Please remember!

The information presented on this blog represents "learning in progress" on my part, a horse owner, who was not satisfied with professional farriers and took matters in my own hands. As far as I am aware at the time of the post, the information presented is correct, but may change with me understanding more about hooves, in which case I will edit or remove the post. In order to follow my learning and understand everything about Molly's hoof, you need to start reading at the bottom.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Molly's story

Molly is a 2004 AQHA mare. Her full name is: 


I bought Molly in September 2007, as a 3.5 year old. She was wearing shoes on her front feet then. 

I knew nothing about hooves back then, sadly. Molly had 4 "normal" looking ones. That is all I can remember. I also do not have any real hoof pictures from that time. But I do have some pictures where some clues about her hooves can be gleaned. 

So for example these ones:

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These are pictures extracted from a movie from one of my first rides on Molly at my place in October 2007. What I would like readers to notice is the way the front hooves seem to impact the ground:

The front right (first picture) shows Molly landing on her lateral toe. Her leg seems fairly straight but her lateral toe seems long.

The front left (second picture) shows Molly landing more or less flat. The leg seems also fairly straight, her medial wall/toe seems slightly high/long.

Another picture that provides some clues as to the condition Molly was in in 2007 is this one. Molly still has shoes, she is at my place for less than a week:

This is also a good picture to judge the ground my horses live on. It is a rather unique setting here, we live in the Indiana Dunes and my turnout is basically an sand dune that got stabilized by an Oak forest. The ground is very sandy. We have no rocks whatsoever on the ground. However, in the hard winters that we do have from late November to late March, the ground does get very hard and the sand and snow produce frozen structures that behave a little like rocks. 

This picture is an example of the terrain in the winter:

My horses never had any problems walking in the winter even though the ground can get very hard.

So looking at these pictures tell me that Molly had a "pre-existing condition" when I bought her in 2007. 

1) she landed differently on her front right and front left
2) her hooves were high on the medial side, giving the appearance of a toed-in conformation. 

Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), these things did not show up in any lameness whatsoever and so all I did with her hooves is schedule a farrier appointment every 6-8 weeks. I should mention that Molly never one day again since her first farrier appointment here with me wore any shoes anymore. 

Oct 2007 - Oct 2008 Molly was trimmed by a regular farrier. As far as I can say he did a decent job. Only problem with him was that my horses were sore for 3-4 days after trimming. I did not like that and so I switched trimmers in Oct 2008. I hired a young girl, who just came out of farrier school and had worked with one of the best farriers in my area (who himself did not want to come out to me due to too many clients already). She explained to me that the farrier I used to have trimmed too much sole and she would not do that. 

Long story short, in  January 2011 I noticed my horses feet had really changed for the worse. Over the last year, both horses had developed frequent abscesses. From looking at my pictures, they mostly burst on the medial side of the hoof, also suggesting that there was too much pressure medially. They both had developed huge bars and really a lot of excess sole and Molly's FR had contracted.

This is when I started to learn how to trim myself.

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