Saturday, August 17, 2013

Feeties- and all the headaches that go with them

The New farrier was out on Thursday. Some things about him I liked, other things I'm still not sure about.  The main thing I liked is that although he is old school, he is actively seeking out new information on shoeing and trimming.

He did Killian first who can sometimes be a tad of a butthead, and he ended up smacking him on the stomach with the file. Not real hard, but enough to get his attention. I know this is fairly common practice among farriers, and he wasn't beating him, he was just disciplining him. BUT I have a different method which I think is much more effective.  I push them sideways. I move their feet in the most difficult way possible and suddenly standing still is the best idea ever. With that being said, Killian did not give him another second of trouble, so at that point I left it be.

Killian's feet were a mess. I should have taken before pictures but I was so embarrassed about how they looked. I decided not too. The thing is, it had only been 6 weeks, so it isn't like I have been neglecting my horses. But they all sure looked like it.  Because they were so bad, he ended up having to be trimmed a little short. So now he is a tad sore on the gravel.  Not limping sore, just tender footed. It isn't the first time this has happened with him.  So I wasn't surprised. He'll grow out and be ok. He is pretty dry though so I think I need to get him on some Biotin and possibly go back to those flat shoes he had before. He sure did move nice in them.

Next was Sassy. I know that Sassy will get antsy so before I ever let him touch her I moved her feet a little just to get her mind right. She was good for him till the last hind foot. Oddly enough everyone does her right hind last and that is the one she always gives trouble on.  Still she wasn't bad, so that was good.  He noticed her limping right off the bat.  Left front- he called it.

So we started discussing her and her issues.  He began to tell me of some new stuff he has been learning, with new equipment and a boot that you strap on....

I interrupted him,"Oh Gene's stuff"

As it turns out, when I wanted Gene Ovnicek to see Sassy, he could not because he was in Arizona at a clinic.   What I found out, is that one of the "test horses" they used for this clinic belonged to none other than this farrier who was working on my horse.

So I told him the whole story of Sassy and her clogs, and working with the ELPO Farrier (Steve) and everything we had been through.  Turns out he has met Steve as well.  

One of the things he told me is that he was ready to put his horse down.  He was very skeptical of the whole thing, and they ended up putting clogs on his horse as well. They worked great for a bit but then they didn't.

He called the other farrier (not Gene but another guy) who initially brought him on this deal, and said, "Hey this is crap that you are feeding me, his is as bad as he ever was."

The other guy said, "No if he is limping again it means the soft tissue is healing and we need to take the clogs off"  So they took the clogs off, and he was better.

What my new farrier told me he has found is that with the clogs, is that you have to do constant maintenance every couple of weeks.

That was not even possible with Sassy when I was using Steve  because there was 500 miles between us.

So with that in mind this farrier has offered, if I am interested, to call up his buddy who got him started on this, and have them come and do another evaluation on her.  Then he will make himself available for maintenance anytime I call him and say, hey she is limping again. This buddy, is an ELPO farrier, and has all the same training and equipment that Steve did.

Here is where I am at on this whole thing. First off, I have Gene's number and he comes down here regularly. He has already agreed to see Sassy when I am ready. He is the "Godfather" of all of this. So common sense tells me to go to "the man himself" rather than his students.   On the other hand, if she does need the bi-weekly maintenance, Gene will not be available for that. So that kind of puts me in the same position I was in before.

Secondly, her left front was where the original coffin bone injury was, that is where she is limping the worst. Common sense says we still have an issue there.  I think before I spend any more money on special shoes or anything else. I need to get her looked at again, by a new vet.  I need to know if it has or has not healed. I need to know what exactly we are treating.

Now, with all that being said, once he was done trimming her, she should could barely walk across the driveway. The driveway has some large rocks and all my horses walk a little slow across it, but she really has a hard time. I am not blaming the farrier because he barely trimmed anything off of her at all. Trust me I was watching.  The girl is in some serious pain right now. Enough pain that I'm headed out to bute her here real soon. She had trouble with it before the trim, now it is bad.  I still think she needs boots or casts or something.  Argh!  I just don't know what to do with this horse!

One thing we did was look at her hoof health-wise. She no longer has those deep grooves that she used to and over all her hoof looks healthier than they used too. But clearly she is "Hoof Sore".

Trax of course stood like a champ, and was sound before the trim and is still sound after. For a horse with 2 different front feet, it amazes me that he is the soundest horse I have.

Danny has always had the best feet of any of my horses.  I mean as far as actual hoof condition goes.  This was not the case on this day.  He was starting to splay out to the side real bad and is starting to show signs of white line disease.  The farrier was able to trim it all away, but why his feet were so bad after only 6 weeks makes no sense to me.  The farrier said he looked like he had foundered at one time, but I don't see how.  Danny is getting hard to keep weight on.  Even when he is out to graze he spends half his time at the gate wanting to go inside and rest.  So of all my horses he is the one least likely to founder.  At least with my understanding of founder, that is what I believe.  I am willing to admit that my understanding could be wrong. So more research will be involved for sure.

One thing I am keeping in mind is that so much has changed for these horses. They are still in a dry sandy environment, but they have never had Bermuda grass, which is basically what that pasture is.  So there is something to factor in.  Their water has changed and there for are getting different minerals there. I suspect that there will be a lot of trial and error going on for a while until I figure out what the right combo of food and grazing is for these guys.  I don't know much about Bermuda grass, so I guess it is time to learn.

