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Hoof Care

Bringing Back Sexy

May 2015

Life happens  Health crises, financial upheavals, social breakdowns are all part and parcel of human existence. Unfortunately horses sometimes get caught in the storms of life and their basic needs don’t get attended to. In other words, they get neglected. The little things like neglected hooves, teeth and worming are bad enough, but how often do we see horses that are starving? What about the opposite when neglected horses do not have their feed restricted and develop pathological conditions such as acute laminitis. 

The Trouble with Donkey Hooves

May 2015

There seems to be an ever increasing number of donkeys kept in Australia, not for riding, but as family pets or, increasingly, as livestock warriors on farms - mostly to protect sheep from dogs and foxes. Donkeys are enigmatically very good at both jobs.  Pet or warrior?  It is probably a good thing that donkeys are rarely, if ever, ridden because it seems that most domestic donkeys in Australia have hoof problems. This is not an exaggeration; it’s just that most punters wouldn’t notice anything wrong with their donkey’s hooves. 

Maintenance Trimming for Horse Owners

May 2015

Maintenance trimming  For the past decade - give or take a few seasons - I have been travelling around Australia teaching horse owners how to manage their horse’s hooves. Far from being the easy life, travelling and teaching on weekends, whilst still keeping a full-time job (working as an equine hoof therapist/trimmer/ farrier; whatever my day job is now called) is quite taxing. There are times when I find myself asking why do I keep doing it (dodging furry nightlife and aliens on a midnight run somewhere in the backblocks is bound to bring on such introspection). 

Standardbreds Unfettered

March 2015

When you take over the ownership of a ‘Standy’ – off the track – part of the package is taking on its hoof management. Own the horse; own the hooves.  Chances are its hooves will be needing help to remediate and remodel from the effects of working at pace in a harness in shoes. Its movement, posture and body shape will be changing as it adapts to life unharnessed, but under saddle - and this will be changing the balance of the ‘plastic’ hooves - most likely unpacking baggage that has been in place from its early days. 

Foal Hoof Management: Part 1 Setting the Foundations

January 2015

There is more – much more – to the story of foal hoof management than simply growing legs straight enough to pass muster at the yearling sales or breed shows. Granted, the importance of straight legs to support and keep a horse working under saddle can’t and shouldn’t be ignored, but it’s the actual morphological and physiological development of the hooves from foal to adult that allows a horse to reach its full athletic potential and sets the foundations for life long soundness.

Foal Hoof Management: Part 1 Straight Legs

November 2014

Breeding your own foals is an incredibly rewarding experience. It would be fair to say that most horse owners who breed foals they are planning to keep ‘forever’ (and not just to sell on) have a special connection with them; an emotional investment that will always be greater than it would be with a horse they have bought but not bred. This is all the more reason to do everything to keep home-bred horses fully sound for life. 

Laminitis

November 2014

Many of you may be familiar with the condition laminitis, also know as ‘founder’, or may have owned a horse that has had an episode of laminitis in the past.  If you start searching for information about laminitis, you will notice that there is a large amount of information available, however, much of this is not scientifically backed. In this article, veterinary podiatrist Dr Luke Wells-Smith, provides a summary of the most up-to-date scientific information on laminitis for the horse owner.

Phoenix Rising: Part 2

October 2014

Laminitis is not uncommon in the horse. A serious disease of the equine hoof, it can lead to long-term, crippling damage. There are several causes of laminitis, however the result is the same. Laminitis is inflammation of the connective tissue between the pedal bone and the hoof wall. A breakdown of the laminae results in rotation and sinking of the pedal bone within the hoof capsule. In simple terms, the hoof can no longer support the horse and if left untreated can lead to chronic laminitis. 

Phoenix Rising: Part 1

September 2014

Laminitis is not uncommon in the horse. A serious disease of the equine hoof, it can lead to long-term, crippling damage. There are several causes of laminitis, however, the result is the same. Laminitis is inflammation of the connective tissue between the pedal bone and the hoof wall. A breakdown of the laminae results in rotation and sinking of the pedal bone within the hoof capsule. In simple terms, the hoof can no longer support the horse and, if left untreated, can lead to chronic laminitis. 

Hoof Rehabilitation of the Standardbred

June 2014

I am a regular visitor to knackeries.  It’s not a pretty subject, but I use cadaver hooves for beginner students to practice hoof trimming at the workshops I conduct around Australia. Beginners’ mistakes are best made on cadavers. 

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