Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Trimming Sonny 3/15/11

     Yesterday was Sonny's first trim since coming to my house. He was his usual most perfectly behaved self. He'd been in casts a little over 4 weeks, and the day before had removed one himself. The right cast had come loose in the back, and popped off very easily.

     As is very common with laminetic horses, and usual of him, he'd grown much more heel then toe. This is not an actual slowed rate of growth of the hoof wall at the toe, but because those tubules are not growing straight down and well connected like the heel is. Most of the time once a laminetic horse starts growing well-connected growth, his toes grow like crazy.

     In this picture you can see the lack of connection between the sole at the toe and the hoof wall itself.

     The toe shows some built up sole that I *could* remove. There is a very good chance that would make him sore, but it would also allow me to remove a bit more wall and take the lever forces off his toe, which would make him more comfortable and encourage better growth at the top. Instead I aggressively rolled the wall, and I'll check it again in a week. That's the beauty of having him at home, I can do that.

     Had he not been with me, I would have likely removed it, trimmed the wall, and cast him again. That would have giving him the support and protection to keep him comfortable, while setting him up for good hoof form for 4-6 weeks.

     But since he's with me, I can tweak my trim every week or two and do more good in a shorter period of time. He likes his heels low, and that toe rolled. Right now he is trotting around the pasture, chasing Honey barefoot. Him feeling good is more important then having that *slightly* better looking foot. Especially since as soon as he is ready to loose that 'pad' of sole, I can remove it the same day.

     Here is that picture mapped. The green line is the end of his sole, and the blue line is the hoof wall. There should be no gap between these lines, as you can see the closer to the heels you go the closer they get together. That there is a gap means the hoof wall has disconnected from the internal structures of the foot. The next picture shows the angle change this makes. As the new angle reaches the ground the blue/green lines will get closer and closer together.

     Here you can see better the angle changes he is setting up for. About half way up the hoof wall there is a "crease". Above that is a healthier, better connected wall, while below is a stretched disconnected wall. Right below the hairline, where you can barely see it, is another angle change. This is the best connected growth on his foot, what we want to support and get to the ground. This is why, even though angles are important, they are relative to the hoof, not an absolute measurement. If I tried to trim his foot to that lower, unhealthy angle, I'd have to raise his heels to get a "correct angle". But I'd be basing that "correct angle" on a pathological hoof wall measurement. Sonny likes his low heels, if I jacked those up to "fix his angle", he'd be much more sore then he is now.

     I know from the disconnected wall at the bottom of his hoof, that wall is junk. So I ignore his "low angle" because that's not his true angle, it's just the one I can see. His "correct" angle is now coming in at the top, and will take some time to hit the ground.  

     To better show how this works, here are some of Honey's old pictures.

     She was much worse then Sonny, and someone thought her lameness was apparently from a "low angle" and jacked up her heels for a year before I got her.

     At this point she couldn't stand for more then about 10 minutes. But 'angle' wise she wasn't bad.

     I trimmed Honey while she laid in the pasture over a course for 2-3 days. She responded very well, very quickly to having those heels removed. In one trim she went from laying down all day, to standing most the day. In 4 weeks she was walking and standing all day, in 8 she was trotting in the pasture. This is the same foot about 8 weeks after I got her. You can see the extreme angle change at the top of her hoof. Today I would probably take a straight cut and take the end of that toe off, but this was from a couple years ago.

     To show the angle changes better, here they are mapped. The blue line shows the angle she will have once all the "junk" grows out. If you don't look at anything past the blue line, this would look like a normal foot, because that's what it wants to be. The red line was the change before that, as she was getting better, but wasn't great yet. The rest of the toe is ugly junk, disconnected wall.

1 comment:

  1. You are amazing and that is why ALL my horses love you.