Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Retro hooves

So Mel has inspired me to try to write more, in the hopes that by writing more I will actually write better. I've started using the notepad on my phone to jot down a phrase whenever a blog post occurs to me. Unfortunately, I'm going to Vegas to take the bar next week, so this whole plan will get derailed before it really starts - hopefully I can pick it back up in March.

Mel, can you see Flickr images now? I know you're commenting from free wifi places, but I don't know if work blocked Blogger or what. If it'll help, I'll rehost these on Blogger. Anybody else who can't see the pictures, let me know. Anyway, on to the content!

Horses' hooves are one of the most amazing things I've ever seen. It's perpetually amazing to me how much they change over time, with the climate, and with the workload. Dixie had really jacked up feet when I got her.

Dixie front left

The frogs were no more than an inch wide and almost completely rotted out with thrush. She was so untrusting that she'd try to fall on you if you insisted on picking her feet up, so I dared not yank a foot up and take a picture with the expensive camera. That led to me just never taking pictures of her feet, up til the middle of last year.

They really started to look more normal last summer, when we were in Ohio. Very flat, with stretched white lines - but definitely more round than oval, with healthier frogs.

Front left solar
Front right solar

When we moved to the high desert and I started riding every single day, they got nicer. That's when I first noticed the weird wear pattern and started taking pictures more frequently. Look at how much wider the frogs are! White line still stretched at the quarters, but tight at the toe. The bars are overgrown, but it looks like the whole back of the hoof is getting wider.

Left front asymmetrical
Right front solar

Then it snowed, and I noticed bruising at her toes. I think it was old bruising growing out - her toe callous has only gotten thicker, and she's not gimpy. The bars are still overgrown. The white lines look a bit tighter, too.

Egads, bruising.  LF solar.
RF sole bruising

The most recent shots look really nice. The bars look better, the white lines are pretty nice, the heels aren't as contracted, and either the toe is short or the frogs are HUGE.
Left front
RF 2

I can't decide if the snow pictures look better or worse than the newest pictures. (I think the angle of the snow picture is slightly different from the angle of the most recent picture.) I am positive the new pictures look 10x better than the Ohio pictures.

There's one weird thing I've noticed that is really hard to capture in pictures. I've kept the wonky toe evened out, but the other foot is doing the same thing, evenly. It's like she's wearing a toe rocker on both feet, but it's not just the wall - it's a slight bevel to the sole too. She seems totally comfortable, so I guess she has plenty of toe callous, and it's not like I've chopped it into her feet. Anybody seen what I'm talking about?


  1. wow, awesome photo documentary.

    i suspect that if she is rolling herself a rocker in toe wall and sole, it is due to all the exercise and actually a good thing. i would love to see that kind of wear pattern----if i had the opportunity for such movement!

    i'm no expert, i just suspect that she is wearing herself a healthy pattern.

    lack of exercise is really taking its toll on baasha's feet this month. sadly there isn't much i can do in these conditions. i just clean them and vinegar them: ) and sometimes scrub with betadine. and he gets very little sugar to eat.

    you said she didn't trust people with her feet, but we can't blame her - she was sure that it would hurt.

    such an improvement!

    p.s. if only dixie could read. she'd look forward to her future as much as i do for her! the "having fun" future you have in store.

  2. Love the photos -very good progress on hoof health!

  3. lytha - You can't fight the weather! Think how much better off he is this year - the snow sucks, but at least he's not up to his knees in mud. And one day, eventually, spring will arrive ;)

    I think she does enjoy her life now. I always suspect horses would be much happier if they stood in grass up to their bellies and were fed carrots by their loving humans, with a few breaks for grooming the itchy spots... but really, endurance isn't a bad fate.

    Kate - Thanks! :)

  4. Wow - what an improvement. I think the latest pics look the best. Look at that nice round shape with the wide heels. Great job! It will be interesting to see how they continue to change with another season in the drier climate.

  5. Mel, I think her heels can expand a tiny bit more. I've seen wider heels on closer to "ideal" desert hooves, at least in pictures! I think her white lines will lock down completely, and hopefully her walls will smooth out totally instead of having tiny waves in them. When the weather warms up and I can scrub her walls, I'll post ground-level side pictures.

    I think if I find the boots that work the best with her way of going - Renegades or whatever type of Easyboot - it will help with the toe wear. I worry a bit that the wrong kind of boots will change her breakover and muck up her easy bazillion gaits - but I'll deal with that if/when it happens.


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