It is important to remember that the outside is lateral and the inside is medial, and it does not make any difference if you are viewing the hoof as it is standing on the ground or if you are looking at the bottom (solar) view with the hoof in your hands. Nor does it matter which way you are facing. The outside is the outside.
So many people get it wrong by thinking that when they pick the hoof up, they have to trim the opposite side of the hoof from when it was standing on the ground – if you find it’s confusing, just mark the side of the hoof to be trimmed with a marker pen.
IF the hoof is:
PADDLING - the leg swings outwards so to correct it, trim the outside or lateral side of the hoof.
DISHING - the leg swings to the inside, so to correct it, trim the inside or medial side of the hoof.
SPLAYED (in the front hooves) - toes are pointing out, so trim the outside 2/3rds of the hoof.
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I have just come back from Sport Horse Expo in WA, followed by Equitana in Melbourne. After seeing some of the demonstrations at both places, and checking out the qualifications of some of the ‘educators’ and then coming home to a backlog of emails from horse owners clamouring for enlightenment on what is right and what is wrong, I have decided that for this article I am taking a rest and will assemble some quotes.
The following extracts are taken from my Bible, ‘The Principles of Horseshoeing’ written by Dr Doug Butler and Jacob Butler. My Bible (P3 Edition 2004) is 1000 pages of technical information about horses’ hooves. Dr Doug Butler has a PhD from Cornell University, is a Certified Journeyman Farrier from the American Farrier’s Association and was the first American Fellow of the Worshipful Company of Farriers of England. He has taught farrier science for more than 40 years at universities, schools, clinics, seminars, conferences and conventions.
To quote Dr Butler:
‘The HOOF WALL bears most of the horse’s weight, resists wear and trauma, and cuts into the ground to provide traction. The … Continue Reading ››
Over the years as a general farrier, I have been called upon to perform hoof care on these gentle extensions of many families, and have always viewed the task as being very character building.
We have not done the donkey any favours by introducing them to the wet climate of the hills areas with the lush improved pastures which were great for dairy herds, but not really ideal for horses or donkeys.
So to start to understand the impact these factors have on the hooves we need only to clearly understand that because we have taken the donkey out of his natural environment, which was for the most part dry and stony country, and which allowed the hoof to be worn down naturally, we then have to provide him with regular hoof care to compensate.
The hoof growth rate of a donkey is the same as a horse which is about … Continue Reading ››
I haven’t come across too many mules in Australia. The mule is the offspring of a male donkey and a female horse; the mule stallion in infertile. Much rarer is the hinny – the offspring of a male horse and a female donkey.
The hooves of a mule can be either donkey footed, or like the horse, or somewhere in between so trimming the mule is open to interpretation.
Wendy is an appealing mule who was brought to me recently for trimming, and she was easy and amiable about having her feet trimmed. Her hooves wore down very quickly so for the next appointment her owner decided she really needed shoes for trail riding.
The front shoes went on without too much difficulty. However when it came to the back shoes, Wendy was not having a bar of it. An hour later, with one hind shoe fitted and after Wendy’s back foot had whistled past my ear one too many times, I called it quits.
I had exchanged several emails with an enthusiaastic mule packer (trail rider) in Canada some years ago and his philosophy was ‘A mule will be your best friend for 40 years while he waits for that one opportunity to … Continue Reading ››