Saturday, October 17, 2009

Heel Bevel Seems to be Helping Contracted Hoofs

Copied from my post on Horse City Hoof Forum

For the last 8 weeks I have been using the trim described in Pete Ramey's "Under the Horse" Disk Three. I'm on about a 1 1/2 week trim cycle rotating a toe rocker one trim with a "hoof bevel" the next trim as described by Ramey on his DVD. For the first time I feel like I'm actually seeing significant progress with his badly contracted heels. Previously, efforts to bring the heel back and down seemed to trigger more rapidly growing heel. Treating wildly for thrush seemed to help a little and the contraction would open a teency bit, then slam shut again.

I am hesitantly excited. His heels are opening and this seems to be a steady, consistent trend. His heels are staying down and not springing back up over night. I am also using a much, much stronger bevel all the way around the hoof and I think I am starting to manage an actual bit of quarter relief.

Here are my notes from "Under the Horse" where Ramey talks about the heel bevel, or "floating the heel":

Most horses that aren't all they should be in the back of the foot go to a toe first landing, ripping the toe wall. They don't have the structures to dissipate energy. You can't fix the situation without getting them heel first. You can't start to get the heel down without thinning the sole. This cycle is why so many horses are locked into pathology. A trick to break the pattern is to trim the heel parallel to the internal structures. Create a landing zone in the back of the heel that the horse can land on.

If the heels are overgrown, what plane to cut on? The plane that floats over the collateral groove parallel to the coffin bone. Hold the rasp and trim parallel to the collateral groove, parallel to internal structures. This will set up a better landing zone. People worry that quarter will be longer than the heel but think of the hoof in motion, greatest impact is parallel to the internal structures. It will not land on a sharp corner that will underrun the heel.

I (Ramey) always float rasp 3/4 of an inch above the bottom of the collateral groove. Allows landing platform more parallel to internal structures. This is a self-erasing method. If not adequate sole, it looks like a bevel. If adequate sole, sill seem like no bevel.

Right Heel 9-08

Right Heel 10-17-09

Right Half-Moon 9-08

Right Half-Moon 10-17-09

Right Solar Right 9-08

Right Solar Right 10-17-09

Right Oblique 9-08

Right Oblique 10-17-09

Red hoofs are very different, showing "high/low" syndrome. His left hoof is the "low hoof" and the walls, especially the medial wall, have been significantly inside the vertical. This shape really serves to hold contraction in and keeps the hoof mechanism from fully engaging. Still, the left heel contraction is also opening slowly yet surely.

Left Heel 9-08

Left Heel 10-09

Left Half-Moon 9-08

Left Heel Half-Moon 10-09

Left Solar 9-08

Left Solar 10-09

Left Oblique 9-08

Left Oblique 10-09

Red - sick of my crazed, obsessive photo taking. Did I mention how much I love my new camera?

Red back in 9-08.

Where we started - Red's last farrier's pasture trim about 1-07. This was when I started trimming myself.

RF heel on ground 5-08

RF heel on ground 10-09

LF heel on ground 10-09

Monday, April 20, 2009

Lyra's Front Right Hoof is Giving Me "Fits"

(this is a copy of a post I just made in the Hoof Forum.  Thought I'd post it here too)

Last May I got Lyra and her feet were a mess. Especially her front right hoof - the capsule was very distorted with severe medial/lateral imbalances. The hoof itself had twisted into a wry hoof. Bars seemed invisible but were actually so huge they just flowed into the quarters and toe of the hoof. This first photo shows the hoof in May of 2008 and in Oct. 2008. The rest of the photos were from today (Sunday). I'm stuck, a crack has returned, my balance is off and I'm having a hard time reading the hoof again. All ideas will be much appreciated. 

 Reduced: 70% of original size [ 1024 x 821 ] - Click to view full image

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 Reduced: 93% of original size [ 768 x 1024 ] - Click to view full image

 Reduced: 93% of original size [ 768 x 1024 ] - Click to view full image

 Reduced: 93% of original size [ 768 x 1024 ] - Click to view full image

 Reduced: 70% of original size [ 1024 x 768 ] - Click to view full image

 Reduced: 70% of original size [ 1024 x 768 ] - Click to view full image

 Reduced: 70% of original size [ 1024 x 768 ] - Click to view full image

 Reduced: 70% of original size [ 1024 x 768 ] - Click to view full image

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Wednesday Resource: White Lightning

This is a HUGE weapon in the battle against thrush.  White Lightning is a form of chlorine dioxide that is marketed by Grand Circuit.  It is vicious with fungus, yeast, and bacteria but does not harm healthy tissue.  How cool is that?  

According to an article by Howard Alliger (President of Fronteir Pharmaceuticals), chlorine dixide is used by the food industry and might be added to products like OJ to prevent spoilage.  It is used to bleach pulp for paper and in water treatment plants.  It is not toxic to the environment.  This widely used form of chorine is remarkable because, according to Alinger, it is rare to find an effective disinfectant that is also non-toxic.  Here is another article that describes in detail how this stuff ravages bacteria and fungus.

While there are several chlorine dioxide products currently being used to successfully treat thrush, I have found White Lightning very easy to use and after a year of application, it has been absolutely safe for Red's hoofs.  Here is my routine:

1.  Gather hoof soaking boots, White Lightning, measuring cup, white vinegar, scissors, duct tape, and super clingy saran wrap.

