Friday, April 24, 2009

More pictures from the Hoof Care Class....

The thing about practicing our trimming is when you look up to stretch your neck, you see that almost everyone else is in the same position you were in!

Our last evening a few of us went to downtown St. Charles - very old part of town with cobblestone streets. We found a small alley and took a self portrait on the steps. Front to back we have me, Janet, Julie, Vic on the left and Kathy in the back. We had a great time!

Vic doing some measuring...

Trish is working on the bottom of a hoof...

Natalie checking out her work...

Nancy is working on a hoof...

Kathy is working on the bottom of her hoof...

Julie is checking out her work from the bottom of the hoof...

Natalie is asking John about something on the hoof while Vic watches and listens. There was a lot of that - someone would ask a great question and whoever was close would zoom in for the answer.

Chris checking out the bottom of the hoof...

Chris and Vic are working at their table...

Chris and Julie working on day 2...

Carrie and her hoof on day 1...

Beth doing some measuring...

April is sanding the hoof wall...

April, Ann (instructor) and Janet discuss the notched hoof. The purpose of notching the hoof was to show how much sole really was there and to let us know that we were not going to hurt anything by going too deep. It was very interesting!

We trim to the model, and the wild horse is our model. We realize that wild horses eat differently and travel differently than our domestic horses. Since our domestic horses live differently, it is up to us to try and make their lives as natural as possible, and following this way of trimming is one of those ways.

I have been reading a lot about barefoot for quite a while, and there is a lot of good information and bad information out there, not to mention information that makes you say "WHAT?" This is one that has made the most sense to me so far, and sticking to the trim guidelines will really help our horses. I need to get organized and keep a journal of what I am doing with each one I trim.

There is a round rasp to rasp the sole with. At first I was a little nervous because you hear about leaving the sole alone. Come to find out, compacted sole can look just like live sole, and it also works the same as a shoe as in it is very hard so the hoof mechanism cannot work properly and blood can't circulate thru that hoof. Made sense after I thought about it. The round rasp cleans up the bottom of the foot, and also stimulates growth.

Sanding the outside of the hoof wall is supposed to do the same thing. I don't sand the coronary band, just up to it, and that sanding will help stimulate hoof growth. I will be thinking of little tid-bits as time goes on. I am going to read thru my notes too...there was a lot of information and I don't want to forget anything.

What a fun group I got to share this with!

Until later...Karen and Tripp whose pigeon toed-ness does not scare me any more! :-)

Liberated Hoof! Yee Haw!

I did one of the neatest things this past week - I attended a 6 day Natural Hoof Care clinic for horseowners that was put on by Liberated Horsemanship. Their site is:

They tried to keep it very simple but full of great information. The first few days were about stress in a horses life, and the damage it can cause (just like people!), and it depends on the horse as to how traumatic that stress might be. We covered feed, booting, anatomy of the hoof, we watched video of wild horse country and pulled out examples of different things from that, then came the last 2 1/2 days! The 1/2 day consisted of unloading a big box of cadaver hooves, then wrapping the ends of them in garbage bags leaving only the hoof sticking out. Well, it started out that way...some sort of slid down the bag a little bit. Then the last 2 days consisted of trimming those suckers! Now let me tell ya, if any of you have tried to trim a real hoof, it is nothing compared to theses pieces of petrified horse hooves we had! They were tough!

In case anybody is wondering, the hooves for Liberated Horsemanship/Gateway Clinics were purchased from a Rendering Plant and were picked up by one of the instructors from Arkansas and delivered to a freezer in Warrenton. I asked about obtaining hooves from the slaughter houses and they said you could not even get those places to talk to you because they were always worried about animal rights/PETA type people causing problems, so no, they did not get their collection from the slaughter houses.

