Sunday, April 20, 2014

Trim Clinic

Yesterday was the low budget trim clinic, which for me right now, is perfect. I am very much on a low budget right now.  LOL

I was taking Trax, and only have one trailer to use....the big we hooked up the entire rig and and I made the long drive of .75 miles to the Hoofbeats for Hearts facility, 2 streets over.   I rolled up looking like a full on show rig, and unloaded by one lonely, dirty, a little scraggly looking paint horse.  I did at least brush him first, but compared to the Lipizzaner that was there, he looked like poor white trash.  However, I did take a certain amount of internal pleasure when I realized that my scraggly little paint is in top notch shape, not an ounce of fat on him, where as the gorgeous big white horse, was a little on the soft side. It didn't make him less gorgeous though.

The facility was a regular beehive of activity with therapy rides, riding lessons, troubled youth cleaning stalls and brushing horses, not to mention A LOT of horses.  We had to walk through the breeze way of a mare motel in order to get to where we were doing our clinic.  Guess what was living in there.....A DONKEY!

Guess who froze and started blowing like crazy when he saw that?

I did ask him to come close to the donkey but he wouldn't.  The area was very closed in so I chose safety over training, and we moved on.

The clinic was very informative.  I purposely had not touched Trax's feet in a couple of weeks for this clinic. The clinician used Trax as the model for proper measuring techniques, and  good angles and bad.  He told me that I actually am doing a good job with Trax, but that I was a little high on the outside on one of his hind feet, and  then of course we addressed the  two different feet issue, where one heel is still high and the other is still so low and very under run.

Now interestingly enough, when Courtney looked at my trim job the day after I had done it, she also said I was high on the outside on that same hoof and she brought it down a bit for me.  Now 2 weeks later he is high again.  Common sense tells me that he has something going on in his hip which is causing that.  Perhaps it is time for another chiro adjustment.

I loved his measurement system and even more his measurement tool  Nothing fancy, just a 20$ digital micrometer from Harbor freight.  We used that to measure the length of the fetlock, then the length of the toe.  From that we measured the length of the apex of the frog to where the heel should be.  He says that they should all be the same.  Then we talked about dividing in 3rds, and halves, and I'll be honest I can't recall what that was about, but will be able to refer to the video he will be posting next week, so I can refresh my memory.

We moved on to the next horse, which is a horse he works on regularly.  This gal takes her horse back and forth from Oregon every year.  Every year her trimmer in Oregon ruins the angles on the horse, the horse will not perform correctly, and then when she bring him down here, Laz works on him and fixes him and he performs beautifully.   Now this is where it can get a little controversial.  Laz is a farrier.  He is not an Iron vs. Barefoot guy. He says, "I'm about the horse"

The other trimmer in Oregon tends to throw the horses heels too low, and the toes too long.  In order to bring those heels back up in a very short amount of time, he shoes the horse for 2 rounds, trimming in between rounds of course, then pulls the shoes.  The horse does not have to wear shoes from then on.  Now the horse is down here for good so should not ever need to have shoes again.

I know that some people will call that short cutting, some people are completely against shoes.  I am not. I believe it is horse specific, and rider specific as well.  Killian is shod because he does not grow hoof and cannot handle the terrain of az.  He does well in shoes, especially now that I have a farrier who is not trying to crunch the heels in.   Once we get enough hoof underneath him, I may try to transition him back to barefoot, but if he cannot handle it, he will go back to being shod. FYI, my current farrier is Laz, who put on the clinic.

Then the lady saddled up her dressage Lipizzaner and showed us how well he moved. The horse, who is a big scaredy cat, was very nervous and I could tell that she was too.  As I watched her move her horse through the area we were at, and there was all kinds of stuff going on around us, I could see she wasn't breathing.  I wanted to yell out, "Breathe!"  But I didn't.  Her horse was moving short and tight.  Then she let out a breath, her horse did too, and he started to move.  It was much nicer and he was reaching up under himself pretty nicely.

Okay, here comes the conciete.   It may have been that she never let her horse really move out because the area was not huge, or it could have been because she was so nervous...but I have seen my little scraggly pain, move out in a collected frame which was ten times nicer.  But again, she may have been holding him in. I was hoping to see some fancy dressage moves, but she didn't do any.  Bummer!  LOL

After that, we did the trim on Trax.  Now one of the things that Laz, mentioned was that we could fix Trax's mismatched heels pretty quickly if we did a little corrective shoeing for one or 2 rounds.  He offered to do that for me, and I am not totally against it, but opted to wait.  He did however go ahead and to the trim.

Before the trim Trax was doing his usual "flop" of the left front.  Afterwards he did not.  After the trim I moved him out and boy did he look nice.  At that point Laz said to me, "I may have been jumping the gun with the suggestion of temporary corrective shoeing. This was a major change off of a very slight trim. If you are diligent in your work and keep on him about once a week to keep his angles correct, I think you can fix him without the shoes.  That is what I suggest at this point."

We also discussed the problems we have with our side passing from right to left.  He told me, "Look at your horses feet.  He is not physically capable of performing the task you are asking because he is so uneven.  His shoulder is jammed up and he can't move it like you want him too."

I said, "Well he will do it after a bit if I really keep after him."

"That is because he is trying very hard to please you, but it is hard for him physically. Once you get him fixed, he will do it for you every time.  I'd bet money on it."