3 of my horses are getting pretty fat.  That is coming to end NOW.  I have cut everyone's haycubes back except Danny's.  And the amount of pasture time they get now is no more than a few hours at a time.  I have also started separating Danny and Trax at meal times, because I think Trax is getting some of Danny's food. Danny just eats slower than "Traxster the pigster".

I'm really considering going to some grass hay for these guys, in some slow feeders.  They need something to do during the day besides tear down my fly traps, and ruin my automatic waterers.

So here I am still beating my head against the wall with Sassy, and now with Danny too. It seems like it is always something.  Time to start scraping some vet money together I guess. Dogs to get fixed, mares to get looked never ends! LOL


  1. My farrier will hit them with the file-lightly, mind you-just to get them to listen, if he's working with an afraid horse, he doesn't do it and just moves them, but with some of them that are just stubborn mules, he resorts to it. I don't mind it as long as he does it gently, which he does. The weight could very well be hurting their hooves, obviously. My horse on a trimming two times ago was stiff, farrier noticed immediately so we used bute and a rub on his legs, farrier made sure we watched it, sure enough Red almost foundered and we had to stall him in the mornings so he didn't get the richer grass and put him on a lower starch feed, he's perfect now. He's always been very, very very sound, so it was weird when he wasn't. He's got the big, black, strong Quarter hooves. :)) Maybe a change of feed or less rich grass would help?

  2. Oh boy, I hear ya on this one. I have been doing some really heavy research about feed, minerals, hay, soil and how it all affects the feet. A lot of what I am looking at would probably be helpful to you and I am probably going to write about it once I get things sorted out more. What I do know is that a lot of the trouble you are having with white line, feet looking bad after a few weeks, etc is going to have a nutritional component. The first thing you may want to do (and this is cheap) is find out exactly what your horses are eating. If they are existing mainly on hay cubes, this will be easy. If you are unsure about how to compare feed labels to the NRC charts, get in touch, I can probably help you. My email is aerissana at gmail dot com

  3. *cough cough* as I have said before, you know youre feral when...your horses get better medical attention that you give yourself LOL

    Do you think some of your horses are Insulin Resistant (IR)? That is what we are suspecting on Eb (hes an easy keeper regs. morgan) If so, there are minerals and supplements you need to avoid, otherwise you make it worse...

    Half the battle is recognizing that there is an issue - you have done that - IM pretty positive that these horses are lucky to have you. I know minerals and feed are just one side of the component - the other is exercise and habitat (shavings, although a pain, really do help sore legs and encourage them to lay down). But the best thing is - you work WHERE??? Somehow I think I know who is going to be in the feed/supplement aisle come break time!

    1. I have to be careful at work. So far I have worked four days, four hours each day. After work each time I have "picked up" something I needed. So far I have driven 45 min each way to go to work and earned -16.00 a day. Not to mention gas money.

      Dude, I kick ASS!!!!

  4. I should probably make clear one thing. I was perfectly happy with the job he did on my horses. I do not for one second think that any of the problems they are exhibiting had anything to do with his trim job. Killian has never had the best of feet, Danny is clearly going through some sort of nutritional change, Trax has two different front feet and he saw that not as something that needs to be changed (because clearly it works for Trax) but as something that just "is" on him, and Sassy...well we all know about that nightmare. I also want to make clear, that I very much enjoyed speaking with him. We discussed so many possibilities for Sassy, and I like that he took the time to explain to me that his goals as a farrier have changed lately. He no longer looks at each horse as a job to be done and move on. He looks at each horse and is beginning to ask, "How can I help this horse?" To me that is a big deal. He no longer thinks he has all the answers, and is willing to research and look for the right answers. I think that is the sign of a good farrier. An open mind.

  5. Picked up as in purchased, as in I spend my check before I even get it.

  6. I'm beating my head against the wall too! Nothing ever stays the same, so it's hard to get it all figured out. Hay, for example... unless you get it from the same supplier all the time (and even then, he could have different grasses in different parts of his field), you'll never really know exactly what they're getting.

    Why do we do this again?? Oh yeah, because we love our ponies. Hang in there... I'm sure you'll get them all in a good place. :)

  7. Ouch...It's tough when you have a variety of things going on, new living arrangements, new feeds, etc., etc.

    I'm not familiar with the shoeing/trimming techniques you are referring to, but is Gene the guy from (or something like that)?...If he is...He spends a lot of time at his brother's place in Wittmann. LOL. They live just down the road from our place down there.

    And here I thought he was just another farrier. LOL. I had no clue 'who' he was. Hahahaha

    1. Gene's website is He is from somewhere down by CO Springs. That might be his brother, I don't know. I have never actually met him, yet but have exchanged emails with his son Cody.

    2. Oh, that is him. It's that is his show and the logo on his pickup. :-)

  8. Is this the farrier whose info I passed on to you? Because he is old school, but also open to new things and mostly focused on what works for "This horse, This hoof". He was trying to explain some things to me about my mares feet and we kept getting interupted and distracted, but I assured him- it's all good, I understand and you need to do whatever you need to do for her so have at it. I am quite pleased and her feet look great. Best part about it? I'm not the one bent over under her anymore! WIN!

    It's funny when you get to talking to people and find out what a really, Really, REALLY small world this is when it comes to horses.

  9. Gene used my mare Scooter as a test horse in a clinic years and years ago when he was just getting started. Worked amazingly well on her for a while, and then it didn't anymore. What works just keeps evolving because their feet are constantly growing and changing with this issue. That clinic was 16 years ago because Harley was a baby and ate all the cookies that were there as the guest treats. *giggle* :) I'll never forget that...