I met a gal on one of the barefoot groups, and she decided to sign up for the class. She asked if I wanted to share a room to cut down on expenses, so I had a room mate for a week. Janet lives North of Kansas City and has a mule named Hap. She also has a Welsh Cob named Flyer. It really was a good week, and we could talk about what was going on in class. There were 12 students in class and you know how usually there is one you just want to feed to the lions? There was not one person like that - this was a fantastic class and there were experience levels that covered all ends of the spectrum. Some had been trimming for quite a while and had already dealt with pathologicial stuff, there were ones like myself who have been muddling thru but not confident, and there were still others who had never trimmed a hoof before. Lots of questions were asked and really was a neat class!
Let me think...we had Missouri, Nebraska, Arkansas, Texas, New Mexico, Minnesota, Pennsyvania, Indiana, Massachusettes, Vermont and last but not least, British Columbia. That was our only guy believe it or not!

Here is Janet and I on our testing day.

This is day 2 and what is left of the hooves. The piles of 3 across the top are all hooves for our 3 hoof challenge. We had to trim hooves without any help at all from instructors or class mates, then present them to John Graves, our trimming instructor who also graded us and marked them up where we needed to work on things.

The first day of practice trimming, even the hoof was not safe from a self portrait! OH! My camera had bit the dust, so I had to go get another one. I ended up getting a small one because it will pack easier on trail rides...I got an Olympus Stylus 9000 and these are my first batch of pictures with it. Will write my review on the camera another time.

Here is Janet with her first practice hoof. We were quite proud! Especially since those hooves were harder than heck and our tools were just not working like they do on a live hoof.

Okay, we also got to practice pulling shoes, so Janet decides to pull a shoe on her practice hoof of day 2 before our testing started. To her utter astonishment, she pulled that hoof capsule right off! ACK! Let's just say that it freaked her out a little because her first thought was "What if I do this to a live horse?"
The rest of us were so excited! This was the first time I got to see the inside of a hoof, and it was absolutely beautiful! I am amazed at the mechanics of the hoof and how much movement it actually needs to work properly, not to mention how it continually tries to heal itself every time a little stressor is put on the body.

Here is the hoof capsule - perfect! She took it home. (I brought 2 legs with shoes home hoping for the same result this weekend)

Here is the inside of the hoof, and I am kicking myself because I thought I got a picture of the lamina in addition to the bottom of the foot. Argh! Oh well, the frog part was like firm rubber and the lamina was very fine textured, which is amazing because it is strong to hold things together the way it does. The coffin bone was covered in all of that stuff. (That is my other goal - to pull the hoof capsule then cure the other part so I can have a good coffin bone)

I kept forgetting to take pictures of my hooves before and after! Finally one of the girls mentioned it (she forgot too) so here is one of my test hooves before....

And a before shot from the bottom....

At first I thought I forgot to take pictures of the finished product...but I do have them, and here they are!

Here is my group of test hooves, and the middle one of the group is the one I thought I forgot to take pictures of after the trim, and it had one little circle with marker that ended up not being a bad mark because I had smoothed out a chunk that was in the hoof, I didn't dig it out and cut into the water line.
All in all I did pretty well. I have to watch the dark hooves and be sure to hold them up to a light background to make sure I don't have any uneven areas in the toe. Also need to do a little more spit shining (which I would have done if my tools would have been more user friendly) and make sure I smooth out the wear line a little more after doing the mustang roll. Now I just need to practice practice practice. Good thing we have too many horses! :-)

John Graves was our trimming instructor, and he is from Colorado. This is the logo on his jacket and vest. Neat, eh?

Here is John grading our hooves, and Ann Corso is standing behind him. She is also one of the instructors and she took 1/2 of the group to work on trimming. She was helping to grade and give results to the students in her group.

I did not get a picture of Bruce Nock! We met him at the Women and Horses Expo in Sedalia and Bruce had mentioned having a hoof care class. Brian really pushed for me to take the class, so I did. I learned so much, and I left that class confident that I can perform a very balanced trim as long as I follow the guidelines. The way they teach it is simple, broken down into steps, and we do all trims the same. That is not saying that they are all exactly alike, they are just the same as in we measure, measure, measure to find out the horses natural hoof angle and go from there.
Tiger and Wyoming are perfect examples. Tiger has a lower angle to his hooves, and Wy is more upright, but my trim will be the same, if that makes sense.