2.  Get Red in his booties.  

3.  Cut several lengths of duct tape - about 20 inches long.  Stick these to tie post.

4.  Mix 2 oz. White Lightning with 2 oz. vinegar.  This triggers the process that releases the chlorine dioxide gas.  Pour mixture into one boot.  

5.  Wrap saran wrap around boot and up cannon bone.

6.  Secure with duct tape at bottom (boot) and top (cannon bone).

7.  Repeat with other hoof.

8.  Wait about 45 mintues while the gas does its magic.

I take care to keep the mixture off of my clothes - it will bleach fabric.  When done, I simply pour the mixture into the ground.  Please visit Linda Cowle's Healthy Hoof for sone of the most helpful thrush treatment instructions I've found online.  She has a great photo "how to" section regarding White Lightning.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Resource Wednesday: Online Hoof Trimming Forums

These are my absolute favorite and most used resources.  You will find a  great group of folks post online, ranging from those just thinking about barefoot, to beginners, to highly skilled professionals.  All are committed to helping each other.  

I find the Horsecity Hoof Forum  easy to negotiate because of the integration of photos within each thread.  I also appreciate the way participants will download your photos, review your trim, draw balanced trim lines and re-post the photos within your thread.  This becomes a mini, personalalized trim clinic. 

Other wonderful trimming forums with skilled, committed participants are the Barefoot Horse Care Forum and the Whole Horse Health Forum.  Thanks to the internet, skilled consultation is at your fingertips!

 Please visit, learn, and share your own experience.  Hope to see you there. 

Monday, February 23, 2009

Trimming Challenge: Deep Sulcus Thrush #1 Enemy of Heel-First Landing

(note:  this picture is of Red's hoof after his last farrier trim in August, 2007.  You see the flat, pathological form of a "pasture trim".  This is NOT a healthy hoof capsule and is NOT the results of any style of "barefoot trim"!)

I used to wonder why Red's frogs were so thin and sort of tattered looking.  I cleaned them every day.  There was none of that black gooey, stinky gunk that I remember meant it was time to treat for thrush.  I asked my farrier - he said he didn't see anything like thrush.  I asked my vet - she said she didn't see any thrush.  Still, something just wasn't right.  Then on a barefoot trimming website,  I saw  a frog that looked exactly like Red's frogs.  It was illustrating a discussion on deep sulcus thrush.  HA!  I knew it!  (If your horse's hoofs look ANYTHING like Red's in this photo from Aug. 2007, you have LOTS of troubles in addition to thrush, these pictures are what inspired me to learn to trim myself).

If your horse is having a hard time with transition,
has contracted heels that just don't want to open, continues to resist heel-first landings no matter what you do, chances are that you have a nasty case of deep sulcus thrush to deal with.  

There are some outstanding online articles that will help you find the most helpful form of treatment for your horse.  I have found white lightening, "Pete's Goo" (a 50/50 mix of antifungal cream with 1% clotrimazole and triple antibiotic - both available at Dollar Tree Stores), and apple cidar vinegar soaks to be very helpful for Red.  Here are some resources that I have found helpful:

  1. Linda Cowles at Healthy Hoof (extremely comprehensive)
  2. Ove Lund at the Swedish Hoof School
  3. Pete Ramey: Caring for the Frog
Once you settle on a treatment program, BE VIGILANT!!!!!!  While it is important to utilize a trim that engages the frog, if the frog has hidden thrush your horse will only grow more heel to keep away from the pain.  Here is a thread on the Whole Horse Health Forum discussing the management of thrush and bringing down the heels.

Good luck!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Thinking About Going Barefoot?

                                                                                                                                   Red's FR Hoof 12-08

Earth'N'Hoof just a "makeover" and with this new "face" comes new intentions (or old intentions, restated).  One of the many aspects of providing a healthy life for Red and Lyra has been learning about how to care for their feet.  This blog is meant to record that journey.  I've noticed several blog authors setting a posting schedule to organize their writing.  Gonna give this a try.

Monday: Trimming Challenge Day (my horses sure give me plenty, no problem here)
Wednesday: Featured Resource Day
Saturday: Trimming - What I'm learning about
Sunday: Random Thoughts
No time like the present 
to start something new.

                       Same Hoof June, 2008

Getting Started with Barefoot Trimming - Online Education and Support

Maybe you live where you don't have access to a barefoot trimmer.  Could be you just aren't satisfied with your horse's level of soundness.  Maybe you are seeing your beloved partner becoming more and more impaired and treatment options are becoming increasingly extreme - nothing seems to be working.  Don't despair.  I believe the internet is an amazing resource and through the "net" you have access to an international commuunity of help, support and education.  Whether you are ready to pull the shoes, are thinking about it, or have been doing your own trimming for awhile and want to learn more, you will find assistance and inspiration.

Here are online resources that I have found absolutely invalueable in my quest towards healthy hoofs and heel-first landings . . . 

Online Barefoot Trimming Hoof Forums

Absolutely could not be doing this without the support and consultation of the many folks who so gracesously share their knowledge on these forums.  I have found the following three essential.  Please let me know of others.

If you are already trimming, you can upload photos and getting skilled consulation.  If you are just starting to think about barefoot as a possibility, you can get a "feel" for this approach to healthy hoofs and hear from lots of folks who are just beginning as well as others who are professionals in the field.  Even if you don't think going barefoot is for you or your horse, just give these forums a peek to see what is out there.  I'm so glad I did.