I've been keeping a close eye on her bars. After learning more about them at the clinic, and reading up on them on my own, I'm convinced they're trying to tell me something. Just what that is, I'm not sure yet, but I intend to find out.
Her bars were adequately trimmed at the clinic on Sunday, February 19th, and then when I finally got around to photographing them the following Tuesday, they looked as though they hadn't been trimmed. So, I trimmed them after I took pictures.
When I looked at her hooves again on that following Friday, there were those bars again! So I grabbed my hoof knives and trimmed them.
This past Thursday I looked at her hooves before I rode and guess who I saw? THE BARS! Again, I grabbed my knives and trimmed.
Today at the barn, this is what I found:
|Bye bye bars... at least for now.|
The teachings of Pete Ramey tell me that "if horse puts out 'excess' growth it is trying to recover from something...", possibly a trim, but my trims are always quite conservative and I don't feel like I'm taking off too much of anything. The bars have been trimmed only slightly since her shoes came off 6 months ago, although I have noticed more bar growth since I started removing a bit more bar than I normally do.
He also states that bars cannot become impacted in a horse's hoof because dissections and monitoring of live horses have proved that theory incorrect. He also says he thought "bar pressure caused heel contraction and sensitivity, but the horses taught me otherwise years ago." He says he realized it was just a habit to trim the bars to sole height.
Then there's the other side of the argument... bars can and do become impacted. This side also has dissections and live horses to prove its theory. They say that when the bars are jammed up higher inside the hoof capsule than they should be, the result is heel pain. Heel pain leads to all kinds of things, most of which my horse exhibited, except for navicular, which I fear was the next phase for her if we left her in shoes.
This is why impacted bars often come down much faster than the rest of the hoof, so for a while the bars may need to be trimmed more often than the rest of the hoof.
So which theory is correct? Could they both correct? Maybe it depends on the horse, and maybe it depends if they're in a period of transition?
Here are a few interesting tidbits about Lilly's hooves to make this all more complicated...
- The bars on her right hoof have been growing like crazy, while the bars on her left hoof have not changed nearly as much. This tells me something is different about that right hoof.
- The right hoof is her "trouble hoof", the hoof that causes her the most discomfort, and the hoof we had x-rayed for just that reason.
- I can work on her right hoof all day long without issue, but if I need to trim her left hoof, we have issues. She has to stand on her right hoof while I'm trimming her left and she becomes very uncomfortable and will walk her hind legs up underneath herself to support the weight on her right front.