Saturday, June 5, 2010

Did it!

Boo: one done, one not

Boo before

Boo after

We have been hearing about it for what... three years now? "I'm gonna do my own horses feet." "These freaking farriers are all so lame..blah blah blah!" Well, I did do it...FINALLY! I paid for a very nice, very smart ,very funny gal to come here for the day and hold my hand through the process( and take over when I wanted to cry from tiredness and anxiety). I want to clarify here that I did not become a farrier after one class, I became the principle hoof trimmer for my own horses feet to be checked and rechecked by people with way more experience than me. I have also been reading about and watching this process for years. Frankly to quote a well known reality TV personality "Its not rocket surgery." Back breaking hard work when left for 5.5 solid weeks at the peak of summer hoof growth...Yes! Rocket surgery ? No! I learned I have a decent eye for feet, so that's good and that I'm a total dork nose when it comes to handling tools. One rasped wrist, and two sweaty armpits while handling a very sharp hoof knife later, I was relieved to know that if I stick to the plan I wont have to handle the more lethal of hoof tools.

The run down? Well as far as technical difficulty everyone will be glad to know that with just 8 feet between two horses, I get beginner, intermediate and advanced levels to hone my skills on. Add to that the "little" trouble I have handling said sets of feet and well, Its a process that's for sure! Between learning what is white line, what is water line, what is live sole and the fact that flares aren't just on the sides of the horses feet, my head was fairly spinning with data. I was gently reminded that I wouldn't accept Boo's very rough behavior (even for her) in a horse in training and that gave me the impetus to really ask more from her. By the end she was standing with out hay calmly and fairly quietly while I labored over a back hoof. I didn't take pictures of Cuervos feet as they seemed less obviously in need but the biggest surprise being that it will take about a year to fix his issues. Lets just say that the widest part of his foot is not where it needs to be and leave it at that!

My recommendation after using my "Mattel/baby" tools and Lisa's "big girl" tools is: BUY THE BEST TOOLS AVAILABLE! You are not saving time, money or your back otherwise. I plan to continue posting pictures of our progress for my own records as well as to get in put from anyone wishing to comment. My new schedule for horse feet is simple and easy. one set of hind feet from the bottom only day one, day two bottoms of one set of front feet, day three, tops of one set of hind feet and day four tops of one set of front feet. The following week repeat on horse #two. No more four or five weeks for my horses feet to get out of shape. If you think about it, how much progress in the right direction can one possibly make if you are leaving the hoof to get itself pulled all out of whack? Seems to me you would be only able to get the hoof back to where you got it 5 weeks ago, that is if it didn't break off so badly that you couldn't trim as you needed. Boo is trying desperately to get a good foot, she has folded over parts of hoof, grown a callus and is battling a very badly stretched white line which has allowed a fungus to take hold. Cuervo on the other hand is making due but shows his lack of progress in his contracted heels and small frogs. I am now confident we will get there, and that I can do it! Its great to not be reliant on someone else for my horses hoof care. Saving the 90 bucks a month isn't bad either.


  1. May I suggest you also consult with the Master of trimming,Pete Ramey.He has several videos and books that will help you master trimming your own horse.

  2. you could also contact my sister, marilyn gilligan who has fixed many hooves-navicular-rotated coffin bones, even coffin bones coming thru the sole. and most of them have become riding sound. shame we did not get around to discussing hooves when you were here . anyway her number is 910-603-0411-she lives near columbia, sc

  3. nathan, thanks I do have his books and am looking for used vids....

    Charlene, would your sister come all the way out Shelby? We moved!