Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘hoof trimming

Confidently Incorrect

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It was a simple mistake. It could happen to anyone. They look so much alike.

The farrier appointment was scheduled for 1:15 yesterday afternoon and I had gates closed and halters on all the horses by 1:08. She showed up on time and I was ready to hold horses while she trims and files hooves.

However, at the very same time, a very large pickup pulled up, and a person from the cable installation company hopped out with flags in his hand to mark the route for burying fiber cable up to our house.

I excused myself briefly from the barn and talked fiber route as I walked the guy up to our house, pointing out the buried hazards that must be taken into account.

As soon as I could, I returned to the paddocks to find the farrier trying to deal with Mix, who had allowed only one hoof to be trimmed before deciding the flies were too annoying for her to remain standing still. A little fly spray on the legs and my hands on the lead rope allowed Heather to get on with trimming Mix’s other three hooves.

Next was Swings and everything went flawlessly for her turn. Meanwhile, two staff from This Old Horse arrived to provide additional support. While holding horses, I noticed one car was coming up our driveway as the cable guy was driving his truck out and they each decided to drop one wheel over the steep edges to pass one another. Not the way I’d have solved it, but it avoided either one needing to back up. (Backing up is what I would have done.)

I’m feeling increasing pressure to have the driveway shoulders sloped by the excavating company that raised the base so high in the first place. But that’s another issue.

As the trimming progressed, I was still holding horses for the farrier, now working on number three of four. That’s where I screwed up. Somehow I mistook Mia for Light. They are both very similar-looking chestnuts with the main difference being their blaze.

I thought I was holding Light, who usually stresses out over the trimming process. Heather and I were so impressed it was going as well as it was. Of course, she had no clue who she was working on and was relying on me to identify them. Then came time for me to get the last horse, who I mistaking still thought was Mia.

She did not want to come up under the overhang. Sometimes Mia can be like that so the behavior supported my confusion. But it was Light and she really did not want to stand and have her hooves worked on. I got subbed out to let Tom from This Old Horse hold Light and I went to calm Mia (still thinking it was Light) who had been removed from the workspace and was temporarily trapped between paddocks.

Are you following all this?

At this point of the increasing panicking by Light, I figured out my mistake. It’s funny, I first noticed the name on a halter and assumed I put the wrong halters on each of the two. Then I took a closer look and realized the halters were correct, I was completely convinced which horse was which for the longest time, but I had been confidently incorrect.

I blame the distraction of simultaneous demands on my attention from the fiber cable installation guy and horse duty. Oh, and the fact my lovely wife wasn’t present to catch my goof and correct the identifications.

We eventually gave up on trimming Light this session. I feel bad because we probably would have handled it better if we all knew precisely which of the two chestnuts were being trimmed at the time.

My mistake. A rather humbling misidentification.

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Written by johnwhays

September 13, 2022 at 6:00 am

Minor Trim

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The mares received a visit from the farrier yesterday and got their feets fixed. They are all standing on good footing now. Like the previous time the new farrier, Heather, was here to work on our girls, Light got a little too upset to tolerate the attention.

As a result, they made a point of starting with Light first. She wasn’t much better this time, either. Next visit, Tom is going to remember to bring a little something to calm her nerves before they start.

The other three horses stood reasonably well and allowed Heather to finish what she started on each.

Here is Tom holding Swings while Heather capably plies her trade. While the horses mostly stood in place well, none of them were all that relaxed about having their legs picked up.

I think I’d rather toss 250 bales of hay for my workout than repeatedly hold up a resistant Thoroughbred mare’s leg while trying to file it.

We had closed all the gates and put halters on the horses at the start of the day in anticipation of the scheduled hoof trimming appointment. As soon as each one is done, they get freed from the halter and sent on their way.

The two chestnuts walked down to the still closed gate to the hayfield and held vigil until I showed up to open it.

I was waiting until Mix and Swings were done so as not to create any distractions while work was still in progress.

