Saturday, August 18, 2012

Calero, gates, hooves

A blog reader tipped me off about the Quicksilver Endurance Riders meeting / group ride thing today, so I got up early and hauled down to San Jose.

Dixie and I rode with Barbara and Patricia, and I had a great time! Dixie did pretty well, powerwalking up and down most of the hills - and it was a lot of hills. We weren't in a particular hurry, so we didn't trot as much as we could've. Saw a HUGE turkey vulture and a couple of deer and one hiker - but it was mostly just equestrians. Really nice park, better footing than Almaden Quicksilver and just a couple minutes further down the road.

I have decided that Dixie should learn to help me open gates, for no reason at all other than I saw a friend do it on her horse and it looked feasible. Honestly, I've never tried to teach her before because there haven't been any horse-friendly gates in my life up until now - nothing but wire gates or short farm gates with latches or chains down low.

I found a gate to practice on at the barn. It's a paddock that's empty now, with a nice wide gate that doesn't drag or squeak when you move it. I made sure Dixie remembered how to move her hindquarters or her forequarters on cue on the ground, then hopped up and tried to transfer it. Hard work - you could see the brain cells frying as she tried to figure it out! We got a couple of decent turns on the forehand, and I leaned off of her and smacked hitching posts, fences, gates, etc. Good enough for a start.

I put this last so you can skip it if you're not a hoof person. But if you are, what do you think is going on?

She's about two weeks post-trim, and she's definitely getting a bunch of false sole up in there again. I took these pics after a bath (thus the dampness), and I jammed some tea tree oil cotton balls up in the frogs. The sole won't come up - a couple of the hooves, you can see where I pried/scraped at it with my knife.

I don't know what's going on, obviously, but my current guess is this. After we came out here, the slightly more humid weather and change in ground made her packed-in sole shed out. I was so excited! Finally, textbook hooves! Then I rode her a couple times without boots on the gravel in Arastradero, finally noticed she was getting short-strided, and started booting for any ride. Her movement went back to normal - no more choppy hesitation. But I'd made her bruise her feet - the bruises first appeared whenever it was that I trimmed last, like two weeks ago - I could see sole bruises in clean wet hooves. Now, I guess I'm waiting for her to shed out the bruised stuff - and this time, keep her booted on gravel.

There's not a ton of management changes I can do right now, not and still afford to keep / drive to see her. It'd be ideal to test her hay, get her moving on pea gravel, etc., but that kind of stuff just can't happen right now. :( All I can do is trim and boot and ride.

So here's the pics. They look so long, but there's no wall to take off unless I want to bring her walls SHORTER than the false sole, and I don't think that's a very good idea. I dunno!


  1. Sounds like you might have found a nice group to ride with. Knowing some locals helps to find new places to ride on your own sometimes, too.

    I've had a lot of trouble with false sole this year too! Never dealt with it before, but the one time I trimmed Maddie to where I usually do, she was sore for a week, because she was walking on that false sole instead of her hoof wall. It was just so darn hard I couldn't carve it out!

  2. Maybe the false sole needs the walls lower so it can actually exfoliate out? Most probably though she is holding onto the sole until those bruised are 110%. I imagine her feet to be like hard rock, which makes it almost impossible to remove false sole that actually needs to come out.

    Then there is the conundrum of the false sole not shedding and then that creating bruises of its own then she might throw down MORE sole and compound the whole problem.

    However, I think there isn't much you can do so just keep swimming I guess.

  3. I'm definitely not a hoof expert, so take this with a grain of salt. You can see the event line where you moved her about 1/3 of the way down the hoof, and it looks like the new growth is coming in at a steeper angle, so that's something she may be dealing with. The thing I would be most concerned about is the deep grooves/cracks in and around the frog. I'd be treating those like crazy. The shedding frog and sole... well, not much you can do to make it "pretty" except more riding on supportive (but wearing) surfaces.

    Very interesting how much her feet have changed in such a short time. Good luck!

  4. We have an often moist, sandy environment here that keeps Val's soles from toughening up.

    If you don't already - you can try supplementing magnesium. Apparently there is never enough in hay. I've looked at studies from a research vet on multi-thousands of hay samples, and the best case was about 30% of the rdr.

    It's safe - you can't give too much as it flushes. Val's soles have improved in the absence of good hard working surfaces.

    I get magnesium citrate (a more bioavailable form) at Val gets 2 TBSP (2500mg of magnesium) per day, but I did a loading dose of 3 for a couple of months.

  5. I think I'd leave the sole, your instinct that it's protecting the bruising sounds right. It does look like there might be some thrush in the sulcus, maybe treat that, which could cause the retention too (not loading correcting). All a guess of course, photos are hard to tell so many things.

    Now gates, that I know! It is awesome to be able to open and close gates, Major is pretty good at it. Except he tries to "help" me by nosing the gate and flinging it out of reach. He did it once and it was cute. Now he keeps thinking it is fun. Don't teach Dixie that part!

  6. Glad you found a nice place to ride!

  7. An observation was made by my trimmer when my guys were last trimmed, after she took off a lot of false sole and flaps from the frogs. She said that she has started to notice that she has to take off a lot more false sole around this time and around Feb - the times that their coats are starting to change over. Her thought was that, since they are basically made from the same thing, maybe they are related.

    It's just something kicking around her head, gained from observation, but I do know that around Feb Peanut's soles and frogs get pretty funky. I never noticed it around this time of year, but that could just be me.

    Granted, your gal is growing out her desert feet, and I have absolutely no experience on that. But, if what Kate is theorizing is true, maybe it isn't helping matters. *shrug*

  8. Thank you very much for all the suggestions! Gonna try and get some of that sole out - I'll update tonight.

  9. About the long toe, I agree with you on that...And when you lift up her heels look longer than they should, which of course makes the toe fly further out. The thing is, I'm not sure how you'd fix it. I'll be doing some reading up on it because I've seen that a fair bit. I'll let you know if I find anything groundbreaking. ;)

  10. Hi Funder I'm not a hoof expert at all either, but something my trimmer said might be relevant. She was telling me about thick foam pads which you can put inside a boot while you ride. She was talking in the context of my chronic abscess horse, but she said that they provide distributed pressure on the sole, much like pea gravel will. They won't be abrasive like gravel, but they improve circulation.

    Maybe it would help? or not! Maybe you managed to get some sole out since this post.

    I'd agree with Sara & her trimmer as well, I've noticed that the frog sheds (but I've never noticed it with the sole) spring and autumn, around the same time as their chestnuts peel off.

    It's all a glorious learning experience :-)

  11. A couple of my friends do a lot of their own trimming and have a couple of methods for getting the feet (soles and walls) soft enough to trim. One is to take a soaking boot and a plastic bag and grated potato - raw, no need to peel, just grated potato. Pack the potato well into the hoof (if there's no concavity, put it in the plastic bag) and the bag on the hoof. Secure it with duct tape, then put the soaking boot over the whole thing. If you have no soaking boot, you can get creative with a piece of innertube. Let it soak at least over night and things will get soft enough to chip out or carve (carefully!) the false sole, and rasp the hoof wall. This works great if you suspect an abscess too, as it will soften the hoof enough for the thing to drain.

    Good luck!

    The other method is pretty similar but instead of grated potato,they used a bunch of gauze and some sterile saline and maybe add a shot of betadine. The gauze can get lumpy, the potato tends to self-distribute.


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