Wednesday, April 15, 2009

thrush and hoof anatomy

I made it out to scrub hooves today. It took a while because I tried to trim up the frogs to get all the flaps off, but that was kind of pointless. I tried, but I find it hard to do...hoof knives don't cut frogs very well, or maybe my knife is just dull. I used hydrogen peroxide for the thrush today. It was fun watching the peroxide bubble over the frog and in the grooves. It really foamed! I used a little squirt bottle to apply it, and I applied it once to thoroughly wet the frog, then after it had softened up a bit, I rinsed it again to be sure to get peroxide in all the cracks. I think it worked well. Anyplace I could see that had been black colored was bleached to normal frog color after peroxide. I almost used up a hole huge bottle of peroxide on 12 hooves. I guess tomorrow I'll use bleach. And I found my old bottle of iodine (I thought it was gone), so the third day will be a rinse with that. I don't think the thrush is as bad as I was thinking it was yesterday.

Cody's front feet have the worse looking frogs. The widest part is mostly pocked, but they were like that last year too...I think they just haven't recovered. Her feet are the worse out of all the horses (she's domestic, so I'm thinking the mustangs just have good feet by genetics). She has the narrowest heels, the longest toe, the thrushiest frogs, and the flattest soles. She also has the smallest feet in proportion to her body weight. Chico's feet are the same size and Catlow's feet are actually larger, and they each probably weigh about 250 lbs less than Cody. She's only 6, and I've had her since she was an unbroken 2 year old. She was raised on a Montana ranch. She wore shoes during the summer of her 3 year old year and her 4 year old year (I noticed that spring of her 4 year old year that she was very tender on gravel, so I had her shod for riding, but the following year I switched to boots). The mustangs have never worn shoes with the exception of when Chico wore them for 3 weeks when we took a pack trip the fall of his 3 year old year. Regardless, Cody tends toward landing toe first, but I think she's getting better about that. Now she lands more flat footed, while the mustangs land heel first (they flip those toes right out and the heel first landing is very obvious). Maybe it's Cody's breed (she's a quarter horse), maybe it was the thrush I discovered she had really bad last year, maybe she's just really sensitive and her diet causes separation in her hoof walls, or maybe it's all a vicious cycle. Whatever it is, she will probably always need boots, although her soles are more concave this year than they were last year. I rode her bareback today through the woods after treating her feet. She walks out well, but whenever she hits something hard (small rock or tree root), it's obvious that it hurts her front feet. She's my challenge...the horse to work on to increase the health of her feet. I may try to find a trimmer I like out here to touch up her feet every few trims to make sure I'm doing it right.

This is a picture of her right front hoof last fall before the weather became wet. I didn't take any pictures today.

And I think a week of treating daily for the thrush then doing it once in a while after that will keep it at bay. The ground really is drying up here, so it should be good.


Andrea said...

What a gorgeous picture!

My sister has a quarter horse with problem hooves. They're too small, the hoof wall is thin, and they grow all wacky. Her old farrier told her he wouldn't ride a horse like that without shoes, but he's been really successful barefoot. She hasn't had him shod in a long time.

Our QH Mack had very thoroughbred-type feet. Thin, flat soles and underrun heels (but I made a lot of progress on that while we had him). They were nice and big though.

From what I hear that breed went through a period where small feet were more stylish. Ugh. But of course I'm not saying they all have bad feet.

Linda said...

We have some REAL problem hooves in our herd, but the farrier we have now does so well, they're all barefoot--even on rocky ground. Not one has had a problem--so I'm going to keep doing the barefoot thing. (We don't use boots either). I don't know what he does because I really don't GET trimming myself. Maybe it's the fact that our pasture has so much rocky ground, so they're constantly building up a tough sole?!? I don't know.