If anybody gets the opportunity to do something like this, I highly recommend it! And a huge thank you to my class mates! It was everyone's level of experience and their questions that took the class discussions in different directions. And another big thank you to the instructors! Every single one of them was great!
Richard from Arkansas (he special fits Swiss boots in case anybody is interested), John from Colorado, Ann from Kentucky, and Bruce from Missouri.

Until later...Karen and Tripp

Gelding day has arrived....

Today is the big day! But let us back up a day...I am out working with the boys, and as I am working on feet I peek up underneath Wy and he has his full package. I think I keep looking HOPING that they would just disappear! :-) Then I am working with Tiger's feet, and while I am leaning over I peek up under him and I see NOTHING! Nothing except skin that looks like it is pulled tight. Could it be true that he is already gelded? I tried to feel but he is quite ticklish. I had Brian try to feel, and he is a little more on the no-nonsense side of things and Tiger takes a half hearted kick at him to let him know - "Don't touch that!"

Vet shows up today and I tell him what I have not found so he gave him some Night Night medicine and the vet checks - sure enough! Nothing there! So he looks for a scar and found one - so, Tiger slipped thru the cracks! I double checked all of his paperwork and it still shows him as a stallion. That is the kind of accident that I love to hear about.

The trip is not wasted because Ace (the auction rescue mustang) has crossed over into stallion-hood. He has been in a separate pen from all the other group - don't need any surprise babies! (Well, except for Wy and Halo...will know next year)

Wyoming was not a very willing participant in the games. We took him under the canopy where he met up with Halo, and he was very aggitated. We brought Tiger back so his buddy was there and he settled down, but it took a while. Wy just did not trust the vet one bit - he knew Cliff and his assistant Jessi were up to something! After a lot of talking and waiting, Cliff finally got his shot to take and Wyoming starting getting droopy.

This is a very bad angle for a picture, but you get the idea.

Wyoming goes down while Tiger watches with glee that he did not have to do this. Okay, maybe 'glee' is a strong word. He is more curious as to why Wy is taking a nap.

Wy is sleeping...

The procedure went off without a hitch, and Wy did it all right...he took a while to wake up, then Brian took him back to his pen. I was so glad that Brian was here to help! Wy and Ace were a little bit more of a challenge, plus moving them back and forth.

Ace is growing up. He is getting taller and is shedding off. He had a winter coat like a Shetland Pony! Wish I had the thought process to at least get him cleaned up for the camera! Oh well...he isn't going to care for a while!

Ace did real good! He was nervous, and when he got poked with the needle he jumped, but he stopped right away too.

Ace is getting sleepy.....

Cliff and Jessi get Ace layed down...

When he layed down after his other shot he started twitching and I was a little freaked out! I watched Cliff and Jessi for a reaction but they were fine, so that must have been normal. But let me tell ya, I could tell he never fully relaxed while he was under - that little dude fought it as much as he could. After the procedure was done, instead of laying there and letting it wear off, he came flying up and kinda rolled over on his head! Yes, I was freaked out then too! He was set on standing up - so we got him there. Cliff watched him for a while to make sure all was okay.

Right after I got Ace put back in his pen, I tried to talk to Wy and he was not cutting me any slack. He looked at me sideways, then looked the other direction.
Here he is still all droopy and holding a grudge...

I went back out to check on both of them, and there is not anything pretty about it after the fact. I am glad it is a windy day so the flies are not as bad as they could be. We will be moving Ace into the pen with Wy, and Tiger will go out in the larger lot area with the donks and Tandee. Wy likes to chase Ace, so I figure they will help exercise eachother.

Wy has forgiven me and rubbed my hand with his nose, and lots of questions are answered as to Tiger eating at the hay bale instead of chasing girls when they escaped! :-)

Now just need to keep them moving around this weekend and let them heal.

Until later....Karen and Tripp who is glad he doesn't remember what all this was about! Whew!

Eye of the Tiger...

So, do you have the song in your head yet?

