Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Chrome's Hooves - Need Advice

Ever since Chrome and Zeppelin got into the feed shed and ate all of the grain I have been doing some research on founder, laminitis and barefoot trimming. I've known for a while that Chrome's hooves were getting a little long and I needed to trim them, but I kept putting it off because I was afraid of messing them up (I've trimmed my own horse's hooves all my life but I've never had professional instruction and it's been three years since I've done it). Looking at them the other day I noticed horizontal lines that I am almost positive are old founder lines (he may have new ones too), so that's what started the research.

My husband and I gave Chrome his first mini trim yesterday just to get him used to the positions, the equipment and the handling. He did really well. As would be expected he had balance and boredom issue like any young horse would, but he did really well all things considered. We didn't take too much off because we figured less is more. Below are before and after pictures with comments below the pictures.

The first thing I noticed is that he looks like he's toeing out. And the inside walls appear shorter than the outside. I don't know how much of this is incorrect growth, conformation or camera angles. Do you see the horizontal lines almost midway down? Does anyone know if those are old founder lines? Just for informational purposes Chrome has never taken a lame step in his life (knock on wood) that I've seen, but he did have heat in his joints a while back. I'd have to look back through my blogs to see when it was.

The bottom of the hoof before the trim. I definitely can see that the hoof walls are long. I don't know enough to know if his heels are contracted . . . maybe someone more experienced might know? Also his grooves are deep (and dirty! I have to start cleaning them daily!) and my husband noticed a bit of a smell so I might have to do an anti fungal treatment in case of thrust. If anyone has suggestions on the best way of going about that I would appreciate it.

We had already started to trim before I took this picture. I forgot to take a side shot. Again you can see the horizontal line. I don't know enough about angles yet to know how his are. And I'm also not sure if his heel is too high. Help? Also I wanted to mention that I've been searching the internet like crazy for someone who does natural barefoot trims and I've only found one in my state. I haven't contacted her yet, but I plan to soon. I might even point her to this blog post.

This is after the trim. You probably can't see much of a difference. I didn't want to do too much his first time for training reasons as much as trimming reasons.

The front again. The toe on the far right looks flared to me, but I'm not 100% sure how to resolve that. We do need to go shorter as you'll see in the coming pictures. That might resolve the issue. Again I don't know if this was caused by letting them get too long or low grade laminitis or conformation faults. I just don't know. I have so much information swarming through my head right now that I'm just confused lol!

Another from the bottom. Same hoof. Sorry it's blurry and his hoof was dirty again lol. As you can see we didn't take enough off, but I didn't want to make him stand any longer. I want to keep the session short and positive. Not to mention it was fifty million degrees outside lol.

Looking down at the hoof. I read that the hoof should match the coronet. To me the hoof looks a bit pointed (this is a front hoof). I don't know if this is because they are too long or if the heels are contracted (someone needs to explain that to me better because I don't understand exactly what it means).

This last shot was an eye opener for me. After perusing several websites I decided to run back out and get a shot from this angle. Wow! The walls are too long! We definitely need to do more trimming. The other thing that concerns me is that his soles are not concave at all. I wasn't really able to get a good picture that shows it. I don't know how to resolve that either.

Anyway if someone can help sort out these confusing thoughts and newly learned lessons in my poor aching head I would really appreciate it. If you know of someone who might be able to help me I'd also appreciate that. I'm not scared of any immediate danger, but I know enough now to know that his hooves are headed down the wrong road. I want to head off as much damage as I can.

One of the things I read that surprised me was that chemical dewormers can cause hoof issues due to gut disturbances. I never knew that! I've been reading a lot about founder and acidosis (which I was familiar with in goats, but not horses) and that's where I found that information. I had stupidly been worming Chrome every month as a weanling because that's what I'd been told to do to prevent damage from migrating worms. I've stopped doing that and will now be getting fecals done before I worm them.

Anyway thanks in advance for any advice, comments or encouragement I will receive from my fantastic friends. You guys have been really great. :)

Edit: I found this video on natural hoof trimming on Youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RsXusOCNS-U&feature=related However it is several years old so probably outdated. It was interesting to be able to actually see it done. If anyone has any opinions on this (or on the video comments which were interesting) I would love to hear those.


  1. I'm really interested in what people think. I am no expert, and I don't do the natural trim on my horses. My farrier is traditional.

    What catches my attention it the face of the hoof wall isn't parallel to the pastern. They look too steep. His heels may need to be lowered. They do look a bit too high.

    When Mingo had flare problems, my farrier just trimmed them off each time, and eventually, they went away.

    His heels do not look contracted. The crevices along the frog would appear more parallel.

    His flat soles may be just his conformation. Cole has the same problem. It may make him sensitive to stones, but if you pare them to make them more concave, you will thin them down and that will also make him more sensitive to stones. I would leave them alone. Cole currently has underrun heels that we are gradually fixing. I read that as that is corrected, the hooves may become more concave. Maybe it will be the same with Chrome as you adjust his feet.

    He does appear slightly toed out, and that would cause the flare because he is putting more weight on the inside of his hoof. The tough part is, if it is his conformation, you don't want to change his feet to correct it--it may make him uncomfortable higher up.

    My old horse, Mingo, had lots of trouble with his feet, but somehow, I managed to keep him barefoot. I learned the most about feet from him. We did use boots about half the time in the summer when the trails were hard. Cruiser and Ranger were always ridden much more than him, and our trails are very hard and rocky. We have always used shoes on them, and if I plan to ride Cole, a lot, I will also get shoes for him next spring.

    I don't know if the horizontal lines are due to laminitis. If I'm not mistaken, when he had his heat problems, you adjusted his diet. Maybe the lines reflect the diet change?

  2. Hey..you may want to check out this blog:
    and contact them for advice via your photos! :)

  3. Hey Kristen, I did leave a comment for her asking her to please check out my post. I don't think she's been online because she hasn't made a new post yet so I'm patiently waiting. :) Thank you for letting me know about her and for you comment.

  4. Wow! Never really looks closely at those hoof things. Those are kind of odd when you think about it. No help here I am afraid, but we have confidence that you will figure it all out.


  5. Hi,
    Check out the following sites: www.hoofrehab.com, www.barefoothorse.com, www.a-b-c-hoofcare.com
    I don't trim myself, but I have been learning a LOT about barefoot lately. You need to get a rasp and round the edges of the hoof wall to create a beval -- this will take pressure off the hoof wall & eliminate chipping, cracking, flaring, etc.
    If you can, try to find someone who is either trained in the Oregon School of Natural Hoofcare, or studied the methods of Pete Ramey and/or Jaime Jackson (not Strausser!).
    For thrush, the absolutely best thing is a product called White Lightning. I'm beginning to feel like a salesperson for it, lol, but it really is hands-down the best thing for thrush, White Line Disease, abscesses, etc. The process can be a bit complicated, but I can give you tips if you would like.
    Also, daily spraying with a 50/50 apple cider vinegar/water mixture works really well to keep thrush from developing. And if you have thrush in the central sulchus of the frogs, mix together Neosporin & athlete's foot cream (you can add zinc oxide cream, too, but don't have to), put it in a small-tip syringe, and make sure you get it deep down into that central sulchus. If you do that every day, everything will get all cleared up very quickly.
    Sorry to write such a novel! :-) Good luck!


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