Of course, when I finally showed up and opened the gate, neither horse walked through. They turned and followed me to the next gate and the one after that. I guess they just wanted to make sure I got everything back the way they like it, so that later when they really want to get out in the fields, they will be able.

Kids. [shaking my head]

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Written by johnwhays

January 18, 2022 at 7:00 am

Pain Transfered

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Don’t let this image fool you. Delilah is almost completely back to her old self.

Tuesday, when I got home from work, Delilah was so full of energy that she wouldn’t leave Cyndie alone. After they came in from a walk, Delilah grabbed one of her squeaky toys and begged Cyndie to chase her around the house.

When Cyndie laid down on the bed for a moment, Delilah started repeatedly hopping straight into the air for more attention.

If she has any leftover pain, it wasn’t readily apparent.

Last night I gave her a fraction of a walk, keeping the leash short so she would walk beside me, at my pace. She strained to speed me up the whole way.

Every indication is that she is feeling just fine again.

On the other hand, or I could say, hoof… Cayenne seems to have picked up where Delilah’s pain left off. That mare has suddenly become almost incapacitated over an apparent flare-up of laminitis in her front feet again, particularly the side that hadn’t previously been giving her as much trouble.

It is heartbreaking to watch her struggle to move. I immediately isolated her from having access to grazing in the pastures, closing her into the smaller paddock. It seems like too little, too late, to completely turn the tide for this condition which is proving to be rather chronic for her.

Cyndie said Cayenne didn’t show signs of a problem earlier in the day, so maybe by cutting off her grass-grazing right away, this flare-up can be calmed quickly. I fear it is all part of a trend for Cayenne that may be out of our control to alleviate.

We’ve spent the summer watching George shape her hooves in increments to improve the orientation and provide her some relief, but it is a long, slow process because you can’t trim too much at a time. Now, just when we were hoping to have her beyond this problem, she is showing a turn for the worse.

We’re very happy to have Delilah free of pain, but seeing an extreme discomfort move from one of our animals to another puts a damper on our urge to celebrate our dog’s improvement.

When our animals hurt, it tends to inflict a fair amount of sympathetic pain in us, too.

Ouch.

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Written by johnwhays

October 12, 2017 at 6:00 am

Nail Appointment

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The horses had their hooves trimmed yesterday. We are nearing the end of the season of rapid hoof growth, as the days grow shorter and the horses’ bodies shift their energy to growing a winter coat of hair. The hoof growth is still going summer-strong and combined with the wet weather we’ve experienced all summer, our horses’ feet have looked pretty rough around the edges.

Cayenne has received some special attention since her days of lameness when she developed an abscess on one foot. George has been slowly reshaping the hoof over a period of multiple trims to correct the way it will support her weight. She has one hoof that tends to develop a crack in it.

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The horses weren’t the only animals having an adventure here yesterday. Delilah was exposed to a wonderfully submissive female bob-tailed Australian Shepherd. We are always grateful for a chance to work on Delilah’s socialization, and this episode verified we are a long way from having control over her aggression.

Delilah is good at blocking out our attempts to command her to stand down, soldier. I’m afraid she requires reprimands that equal her outbursts, and I’m not sure our level tends to match hers.

I don’t know how to balance an intense level of reproach between that which would be effective and one inducing unintended trauma to her canine psyche. We got her when she was already almost 10-months old, not knowing the full extent of her early history, and it seems to us that she shows occasional signs of possible past trauma.

Cyndie is considering shopping around for a training school course this fall. She has my full support.

Our feline had a different sort of adventure last night. Pequenita was conspicuously absent overnight and this morning, such that it was the very first thing Cyndie and I spoke of this morning. Where was the cat?

She has a history of wanting to get outside. Last night we had company over and ate dinner on the deck, so were in and out of enough doors that ‘Nita had plenty of opportunities to sneak out. Our first thoughts were to look outside, but logic told me that there are plenty of indoor places where she might have gotten trapped behind a closed door.

