Heel still high, but a big improvement from pre trim.
Front right from behind. Lower heel height.
Hind foot, I think the right. Heels still high but improved. Toe much, much shorter than I've ever had her.

I'm getting myself confused, but I think this is her front right?

Right hind. Shorter toe, better heel.

Left hind sole view.. Very robust frog.

Left hind lateral view.

Front view of one of the hind hooves. Not sure which.

So....thoughts on this trim? Does it suck as bad as the last?? Continue moving forward? With the help of some great videos from Liz I am more confident in trimming her myself for the next 6 weeks and then having Lady Farrier out again unless something in this post is a major red flag to someone.


  1. She did a BEAUTIFUL trim! Gem's feet look a MILLION times better and I'm so glad that this trimmer is approachable, willing to teach you and was able to fit you in sooner rather than later! Interesting about not rasping from below: I've always thought that re: disrupting the horn fibers but had not heard a farrier or trimmer say it. After trimming from above, I flip to see the hoof from below to make sure I still have plenty of wall, and do some quick swipes side to side with the smoother side of the rasp to finish the roll.

    I need to get pics of Gracie's feet for you. They really do look a lot like Gem's when Gem's are shorter. :)

    1. Thanks! When Dusty saw her on Saturday he remarked how much they actually looked like normal hooves for once. I think we might have found our new farrier.

  2. Her feet look SO much better! You're definitely headed in the right direction now! She sounds like a great trimmer. I'm impressed. Wish we had folks like that up here.