I’m traveling over this Christmas break, and so I’m away from Rudi for a couple of weeks. This isn’t an issue, since its wintertime, he was recovering from an abscess when I left, and he needed time to just heal. However, since being out here, I ran across a post on Facebook, which blew my mind.
For a long time, I’ve been hearing about how important it is that the horse be able to make a heel-first landing. I’ve also learned from watching this incredible video by a veterinarian (who is an amazing educator), that most horses have thrush, and we should be assuming our horse has thrush to one degree or another. Here is her talk, aptly entitled ‘Is the Hoof Smart?’:
After watching this video, I realized that those thin cracks up in between the heel bulbs, albeit small, were holding thrush and were causing a measure of soreness for Rudi. So, I have started diligently treating for thrush.
Then I found this post on Facebook by Sound Hoof Trimmer, and she posted the graphic below:
When I compared that to the photo I happen to have on my phone out here with me on my Christmas travels, I realized Rudi also doesn’t have enough hoof at the back of his hoof. Now, I have had people share with me, both freely and also via paid advice, that he needed to grow some more hoof. Several people have even mentioned the heel buttress. But I had no frame of reference, and so a picture is truly worth a thousand words. Until I saw this very detailed graphic, I just didn’t have any comprehension of what the back of his feet should look like. Without this structure, imagine how uncomfortable it would be to land on the heel?
I am now quite anxious to return and see what his feet look like, currently. The mind doesn’t see what it isn’t looking for, and I haven’t been looking for these structures, so there may be more heel buttress there than I’m remembering. I haven’t trimmed anything off for quite a while, so I’m optimistic. The picture posted at the top of this is from August, and I’m hopeful that there’s been some significant growth since then, but I honestly can’t remember.
Go take a look at your horse’s feet today – I’d love it if you’d post and share what the heel bulbs and heel buttresses look like. I’m happy to share how I’m treating the thrush, too – just comment below and I’ll connect with you on the details.