Thursday, September 8, 2011

First Trim - And Pictures!

Cat came out today for Lilly's first trim since her shoes came off. It has been 3 weeks and 5 days since we started our barefoot adventure. All in all, things have been going very well. Lilly was sore for the first two days, but it was nothing a little bute and a pair of Easyboot Trails couldn't fix. Since then she's been in and out of the boots but has been doing really well. I've ridden her a couple times and she is quite happy and sound in her pasture. Most importantly, the changes in her feet in just 3 weeks has been amazing.

There has been one nagging issue with her right front, though. Cat noticed it when we walked Lilly on the rocks before we even took the shoes off, so we're pretty sure it wasn't caused by removing the shoes, but it is definitely more noticeable now. She is much more comfortable when the boots are on, so I think it is in her foot and not in her leg, shoulder, or back, but it's definitely possible. It could be a combination of all things just finally getting to her and she just needs some time.

I've got the boots back on her now (since they fit again, and filled with Gold Bond powder) and I'm going to leave her in them for a couple days and see how she does. X-rays are possible in the future, as well as a lameness exam by my vet who would probably do some nerve blocking to locate the source of the discomfort. I'm not terribly worried about it yet since I know her body is going through a lot of changes, but I'll keep my eye on it. I'm worried that my vet might simply tell me to put shoes back on...

But back to the trimming, Cat and I chatted for a while about her feet, what's been going on with the chipping, the abscess, the boots, and how I wanted to learn how to use the rasp in between trims. She was more than happy to show me how to use the rasp and what to take off between trims. After briefly looking at her feet, she started trimming and I was pretty much in her face the whole time asking questions and being as annoying as possible. Cat's super nice, though, and she spent quite a bit of time showing me what she was doing and why.

She started by trimming the bars. She pointed out where the bars should end, and used her hoof knife to cut them down to sole level beyond where she said they should stop, but the parts of the bar in the correct area weren't touched. She said Lilly was growing bars to protect her sole, but pointed out where Lilly had some calluses on her sole around the toe, so she said we were making progress there. She didn't touch the frogs or the sole at all but ran her hoof knife over both areas briskly to see if there was any flaking which she said might indicate an issue.

I was asking her about thrush and she said she saw what she thought was a teeny bit of infection in Lilly's central sulcus. She dug around a bit with her "pokey tool" but Lilly didn't show any discomfort. In all four feet, though, she squirted her anti-infection concoction in the sulcus just in case.

Next she used her nippers to trim away the hoof wall, flat to the sole, pointing out how the insensitive laminae was nice and tight in her hooves (especially the back ones) and noted how she didn't see much flaring at all. She also nipped the heels, which I was concerned about, but she said was necessary to make sure that the heel grows down like it should rather than forward like it had been in the past.

After the nippers, she busted out the rasp and went to town cleaning everything up and rolling the toe. She didn't touch the outside of the hoof with the rasp at all. Overall, she thought Lilly's feet looked pretty good. She said the heel bulbs are still quite squishy and they really need to firm up (which might be what's causing her to be a bit off) but that will take more time.

I didn't take photos of her back feet because those are already good to go, but Cat said they looked really nice. She had some serious bars, though, and it was a bit of work to get those trimmed to where they needed to be. I was pretty impressed with how concave her back feet are compared to her front feet. Perhaps I'll snag some pictures of them next time I'm out just to have.

I took the following pictures outside, which I thought was a grand idea, but they didn't turn out as well as I'd hoped. Too many shadows and dark spots, so I really had to manipulate the contrast, brightness levels, and exposure, which made the colors a little funky. I was trying to make all the shaded areas visible, so hopefully these pictures show enough detail.

Front of the fronts... Cat said she thought she saw a little bruising here.

Left front, lateral view.

Left front, medial view.

Left front heel.

Left front, sole view.

Left front heel, view 1.

Left front heel, view 2.

Right front, lateral view.

Right front, medial view.

Right front heel.

Right front, sole view.

Right front heel, view 1.

Right front heel, view 2.
We set up another appointment in 4 weeks. Originally we had talked about every 2 weeks, but she thought Lilly would be fine if we waited 4, especially since I was going to be keeping the hooves rasped. (uh oh...)

I'm very curious to hear everyone's opinions and comments. Also, please correct me if I'm using the wrong terminology because I want to be a hoof nerd too! :)


  1. Heels and frog are starting to develop but still somewhat narrow - the more she uses them the better they'll develop. And you'll begin to lose those distorted growth lines as well as new foot grows in. It can take 6 to 9 months to grow a new, competent foot from the top down, so be patient. You've made great progress already!

  2. That 8th photo down (the side view where you get a peak at the far hoof too)bothers me a bit. It looks like the two front feet are different lengths - maybe it's a trick of the camera angle?

  3. Thanks, Kate! She definitely has a long way to go, but progress over the past 3 weeks has been pretty amazing, I think.

    Terry, I think it's mostly camera angle because if you look at the first picture from the front, they're pretty even. She is a little higher on the right foot, which is something we noticed before we took the shoes off, but it's minimal and not nearly as off as the 8th pictures shows. (I hope!)

  4. Becca, I'm sure you're right. On second look, it's obvious that the closer hoof looks longer 'cause it's...closer! Duh on my part, lol!

  5. I appreciate the extra set of eyes on Lilly's hooves, Terry! You really got me looking at hoof heights. I always try to hide the other hoof but I didn't do a very good job that time. :)

  6. Her feet are starting to make some definite changes, and you can really see the event line where the shoes came off and the new angle of growth. Cool!

    It would be nice to see her heel beef up more, and more time in the hoof boots might help. Saga landed toe-first on pavement consistently without boots, but if I put the boots on- presto! Heel-first landing. You want to make moving right (i.e. heel first) as comfortable as possible as much as possible - for Saga, that's hoof boots. It might be interesting to do a video of her walking with and without hoof boots, to see if they make a noticeable difference. If so... maybe give them a try for longer periods of time?

  7. Thanks for your feedback Jen! The changes in her feet are definitely cool... I love watching the changes. :)

    Regarding the boots, I was thinking that they would hinder this whole process (basically thinking I should only use them if she seems sore) so I hadn't been using them, but Rebecca mentioned the same kind of stuff to me that you did, so I've been waiting for the trim so the boots would fit again. Now that I can get them on, I plan to work them into the routine a lot more and leave them on her for longer periods of time. Hopefully that will help, and I'll definitely do a video of her walking with them and without them. Should I do it on concrete?

  8. Nice improvement so far! Her heels still have a ways to go but you should be happy about her progress. Check out the tighter growth coming from the coronet band too, that's good news.

    If she's comfortable and landing heel first in the boots let her wear them. The more heel stimulation she can get right now the better. Have you thought about switching out the Gold Bond for No Thrush?

    If I were her trimmer I'd take a closer look at the bars on her right fore, they might be adding to her discomfort.

  9. I'm definitely happy with the progress so far, and I noticed the growth around her coronet band too. I also think her hairline doesn't plunge down to the ground nearly as much as it did before. :)

    I have not thought about No Thrush instead of Gold Bond (actually hadn't heard of it before), but I'll definitely look into it, especially if she's going to be wearing the boots more.

    What is it about the bars that look uncomfortable to you? It is because they're raised and not flat? I was trying to compare the bars on each foot but they look so similar to me that I'm not sure I see what you're seeing... but I would love to! :)

    Thanks for your opinion!!

  10. Fascinating. I'm reading along, trying to educate myself. Keep us posted. ;)

  11. Thanks, Margaret... I'm learning as I go too (poor Lilly!). :)