Then we broke for lunch had a bite of pizza and then went inside for a lecture.

We watched a slide show of some very bad feet and discussed what had been done to fix them.  Some with shoes, but most without.

One thing he kept saying that I though was cool, was that he hates when people label stuff.   In fact he jumped on me for calling my horse crazy.

People label these horses as, this, that or the other thing. Once they label the horse as bad, or broken, or unathletic, they stop there because in their minds they have identified the problem and that is it.   For everything that a horse does, there is a cause, and it is a reaction.  It is our job to find out what the cause is and the fix the negative reaction.  

I had to laugh when he was saying that. I found myself thinking of BEC, who I know thinks the same way.

His own personal system when "fixing" a horse is to start at the feet, make sure he has done his job correctly and then go up from there.

Another thing he talked about which I thought was pure crap at first, was that if you look at a horses mane and it goes all over the place, it means there is something going on with the neck, back, or hips.   I almost called bullshit- but then one of the other gals spoke up and said, "I thought you were full of it, and then I googled it, and there is a ton of research supporting that theory."

I thought of Sassy whose mane went in 3 different directions when I got her.  Now it all lays flat and I have never tried to train it to go one way or the other.  It just does.   Interesting.

Once we were done, I lead Trax back to the trailer.  But this time the donkey and a mini where in a turn out.  I took Trax over to meet them and he sniffed noses with both.  "A" got pics of it for me, but I can't seem to get them off of my email.  :-(    He handled it like a big boy though and I was quite proud.  He didn't even get upset when the mini tried to bite his nose!!!!

So that was my clinic, and the big thing I took away was the angles and the measuring system.  I haven't ridden yet today, but hopefully will later this evening to see if the trim helps any with his ability to move while under saddle.


  1. A good hoof care professional! Nice. And you should really listen to him about labeling. If you will STOP calling Trax crazy - and stop thinking it too! - you will get farther with him. I had to do that with the horse formerly known as Crazy Dixie.

  2. I agree about the labeling as well - stop that.:)

    I'd be interested to hear more about his measurement system, there seems to be quite a lot of them out there. I will have to go out and look at all of mine now, see if they measure up:) I have found some of the measuring tricks to be useful, but they are also a bit like labeling...they can be too restrictive. If you run into a problem that throws off the measurements, you can get in a lot of trouble trying to make it fit. I doubt you'd see it with Trax, but Sassy....

    When you mentioned Trax being uneven and high on one side, one of the things that popped into my head is - make sure that you know where his true break over is. If a horse has really nice, straight legs, then the BO will be in the front of the hoof. However, if he deviates (and most do at least a little) and the foot is not allowed to find its true BO point, it will never balance no matter how you trim it. That lack of balance usually shows up as uneven wear and asymmetry. To find the true BO, drop a plumb line from the center of the knee. The knee is the least flexible joint in the whole leg and BO has to line up with how it bends, the foot won't balance until it does. In the hind feet, use the center of the hock. From the bottom of the foot, draw a line from the center of the central sulcus at the very back of the foot through the apex of the frog and to the toe.

    Interesting about the mane thing, I'll have to think about that.

  3. Yes, we must be careful of that negative labeling thing. It definitely limits our ability to see through negative behaviors/lack of trainability in our horses. Every time I think I am past labeling my horses, something new comes to my attention (like Moon's potential lack of air intake being a likely culprit for his intermittent gate issues) and I grasp a deeper understanding of just how much the physical well-being affects horses.

    I think I will have to see if I can use your farrier next year. LOL. 'Cause I just fired the one I was using. Wretched JERK!! I spent my Easter pulling shoes and fixing feet. :-). Getting tired of this. Think I just need to learn how to shape a shoe and nail it on myself because apparently I know more about proper shoeing that most of the farriers I've paid to do that job. Hahahaha

  4. I wish I could've made it to the clinic but it just wasn't to be. Instead I spent the day driving my pony and pissing people off. LOL!

    That's interesting about the mane. My mares main is unruly towards the top, up by the poll. I wonder if the location is in regards to which part of the spine needs adjusting. Further up for the neck, middle for back and towards the withers for the hips...

    Were you refering to Trax moving nicer than the Lippy, that day we had him in the lines? Because that was some pretty awesome movement he has. I don't think the arena size has much to do with how well the horse can or did move. Your round pen is a lot smaller than any arena and Trax had plenty if room and was really struttin' his stuff. The rider was inhibiting the horses movement, intentionally or not. Before the deep breath was unintentional, afterwards not so much. Maybe she was going for more collection, but the movement should still be fluid and relaxed.

    1. I forgot to add about the labeling. A lot of the horses I dealt with were labeled crazy, bitchy, rank, sour, burnt out and the list goes on... Maybe to someone else- that horse was. But until I seen the behavior myself, I just wasn't going to buy it.

      There was no reason the horse needed to be called this, that or whatever else, until they proved they were living up to their reputation. Then? Yeah, some of them really are nuts, bitchy, rank, sour or burnt out. A lot of times it is a result of the way they've been handled- coddled, spoiled or abused. Given fair treatment and something productive to DO, a lot of those horses turn around quickly and the bad behavior goes away on its own. It's a matter of creating and reinforcing the positive actions, reactions and energy.

  5. Totally agree about the labelling. I make a point of never calling my horses negative things, because there is always a reason they are doing whatever behaviour I don't like, and it's up to me to figure out what it is.