September 14, 2011

The Ubiquitous Foot Post

Brought to you by the cutest face, which I finally managed to capture!

It's impossible not to love me.
Two brothers meet at last.  I hope Solo didn't tell him too many stories in the trailer ride.
Unskippable cuteness out of the way, I shall move on to the Encore Foot Examination 2011.  The study of hooves is fascinating to me.  They are constantly changing with their environment and physical demands.  Encore came to me barefoot, I believe his racing plates were pulled when he came off the track in December of 2010.  I wish I had taken baseline pictures the day I brought him home, because believe it or not, they have already begun to change.  In five days.  Mind-blowing.

His hoof walls look good -- they are strong, smooth, and fairly even.  They were a little chipped up until last night when farrier cleaned up the edges a bit and balanced the heels, but just nothing further than cosmetic issues.  He'll finish the trim next week when he comes back for Solo. 

When you pick up his feet though, that all changes.  Up front, it's not too bad -- his frogs look decent, although his heels are still contracted and he's got some thrushy bits living between them, ewie.  Racing plates rarely do any favours to horsie feet.

Left front
Left front solar view

Right front
Right front solar view.  This one has smashier heels and there's some goop down in the crack at the center of them.
 Then you pick up his hind feet and it's a different story.  I know you probably won't believe me, but there has been a big change in these already.  Both had thrush in the grooves along the frog and the heels were crammed together very tightly with more thrush between them, even more ewie.  I kid you not, those creases between the heels were crammed together tighter than gator jaws, not even space to stick a hoofpick in.  And the frogs were dry, tiny, and shriveled; they definitely were not performing as they should.

These pics (and the ones above) were taken this evening and his heels are ALREADY spreading, opening up that central crack.  His frogs?  Suddenly revived and looking plump again.  The farrier did almost nothing last night, just cleaned the edges and took a bit off the heel bars, I swear.  He has worked for four days on harder ground and coarse arena footing, quite a change from the sandhills!  But he shows no soreness.  The saddest part is that his soles now look as good as the BEST Solo's ever were barefoot.  Poor wussy Solo feet, just couldn't hack it.   

Right hind
Right hind solar view

Left hind

Left hind solar view

I can't wait to see what happens next!  I will probably need to shoe him eventually, but for now, he will stay barefoot unless he tells me he needs otherwise.  I've gone to town with the Thrush Remedy and the Durasole, so we'll all be goopified for a while.


  1. Looks like he's got a great base to work with! Those frogs look like they're plumping right up, and yay for good footing!

    Just curious, but is there a reason why you think you'll "have to" shoe him eventually?

  2. Jen, we ride in some crazy places. Carolina has rocks like none others and we scramble up some mountains made out of foot-eating stuff. No place I have ever been eats horse's hooves like NC does! I learned the hard way with Solo, you can want barefoot as bad as you want, but if you don't listen to your horse, you will regret it dearly.

    Also, when we get to the point of using studs, I want them screwed into something solid!

  3. I love the picture of him and Solo! Too cute.

  4. Congratulations on the new boy!!!! I'm so excited for you. He's adorable! I can't wait to see what he looks like in a few months!

  5. Hmm, this is SO interesting because I just spent a lot of time yesterday reading Eventing a Go-Go's blog. You've probably read it, but just in case, Go-Go did a ton of barefoot eventing. I for one didn't know that was possible! At any rate, that's super that Big E's feet are already improving. Those darned racetrack trainers and farriers who think all the horses need toes a mile long and no heels...

  6. (Well, duh, you've got that blog on your side bar- should have checked first! :-) I really was fascinated reading it, and of course my heart just breaks for Andrea at this point.)

  7. Can't wait to see all the changes he'll go through! I love looking back at pictures and seeing how things have changed - super rewarding. Good luck with the new guy :)

  8. Considering he's an OTTB, those feet don't look too bad. Usually all of the horses I see on Canter have mile-long toes that make their hooves look like duck feet. Seriously, is there a SINGLE decent farrier at the tracks?!

    I have to say, though, that the fronts look like the heels are underrunning and the left front is a bit funky in the toe -- lots of flare. But I'm sure a few months of proper trimming will vastly improve all that.

    Seriously, for thrush/WL/hoof-funk, nothing beats White Lightning. It's a bit of a pain in the ass, but it works amazingly well, and super fast. It's like a bottled miracle!

  9. Hey well you know there is no rockier and wetter and crazier terrain than New England and that wasn't ever a problem for me ;) (Now the perfectly groomed terrain at the AECs.... apparently I should have stuck to the roughest stuff I could find!)

  10. His feet look like typical OTTB feet - you are right, racing plates don't help! It's great they are decontracting.

    I see a bit of separation in the fronts right up the hoof capsule, this guy looks like he grows quickly? You will need to keep on top of his trims! :)

    I LOVE hooves. LOVE THEM. Thanks for posting!!! :)

  11. Kewl, I love hearing everyone's feet thoughts -- see, I told you hooves are so interesting!

    RW -- I have followed Andrea's story for several years, I am hoping her trimming business will really take off for her, she has worked really hard to get educated. I did event Solo barefoot for a while -- it certainly is possible, it just didn't work out in the end for him.

    Frizz, yeah, I have wondered that myself -- I just find it hard to believe that they wouldn't run better with a faster breakover! I am hoping though, that with a couple decent trims, we'll see a quick turnaround for Encore. He's been getting great food for months, so the nutritional base should be there. Just have to give the foot a chance to be its best!

    Andrea, so true! I swear though -- all the feet up north, if they get good care, they look super fab. Feet around here in the same situation, never seem to be able to get the same super fab! Why does Carolina hate hooves so? Perhaps when you are an uber-famous hoof guru, you can answer this question!

    Lisa, if he hasn't started growing fast, he will now -- all our horses shoot out foot!

  12. Wow. I get busy for a couple of weeks; behind on blog reading, and I miss sooo much. Congrats on your new addition. He's beautiful. Two red ponies?! You lucky girl!

  13. Thank you, OUAE! I feel very lucky indeed!

  14. He looks like a really nice horse :) Good luck!!