Monday, September 30, 2013

Uno's Problem Feet - Cont.

Uno has always had great big platter feet - unfortunately consisting almost entirely of toe and overgrown bar. Two trims ago I decided it was time to really get on top of things with regard to the bar which had totally overtaken the back of his feet. Some aggressive hacking later revealed sole in the heel area, and I think we were on the road to recovery.

Since that post (16 August), I trimmed him again two weeks later (2 September – just before we went on vacation) and then again as soon as I could - four weeks later (29 September). Four weeks is too long for him as his toes overtake everything.

On Sunday after his trim, I rode him 18 miles - mostly slow, consistent trotting. Although he never took a lame step, he doesn't seem terribly motivated right now. This could be lack of fitness, but he seems flat...I'm wondering if his feet are generally uncomfortable?

Although the overgrown bar around the heel area is much more under control than in August, it occurred to me as I pared away at the stuff next to his frog that I actually have no idea what I'm doing.

I know bar should not overlay the sole (something that has caused Uno to abscess in the past), but as far as how far forward the structures should stretch alongside the frog towards the toe...? I'm thinking only about half way along the frog? ...<blank>.

Freshly washed left front the day after trimming and an 18 mile trot-on-hard-pack ride.
  • Note the bruising on the left heel. No idea how to fix that.
  • He has flaky sole, but it's not flaky enough to pare away without getting aggressive (admittedly his feet were dry and hard - but even when soggy, his feet are super-hard and not interested in exfoliating). Removing this flaky stuff seems more cosmetic than necessary?
  • He has a deep central sulcuus groove which needs thrush treatment (although it isn't thrushy - just a deep groove). Hopefully treating that would help him grow more heel.
  • I like how the bar around the left heel is shaping up (compared to August). The right side is still somewhat overlaid, though.
  • It looks like I was even more aggressive with his toe length in August (see below). 
  • The flare/separation at 2-3 o'clock isn't as bad as it looks on the photo
  • He's currently wearing size 2 Gloves, but has been in size 1.5s at times (when his toes were much shorter)
Left front on 16 August, six weeks ago

I don't love the side view of this left front foot. This is his "backwards foot" - ie. the one he places back when grazing - which is what is going on in both of these pics - he was eating off the ground and placing this foot back.

Looks like the back quarters are pushing up into the coronet band, but yet there's nothing to be trimmed from that area - it's already very flush. His heels look high, but they aren't.
And the toe is pulled forward.

I'm wondering if the overlaid bar from the past caused the back part of his foot to impact and that's why it looks like everything's jammed in that area? But the right front foot had more overlaid bar, and it looks much better than the left:

Right front–admittedly placed forwards while eating–but a better profile.
Crapola photo of right front, but pretty similar to the left.
Bars were originally more overlaid, but improving.

But back to my main concern - what to pare away and what to concentrate on. Here's my thoughts:

  • How far towards the toe should bar material be present? I'm thinking only about half way along the frog? Currently the bar material extends all the way to the tip of his frog on the right side and most of the way on the left side (turquoise lines). 
  • Should I continue to pare away slithers from this area? How deep can I go? 
  • The bar alongside his frogs (turquoise lines) is shallower than at the collateral grooves. Does this mean I can pare more away? 
  • The red line shows where the bar is still overlaid. Again, how deep can I pare down to remove this excess? The sole underneath needs room to grow in, but I don't want to thin the sole too much (even if it is made up of mostly bar material) and cause him to get sore.

* * *

And lastly, totally unrelated, but I noticed this "hang nail" area on his right front foot in his coronet band back in August. It is now growing down his foot. It isn't a crack per se, more like where the hoof has peeled away vertically from the top to the bottom about 1/8".

What would cause this and is there anything I should do to treat it? Or just pretend I never saw it?

Caveat: All the above was written when I wasn't 100%, so if something makes no sense, let me know and I'll try to rewrite.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Measuring for Socks

Knowing how blotto I can be at the end of a ride and how incapable of performing simple tasks* ("Simple Tasks"  Poulticing and wrapping legs with standing wraps), I was quite excited when Equiflexsleeves (available from SSTACK.COM) showed up on my radar. These are basically compression socks for horses. All you need is a ziploc bag to put over the hoof to drag the stupid things on, and, voila, your horse is "wrapped".

