WOOHOO! I didn’t break my horse’s feet!
The maréchal-ferrant visited this morning. That’s “farrier” to those of you who aren’t attempting to build up a French equestrian vocabulary.
Some of you might remember that the LSH and I had to do a bit of emergency trimming on Flurry’s front feet last week in order to get his Cavallo hoof boots on. We did just as much as was necessary that day, but I found myself looking at his hooves and thinking “The heels need to come down more. I can see that the wall can come down at the quarters and the toe can come back a little too” so the following day I went up to the farm with nothing on the agenda except a little rasp wielding.
I lowered his heels. I thought maybe I could go further, but I erred on the side of caution and restrained myself. I trimmed off raggedy bits of frog. I trimmed the bars. I rasped the wall down a little all the way around and then rounded off the edges – mustang roll, bevelling, whatever you want to call it. I am amazed at how thick his hoof-wall is – I will take pictures next time, I promise!
I just did his front feet, because I thought the back ones looked pretty good.
So today, when Eric the maréchal-ferrant checked him, I was delighted when he said he didn’t need to do anything. He said I could go lower with the heels! He said the back feet didn’t need anything! He told me what to watch out for with the bars – simply, make sure I don’t leave them higher than the heel buttresses – and he showed me how to trim the frog at the heel to leave it nice and open. Most if this was communicated via a combination of charades and sign-language, by the way, my French is getting worse because I haven’t met up with MC for ages.
I had been eyeing up Aero’s feet too, and thinking hmm, I think I could have a go at these now.
Aero’s front feet are looking much better. The heels are opening up nicely and the walls are good and strong. Yes, the frogs are still a bit puny, but that’s due to all the wet and to me not exercising him enough, I’m confident that they will improve quickly. He has started to wear the right front much more evenly – good news.
The left front is still wearing unevenly, but that’s due to the abscess which he had last summer. The good news there is that we’re finally at the bottom of the hole from the abscess – yippee! It should be grown out within another month or two, along with the thickened wall caused by the infection, and the hoof should start to return to normal.
I’m definitely feeling confident enough to tackle a bit of routine maintenance on both of their feet now. I’m not going to do anything adventurous with Aero’s front left, but I’ll keep an eye on the heels and watch out for the white line spreading. He tends to grow “wings” on the outside of his hind feet, too, so I will need to rasp them from time to time, but otherwise he needs very little done to the back feet.
Comparison photos – sorry today’s pic is a bit out of focus, but I think it still shows a clear improvement in the shape and in the heel area. Once there is less mud everywhere, I will take a few better ones!