Thursday, August 28, 2008

Holy Hooves

Took Chewie to a new farrier this morning. Mr Don is a "friend of a friend". We spoke on the phone yesterday afternoon. He said a few things I liked - questions about Chewie's diet, weight, riding habits, ground manners, when do the shoes fly off. He said a few things I didn't like - riders cause shoes to fall off, and pastures cause shoes to fall off, but farriers aren't to blame, and it's nearly impossible for a horse to remove a shoe on his own, most horses in the area are overfed, and Chewie is probably fatter than I say he is.

So, I agreed to take Chewie to him today, a little apprehensive about the whole thing. Chewie loaded up like an angel, almost telling me he was okay. The trip was foggy as pea soup, but we made it. Arrived about ten minutes early - I thought I'd be there earlier, but I didn't plan on driving through soup.

Mr Don was very serious, and very firm. He watched Chewie walk just a little before starting. I asked him to explain everything he was doing, and he wasn't so much able to do that. I do wish I'd thought to take pictures before, during, and after. Perhaps ya'll farrier folks that read the blog could've explained more for my little scientist brain to understand. Mr Don set the left shoe on about 1/2" behind his toe, and after hot-setting it, nailed it right in place. I was a little puzzled, but when I asked any question like, "Why are you doing it that way?", he would respond, "Because that's where the foot is telling me it needs to be."

From what I saw, he set the shoe back 1/2", rasped the front down, set the shoes a little wider than the hooves on both (front right inside more than any of the other three side edges). He added a nifty pad to the right front, it was thin around the outside, and had an oval-shaped pad squishy part in the middle. Good thing, because Chewie's sole was soft & tender on that hoof.

Essentially, I did learn a few things. Well, let me rephrase. Mr Don said a few things, and some of them I understood, some of them I need to learn & study more.
1) Chewie's P2 & P3 are separating from the laminae, evidenced by the inner sag just above his hoof. I need to read more .... But, Mr Don said this has been caused by the lack of balance on his hoof, and the bones have been pushed down further & further. We're hoping the trim he did today will begin the rebalancing process, and when the coronary band "sees" the extra shoe, it'll start to stretch out, and the laminae will reattach their little selves to P2 & P3, bringing them back up where they belong.

2) Chewie was quicked three times at his last shoe-ing. Once on right front, twice on left front. I was shocked. Saw it with my own two eyes - the nail holes were inside the hoof wall, set on the sole. OUCH!

3) When the shoes were set, but toes not rasped down, Mr Don asked me to lunge him briefly at trot. Chewie was sound headed left, lame headed right. Right front inside still brought pain. Later, after all four hooves were trimmed, he had me lunge again. Chewie was better... still a bit lame going right, but better. When we got home, I tried again, with a little bit more improvement.

4) Found a pulse above the heel, but above all the ankle bones. Found the right front to have a heavier pulse than the left front. Mr Don asked that I keep checking it, and we're hoping the left front will go away completely (i.e. won't be able to detect it), and the right will decrease a little every day. Right front pulse won't go away for a long time, due to the shape the hoof is in.

I am going to take some pictures this weekend & post them up. Any farrier folks reading the blog, please feel free to email me (address found in the profile), and any advice you can offer, or explanations, I'm all-ears. This is something I've left to somebody else for too long, and it's high-time I start knowing enough to be aware of what questions to ask.

Oh! And, Mr Don is "CLF certified"... whatever that means. Need to study up on that, too.


fssunnysd said...

Hmmm - really interesting! I'm no help as to what it all means, but it's interesting. Sounds like Chewie is happier, which is great!

Mrs Mom said...

Umm... just my two cents here, as a rehabber of hooves....

If you do not have a current radiograph, (or better yet a zeroradiograph, but I dont know where you would get one of those out by you,) or if maybe this shoer has x-ray vision, he is *guessing*.

Just like anyone else who can "see" inside of a hoof- unless you have a detailed set of xrays, you can not tell how much rotation or separation has happened/ is happening. Pulses in lower limbs indicate trauma, and/ or a laminitic incident. If you have a horse with a past history of laminitis, and you STILL have pulses, then you have some health issues inside that hoof capsule.

If the sole is tender, and your shoer suspects changes to the bony structure inside the hoof, I would STRONGLY reccomend a current, comprehensive set of xrays, and formulate a treatment plan from there.

The indication of P-2/ P3 separation he mentioned--- sounds ike a potential sinker to me. Again- Get Xrays.

Good luck with Chewie there, and keep us posted....

Jennifer said...

I think you're correct that x-rays would be helpful, and this probably makes me sound like a horrible horse-owner, but my choices are probably to haul him to TAMU, or maybe Bay City. Both would leave me more broke than I already am.

"Potential sinker".. please translate, or rephrase. Permanent, no solution, horse is useless?

Mrs Mom said...

Sinker is when the coffin bone (AKA: P3) drops through the sole of the hoof. Cost to rehab is prohibitive. Most often euthanasia is the option, and for good reason. If oyu have never seen a horse with a bone poking through the bottom of his hoof, trust me- you do not want to. If you want, send us pics. That might help tremendously.

I am NOT trying to scare you here, and am NOT NOT NOT trying to "make" you get xrays. But I have seen horses with sinker. Trust me here- you do not want to see that, or be part of it.

I also tried to look up CLF certification, and cant find it. There is C*J*F which is a Certified Journeyman Farrier, normally associated with American Farriers Assn. The only certifications that I am aware of are:
MF- Master Farrier
CJF- Certified Journeyman Farrier
BWFA- Brotherhoof of Working Farriers
DEP- Equine POdiatrist, cert via KC LaPierres program
The Guild of Professional Farriers has some other certs as well, and I know I missed them. Couldnt find C*L*F though... Sorry...

Oh- email for pix if you would like to send them: