Sunday, August 2, 2009

Yuck! My hands reak!

And I've washed them three times!

Guess what that means? Yes! I was successful trimming Kachina's front hooves! I started out with my usual routine, of haltering her, brushing her down (today I brushed all the way down to her back hooves), and combing her mane and forelock. Then I got my stick and string and rubbed her, then threw the string all over her back and around her legs. She was flawless with that today. She stood and watched me and was not worried a bit about the stick and string.

Then I got out the hoof pick and nippers. I picked her feet out first. Then I sat looking at them, trying to decide how I was going to trim them. I've never trimmed hooves that were this overgrown before. I should have taken pictures. I mean, they weren't THAT bad, but the heel was so long and everything just needed so much off! And the sole was just as long as the hoof wall! The frog looked like it was just about lost up in inside. The frog was the only thing that didn't need any trimming. I knew from things I've read that everything I was seeing was old dead hoof that just hadn't been able to slough off, so I should be able to trim it without causing her any discomfort. Luckily, there was a huge furrow between her sole and hoof wall where they had become separated.

Now, how was I going to trim them? I needed two hands and I didn't want to trap her hoof between my knees in the typical farrier's stance. With my horses, I usually rest their hoof on my knee as I crouch beside them, but I wasn't sure how that would work for Kachina either. I wasn't sure if she would stand still and keep her hoof on my knee. But I actually felt more comfortable trying that because I think they tend to feel more trapped when their hoof is between your knees.

It took a little patience, but I was able to convince Kachina to leave her hoof on my knee. And she actually really relaxes when I am kneeling down near her. I think I'm less intimidating, plus I've been kneeling beside her head when I ask her to drop her head down. So, I think that my kneeling was a clue to her to relax. Once she was standing well, I stuck the hoof nippers in the furrow and started going around her hoof nipping it off. She did get nervous a few times, so I made sure to move around a lot, rub her leg, rub her belly with my hand...I didn't want her to freak out if the hoof nippers touched her belly. She did spook a couple of times and dash sideways, but we just started over and she was relaxed as before. I wore my helmet, just in case she was to panic and kick as she was spooking, but Kachina is such a sweetheart. She trusts me...she just gets nervous sometimes, and she never once kicked out. She just would dash away when something spooked her. All in all, I think she spooked about 5 or 6 times in the course of doing both feet.

After I got the hoof wall off and evened out her heels, then I had to use the hoof nippers to cut out the sole that was now the longest part on her hoof. Once I started with the sole, a lot of it peeled out. I think I removed about 3/4 inch of sole at the thickest part!

I was able to really take my time and even things out well, and carve the sole out with the nippers to be a somewhat normal shape. There is still plenty that needs to be removed, but I didn't want to go too short the first time. I figure I'll let her walk around on them for a week, then check them again and see what has come out on it's own and maybe lower them a few more.

I wonder what she thinks of her new feet. They have to be more comfortable than her old ones!

I didn't get a chance to work with Griffin, but I did get to see him acting silly. When my tame horses walked past his pen, he whinnied and whinnied to them, then ran into the barn, and then back out, leaping over his hay bucket as he went. He did this several times, shaking his head, jumping and leaping. He was funny. That would be the most "studdy" I've seen him act, but I don't necessarily think that was all that studdy. I think he was feeling good, and would really have like to have gone with them.

I do think that Kachina is in heat. She doens't really display and Griffin doesn't really pay much attention to her, but she was peeing, and she looked puffy.

I rode Chico earlier today. It was actually the first time I've ridden in several weeks. I know, it's kind of strange that I'm not riding much, but I'm at least doing a lot with horses. It takes so much work to gentle wild ones!!! I'm going to try to rearrange my priorities, quit procrastinating, and try to ride most days now...especially since I'll be moving down to start school in two weeks. TWO WEEKS! Yes, I'm a little nervous, and really shocked that the summer went by so fast, but I'm also ready to get busy again!

I rode Chico bareback (this is my favorite way to ride when I just want to feel in tune with my horse). We went on a blackberry survey today. I wanted to see where the biggest, ripest blackberries were on our neighbor's marsh. They are much bigger there than on our place. I think it's because they grow in sand on the marsh. You wouldn't think that blackberries would be bigger and juucier in sand than in clay and black soil, but they are. Chico was very good, especially for not being ridden in forever. He was just as into exploring as I was, so it was a very fun, relaxing ride.


Anonymous said...

What wonderful progress you've made with Kachina! I remember when she wouldn't let you anywhere near her. She does seem to be a sweet natured horse.

Good that you got in a nice ride, too!

Linda said...

That's impressive--both that she let you trim her feet and that you CAN trim her feet!