Friday, July 20, 2012

Drought

It's been a rather dry year here in upstate NY. While we haven't had it as bad as much of the country, we're still inches below normal when it comes to precipitation.

Because of that my horses' hooves have pretty much morphed into desert hooves. Because of the lack of moisture they haven't been wearing away the excess like they normally do, instead the dead tissue has been building up on top of the sole, making a really thick callus. You might think this is a good thing, but thrush can worm its way around that dead tissue creating pockets of disease, this callus can also create lumps over the sole that can bruise the sensitive corium underneath.

I'll let my lovely model, Gwen, show you what I mean.

Left fore before trim
Right fore before trim
Because of the reasons I mentioned before, those lumps needed to come off. Unfortunately since it's been so dry I've practically needed a chisel to get that excess off. Thank goodness it finally rained today and I took advantage of the moisture to get in a half-decent trim. It still took a bit of grunting and groaning, but I finally managed to get it off.

Left fore after trim

Right fore after trim, the angle on this one makes her foot look a bit funky
I could have taken a bit more off, but being a little conservative probably won't hurt anything. Comfortable is better than pretty, after all.

How's everybody else doing with the drought? Or with the super-duper excess rain? Whatever the case may be...

26 comments:

  1. Very neat and tidy. Her feet are looking much better. You must have been sweating though doing that kind of work in this weather. The temperatures here have been bad and we haven't had rain for a few weeks. The crops in outlying areas are stunted because of lack of moisture. We actually had a grass fire outside the city that took a week to get under control Crazy.

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    1. Oh wow, Wolfie, that is scary. At least we haven't had any fires around here. Today was very mild actually, high of 70F, on Tuesday the high was 98F- that was rough.

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  2. We've been very dry and hot too. Had some rain and cooler temps today though which was a relief.

    I think you did a good job on Gwen's feet. Must have been a tough job.

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    1. I know that you're East of me, every time I see the rain skip around us and head that way I think of you. I hope we both see a lot more rain soon.

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  3. Very dry here, too. We had a grass fire about 40 minutes from us and my barn owner said her hay crop is so close to burning up. This post explained a lot of what I have been seeing in Shy's hooves! Very interesting.

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    1. Another grass fire! It's scary out there. Glad no one around you got hurt.

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  4. I trim feet this weekend so, I hope it rains enough to soften. I have noticed a few cracks, darn dryness and flies. Gwen's feet look great.

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    1. If they are harder than rocks just know that you're not alone. I trimmed for a new client today with 3 horses whose feet were harder than rocks- and overgrown. Yeesh.

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    2. Shy's are hard as rocks too and it doesn't help that the ground is just as hard. And hers seems to be growing very fast, I am bumping up farrier visits.

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  5. It's been ultra dry here, too (not that our part of Montana is ever really much of a rain zone but it's extra bad this year) and we're seeing a lot of retained sole too. Does it build up because it gets too hard when there is no moisture? I keep thinking with the dry ground being rock hard too it should wear more but it's definitely not what I'm seeing.

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    1. You'd think that but no, without the moisture to break away the old cells they just keep packing on. This is a big problem in the desert- at least I can wait for rain to get it off- out there you have to cut it out.

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    2. I've read articles that say either hoof dressings do nothing, or alternatively can be harmful by doing too much. But when it's this dry, are there perhaps products that could be beneficial? Yes we want hard dry feet (fear the thrush) but it would seem we can get too hard and dry?

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    3. I have been using coconut oil on my mare's hooves. It is all natural and does not have the drying effects that many hoof dressings have. My farrier is very pleased with her hooves. They are dry and hard, but they are not splitting or cracking like many of the other horses' hooves in our barn.

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    4. As a desert horse owner who has her horses barefoot, I will say that my farrier doesn't take any sole off, because there is no sole to take off. If you walk your horse on asphalt 10 minutes per day, even with a horse with rock hard feet, most of that false sole comes off. It also prevents you from going to far, which is easy to do in some of the driest states in the nation!

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  6. it's HARD getting that crap out, isn't it? No rain here, but there's not supposed to be any right now, so all is well.

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    1. I've been thinking of you lately- along the lines of "no wonder Funder had such a hard time with those bars!"

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  7. Loved the hoof photos.

    We have finally gotten some rain the past couple days. I also took advantage of this and trimmed Harley's bars yesterday. There was some excess flaky stuff that was just dying to come off extended from the bars and just next to the frog. I am not sure if it was over grown bars (probably not since I have been keeping them short) or just sole that needed to exfoliate. If it flakes off easily than I let it go.

    I see you roll pretty much to the white line like I do. Had some comments on my blog recently about that (rolling to water line vs. white line). Any thoughts?

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    1. I only roll to the white line if the wall is really bad and needs to be completely relieved. Otherwise I leave the inner wall and just roll the peripheral like you mentioned. The lamina can be sensitive, you have to leave a little buffer to make sure the horse isn't sore.

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    2. Oh- I should add, if the toe is long I will take the wall off back to the lamina. But even then I kind of grit my teeth because some horses don't like it. Mostly those whose feet are longer than they are wide. Not sure why.

      Anyway, if Harley's happy then don't change your roll one bit.

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  8. Dry as a bone in Western Colorado as well. I am in a little better position because the horses wander through the irrigation water and I have been able to keep most of them from building up that rock hard sole. The uber warm winter and super dry summer has not been good for hoof shape though. Pancake city! :(

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    1. There are some hoof care people out there (Strasser) who recommend that horses hooves be soaked in water everyday. I wasn't sure about it, but now that the Quarters hooves haven't seen water in a month and have rock hard soles with little cracks going up the hoofwall I get it. They need a little moisture to be at their best. Bet you didn't know you had the perfect setup ;)

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  9. SO dry! We may have a hay shortage-grr, I'm stocking up as we speak! Laz's hooves are doing the same as in your pic's. I try to be patient and walk him down the road to 'self' exfoliate and then I find myself picking off dead sole chunks with my knife. I'm not very patient I find! Or I just love hoof experimenting. ;) I do soak his hooves every few days in this dry heat and apply Absorbine's green Avo oil, arnica, tea tree to his hooves as some moisture retainer as well. It makes ME feel better ;)

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    1. Sometimes making the human feel better makes the horse feel better ;)

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  10. Very dry here in France too, but double the amount of hay compared to last year. Your hooves look just like mine today. Any thought was cause the asymmetry in the right fore? Looks like the horse would like to get some help fighting thrush as well. Do you just use knives for the bars? Looks tidy!

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    1. Wow, really double the hay? Can we have some?

      Her feet are asymmetrical because of her conformation, she's pigeon toed and she also likes to stand with her forelegs diagonal underneath her so she puts more weight on the outside of her feet. Drives me nuts.

      Funny you should mention the thrush- she doesn't have a thrush problem right now but she did. What you see is her frogs growing back in finally. I'll be doing a post on that in the next few weeks I think.

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  11. Love your hoof sessions! Love reading all the comments too.

    I had my farrier take Wa's bars off last time..I have no strength anymore to do it. I still do my trims and boy SO HARD right now yea. I had to ask the farrier to take excess off like you did too, I just couldn't get it. Think I may try a few things I read today here...soaking in water and using Coconut oil. I use it on me and consume it as well..why not Wa? It has anti bacterial and anti viral properties..should be good.

    Praying for RAIN....stepped on a spider

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