Even after all that mess, we set up another appointment, so I'm thankful they didn't scare her away. I found her to be friendly, knowledgeable, very open to answering my questions and concerns, and while her philosophy is quite different than what I'm used to, I'm open to it. What we've been doing hasn't really been working, so I'm game to try some different techniques.
We talked for a very long time before she finally busted out her tools. I'm talking a good hour at least. She watched Lilly move, did a little poking and prodding all over Lilly's body, dug around in her hooves, and talked to me about what she was seeing. I asked a million questions and she answered them all.
The hard part is summing up a two hour appointment into a blog post...
First off, we decided not to cast Lilly. My new trimmer, we'll call her 'CW', didn't feel comfortable casting because she hasn't been a part of Lilly's care until now. She didn't want to make a change and then cover it up with casts. Even though I was pretty set on wanting her casted prior to this morning, I agreed with what she was saying, and she told me that if at any time I want her to come back out and cast, she would fit me in and make it happen.
Before we get to the trim, CW had a lot of suggestions to help "the whole Lilly". She feels as though Lilly has some soreness in her pelvis, or perhaps her hocks, because of how she wears the toes on her hind hooves. She noted that as I was jogging Lilly, she kicked up a lot of dust, so she's not trying very hard to pick up her feet. She pointed out that Lilly is a bit "beefy" in her front end, and she feels she's mostly just pulling herself along, and that could be contributing to some of the soreness she has. One of the places she squeezed was along the lower part of Lilly's neck, close to her chest, and she had a moderate reaction... like, "Hey, don't do that!"
I told her that we had done a series of Adequan shots last spring, and I thought it helped. We didn't do any more shots this spring because I felt she didn't need them. Plus, with all the rain we were having, I wasn't able to ride enough to make it worth my while. And now you can't get Adequan until early next year, so that's not an option right now anyway.
We talked about grazing muzzles, blood work, possible allergies she might be having, chiropractic care, massage therapy, possibly trying a different ration balancer, and hock injections. Then we talked about how important it is not to try a hundred different things at once, but to keep them all in mind. So I have an appointment with my vet to do the blood work, test her for IR, and also to do a chiropractic consult. We want to know if she's out behind, since she's had to have her pelvis adjusted a couple times before.
CW also does some kind of body work... I can't remember what she called it (brain overload), but she works with the fascia and suggested that we might be able to do some work on Lilly in the future, in conjunction with my vet doing the chiropractic work.
Did I cover everything not trim related? ... I think so.
First off, CW doesn't like to dig out the hoof wall to get rid of seedy toe. She said it weakens the hoof, and causes it to be pulled in different directions when Lilly lands on her hoof. I can see the logic there, but I also see the logic to digging it out. She prefers to square off the area in front of the infected area (although I don't remember if she said how that helps), and pack it with something instead. But it's too late now... it's dug out, and doing very well, so we have no choice other than to let it grow out. I did fight it for quite a while, though, so next time (if there is a next time) I'll try her method.
Other than the thin soles, CW said she thinks the biggest issues with Lilly's hooves is the hoof wall separation. She wasn't really happy with the way the hind hooves looked either, because there's quite a bit of separation there as well, and suggested maybe they're being overlooked by the front hooves, hocks, and possible pelvis issue. Perhaps they hurt too, so there's yet another variable to consider as a possible culprit.
So, regarding the trim itself, here's what she did.
Bars: She only trimmed bar if it was flappy, really overgrowing the sole, or especially lumpy. She's part of the "if it's there, they need it" crowd, so unless it looks to be causing pinching, bumpy spots, or is flappy and something could get stuck underneath it, she leaves the bar alone. She said she finds this to be especially true with thin soled horses.
Sole: She did some work on the soles, but explained what she was going to do before she did it, then asked if I had any questions. She carefully, and ever so slightly, trimmed down the toe callous. Here's why (I hope I explain this correctly, and I'm still doing some reading on it myself)... because Lilly has flat hooves, doesn't grow very much hoof, and has thin soles, she felt like the callous was too prominent and was causing Lilly discomfort because she was landing on it first (because of her toe first landings). She trimmed it slightly on the front hooves because there wasn't a whole lot to take down, but there was more of it on her hind hooves. You can see it pretty well in the hind hoof pictures I have below. There were a couple spots below the callous that were clearly bruised, and she said that's why she wanted to take those down. I asked her if it would make Lilly sore, and she said she didn't think so. I'm anxious to see how she is tomorrow.
Quarters: If there's one "good" thing about Lilly's hooves, it's that she chips instead of pancakes. If she pancaked, we'd have an even bigger issue with thin soles. So the fact that her hoof wall chips away is good... I guess. She tends to do this mostly in the quarters. CW noticed this right away, mostly on her left front, but also on the lateral side of her right hoof, and commented that she's one of the few trimmers who likes to take just a teeny tiny bit off the quarters. Since Lilly does this on her own anyway, she felt it would be a good idea to do it for her, before it has a chance to chip off, expose the laminae, and perhaps allow bacteria to find it's way up in there.
Hoof Wall: She pretty much said no rasping of the hoof wall. Ever. Unless there's something really super crazy going on, she leaves it alone. She said if you can see it on the hoof wall, it's already too late because something on the inside caused it. Focus on the bottom of the hoof, and who cares how "pretty" they look on the outside. She also talked about the importance of a mustang roll, and how we should exaggerate Lilly's because she really needs the help with break over.
So enough rambling... I'll show you the after pictures of the trim. They'll do a better job explaining the trim than I could any day.
Regarding the quarters on this hoof, what you see on the first picture was done naturally by Lilly, but the medial side (not shown) was done by CW. She trimmed this hoof first, and when she went around to trim the left front hoof, we had no issue with her trying to pull her hoof away and she didn't walk her hind legs up under herself for support like she always has in the past. Was it taking down the toe callous a bit, or providing a bit of relief in the quarters? I found it fascinating how something so small made such a big difference.
A tiny bit of quarter relief (already done by Lilly, just cleaned up by CW), and it's hard to see, but the toe callous was brought down closer to sole level. A little bit of work on the bars because they were "flappy", and she added the mustang roll.
Here's the finished product from the top. You can't really see it very well in this picture, but the area in front of her seedy toe crater has been flattened off, and she said it's important to keep it that way.
Some of the stuff she did is contradictory to what I've been told and read, but she had logic and reason to back up all her suggestions. For every trim method out there, you can find someone who agrees with you, and someone who disagrees with you. I believe that not every method works for every horse, and when something's not working, you have to try something else. This is me trying something else. I'm desperately hoping for progress.