I can do that.

(* I could barely figure out how to get Fergus' T-clips on his blanket fastened at the end of NASTR 75 I crashed so hard)

So yesterday morning's exercise was to run around the paddock, measuring legs. Luckily, Sally is visiting at the moment, so I enlisted her as scribe and proceeded to chase the horses around with my tape measure.

This is what I found out:
(the measurements are in inches, the letters after the
measurements correspond to the Equiflexsleeve sizes)

Size Needed
Cannon Circ
Fetlock Circ
Cannon Circ
Fetlock Circ
10 (M)
8 (S)
10 (S)
12 (M) 
9.5 (S/M) 
11 (XS) 
11 (L)
8 (S)
10.5 (S) 
12.5 (M) 
9 (XS) 
11 (XS)
10 (M)
8 (S)
10 (S) 
12 (M) 
9 (XS) 
11 (XS) 
11 (L)
9 (M)
11 (M) 
12.5 (M) 
9.5 (S/M)  
12 (S/M)
8.5 (-)
7 (-)
9.5 (-)
11 (S)
8 (XS)
10  (-)

First, the exciting part - for once, it would appear that Roo, Uno and Hopi can all wear the same size, both front and back, meaning I only have to buy four socks instead of 12. And hopefully they won't ever need them at the same time. If they do, probably Uno gets dibs, since he's more prone to filling than Roo is.

Second, it looks like they still haven't come up with a size small enough for Jackit's legs, although an XS may work on his backs. I did hear a rumour they were working on smaller sizes, so maybe there's still hope. One of my goals for next year might be getting Small Thing to do some distance, so I'm planning ahead for him.

Regardless of that, just lookit Jackit's measurements - not too shabby considering he's 12:3 hh and the others are 14:2/15:2 hh. Go Small Thing!!

* * *

These are the sizes currently on offer:

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Things I Learned at Virginia City 2013

  • You can get in at least a half-hour nap after the start and still make it to the highway crossing (19 miles) in time to see the front-runners. Take that 30 minutes - you will feel so much more human.
  • When applying sunscreen, try to avoid inserting it into your eye. It's quite hard to spot your rider with only one eye.
  • You will need sunscreen, hand lotion, and lip balm. Apply often, otherwise you will return from your weekend with peeling face and lips, and cracked fingers (I knew this, but still failed to adhere to this simple rule of visiting NV).
  • You have time to get from the hwy crossing (19 miles) to the first vet check (24 miles)—via Starbucks.
  • Rides that have Starbucks within accessible distance of the first vet check are very civilised for both crew and rider.
  • Always try to park your vehicle so that horse and rider are blocked from the wind.
  • There will be wind. (I knew that. Why should this year be any different?)
  • Kody can consume astonishing amounts of fud (OK, I knew that too, but I'm still always astounded by just how much he can get down in one sitting).
  • Bring binoculars to spot your rider coming across the sagebrush several miles away from Washoe Lake trot-by (especially when one eye is still full of sunscreen).
  • Despite numerical evidence to the contrary, you will not have time to sit/knit/read a book while crewing.
  • Three headlights aren't enough when you're crewing - they can and do fail.
  • You can never have enough fleece blankies (I knew this, but as usual, it was proven to me once again).
  • When you see them, buy many pairs of those $2 stretchy woolly gloves and then stash them in every nook and cranny of truck and trailer. They will get used.
  • Treat the first 50 mile loop with extreme care. It's tough, but not nearly as tough as the next loop and you need as much reserve in the tank for that section as you can muster.
  • Yes, that 51-76 mile loop will wipe you and your horse out. Even if it goes relatively smoothly, you'll come in from it feeling physically and emotionally on the edge. Do your best and this too shall pass.
  • Your rider will need extra special patting and propping up at 76 miles.
  • Horses that don't look quite right, gait-wise at 76 miles, can and do look fine by 92 miles.
  • Horses that don't look quite right, gait-wise at 92 miles, can and do look fine by 100 miles.
  • The hours between 1 am and 5 am pass much quicker when listening to Jamie Kerr telling stories
  • Enjoying the barrel stove inside the Ice House building is a wondrous thing between 1 am and 5 am.
  • Hot water bottles + tired riders = A Good Thing