When I was done with Wy, it was Tiger's turn. I already knew I would not bring the saddle out for him, so no change of plans there. We worked on the feed pan flying around, and when he got to the point of standing like Wy did when it was tossed at him, we moved on to the pad. He did look at the pad a little cross-eyed when I was swinging it around, but he did not react near as much as what I had expected. He is afraid of things falling off him - and sure enough, the wind was blowing like crazy and took that pad off him, but only once! After that I would flap it all the way over his back and dangle it there, then I started dropping it.

Tiger wears the pad on his neck, and he isn't sure he likes the look.

When we were done, a walk was in the stars for Tiger also. We have not been in the yard yet, so this was unchartered territory. He did quite well coming thru the small gate. On the way back in he jumped thru it, so we practiced that until he could walk thru calmly, and he even knocked over the board without a reaction.

Just like Wy, we spent 15 or 20 minutes out in the yard to eat grass. They are not used to it, so I limited their time out there.


The nose shot...

This is pretty darn close to what the view will be like from his back! I am already imagining it! :-D

Nice head shot...

I did let Tandee into the yard while Tiger was out. He did not respond to her being a girl when they escaped, so I thought it would be safe was. (Read next blog entry to find out why!)

It was a great day! I had taken off work and the weather was wonderful! Now just need to wait until Friday for the vet visit.

Until later....Karen and Tripp

Wyoming gets to work again....I AM BACK!

I have been gone for a week, and to the best of my knowledge I think I am home to stay for a while. Which means Tiger and Wy will be getting better work outs. Okay, it is also dry out for now, so that helps! :-) Brian and I have a couple of plans on making a more user friendly pen - we have these great pictures in our heads, just need to put them into action.

WYOMING: "She is sitting on the board in MY pen...she is up to something!"

I found that kicking the feed pan around really stresses them out, and throwing it up in the air and letting it smack the ground isn't so great either. It just is not as scary with feed in it! So that is what I did...kicked and threw, kicked some more and threw, then he finally wore it without so much as a glance.

I was going to get the saddle out and put that on him a while, but I was so sore that I decided to just flap the blanket around and work on some ground manners. We worked and worked and he finally would turn to face me, then walk towards me when I asked. We are still working on backing, but he did give me a couple of steps. This was all without me holding the lead rope. Yay! I just need to keep working on everything we have done while introducing new things.

Doesn't he look like a little Indian Pony?

After playing in the pen, I decided that I needed to trust him more - so we took a walk outside of the pen. He was a little ancey and full of himself, and my old mare Tandee came to visit and that did not help, but he still listened to me and would bring his head to me when I asked. I will admit, sometimes I had to ask firmly, but he still gave it to me. The reality is, if he really wanted to get away from me, he could have no matter what I had on him. I worked him in small circles on the lead rope and considering he did not have the security of the panels to help guide him, he did pretty good. I am proud of him!

We are now walking across the barn lot and headed to the yard. He was cute because he was sniffing everything new...even the manure/mud pile. He even walked up it like he did not have a care in the world.

Wyoming meets the dogs. I have two husky's and one husky/chow cross, and they are all talkers as you can see with the dog on the left. She was telling Wy a story. At first he watched them carefully, then ignored them.

I love the nose shots in the grass!

Poor Tandee just did not understand why she could not come into the yard too. I did not want to take a chance of hormones winning out over me!

We walked along the back yard and he let me know that he was not comfortable when he could not see his buddies, so we did not venture very far. That is steps. We stayed out there about 15 or 20 minutes, then I wondered how I was going to get him back across he barn lot with Tandee out there. OOPS! Sometimes I don't think things all the way thru. I ended up opening the little gate and Tandee came flying out, and before Wy knew what happened, I had him in. The small gate did not bother him either, and he even had to step over a 2X8 board attached to a 4X4 to keep the chickens from walking under the gate. He did great!

Okay, doesn't this llama look dead? Believe it or not he is just sleeping, and he was sleeping hard too!

But let's just say he was dead....this is what he would have looked like coming back!

Okay, that is all I know for now.

Until later....Karen and Tripp