With that in mind, it didn’t take long to hear her distant call from the storage room downstairs. She was thirsty and starved for affection, but otherwise unharmed by her overnight confinement away from her peeps.

We dive into another day of relative animal normalcy with our crew…

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Written by johnwhays

August 26, 2016 at 8:22 am

Hooves Trimmed

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Taking full advantage of the quick-dry we are enjoying this March, I was out raking the lime screenings on the upper slope around the barn and picking up the never-ending crop of manure the horses like to deposit there. DSCN2948eAs I often choose to do lately, I had Delilah tethered to an outside hook on the paddock fence where she was doing her best to behave like she was an integral participant in my project.

For whatever silly reason that only dogs can understand, she picked a perch that looked like she was claiming ownership of one of the piles I was trying to pick up.

I was hoping to get the area cleaned up in time for the scheduled appointment to have our farrier/neighbor, George Walker, give the horses their routine periodic hoof trimming.

We are starting to get the hang of the process and for the first time since he has been coming to do this, we prepared by getting a halter on each of the horses and tethering them up near the barn in advance. I give Hunter credit for this bit of wisdom, as he always played hard to get when it was time for his turn. George would be stuck waiting while tried to quickly talk Hunter into cooperating.

Quickly cooperating is not something he is inclined to do, especially when it is our agenda and not his.

Case in point, just getting him into his halter yesterday took 3-times longer than it did the rest of the herd. Having done so, the 4 horses were in an out of the hoof trimming station in record time. The only thing that slows down the process is all the precious gabbing we end up doing while George works.

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Written by johnwhays

March 15, 2015 at 9:52 am

Stitches Out

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We traveled to the big city yesterday for Cyndie’s follow-up appointment to have the surgeon’s nurse inspect the incision and remove the two stitches in the long wound. The way modern medicine closes surgical wounds in this day and age amazes me. Everything looks good and Cyndie says she is a lot more comfortable having that sticky bandage finally removed. Her movements have improved visibly as a result.

This morning our farrier, George, is coming to trim the horse’s hooves. It was scheduled on his calendar after the last appointment, but I had completely lost track of it. Luckily, he sent a text alerting me. Suddenly my morning routine is squeezed a bit.

The horses were in good spirits when I showed up to serve their a.m. feed and put out hay. I’m hoping they will be cooperative for me in an hour, because Cyndie will not be able to do more than offer moral support as I take on the role of chief handler for George as he works.

Delilah is another challenge. She has been hyper-focused on critters out the window and doing her worst to destroy glass and window trim to claw her way after them from inside. We have tried resorting to instant “time-out” when she loses control and jumps at the window, bringing her back to the spiral staircase and leashing her in place for a spell. After the second instance in a row this morning, instead of lying down in acceptance of her fate, she took to boldly barking her defiance.

I tried the “ignore” technique, because I was busy trying to write, but that didn’t help Cyndie. She couldn’t stand it. I understand that totally. There are plenty of times when I absolutely can’t tolerate the bark. It’s interesting that I was determined enough to try to finish my task with the looming appointment in the barn creating a tight deadline, that I was fine in this instance with letting the loud bark float in one ear and out the other.

The dog will unfortunately be restrained in her kennel during the hoof trimming today, since we don’t have enough hands to tend to everyone at once. Sadly, I think her time in the kennel while we were gone yesterday is the reason for her rambunctiousness today. It just means I will have to give her extra attention this afternoon.

I have taken to letting her run off leash inside the pasture fencing, while I toss discs for her to chase. The fence has worked well to keep her from giving in to the urge to dash off into the woods after some tempting scent, even though she can finagle under it if allowed. The lowest strand is not electrified, and I think she has figured that out.

Time to go prepare the horses for their hoof-icure appointment!

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Written by johnwhays

December 6, 2014 at 10:31 am