Archive for September, 2009

Didn’t have a leg to stand on

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

Fudge came to us with a set of front shoes on.  It didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that one shoe was 1/4″ too long, and the other was 3/4″ too long.  The right front was rasped at a different angle across the sole.  His left front heels were contracted, and all soles were flat.

Paula Derby had told me that she took her horses to a farrier service that pulls, rasps, and reshoes all four in about 20 minutes.  The person making the shoes is not the same person that nails them on.  They must take the attitude that if the shoe doesn’t quite fit, it’s OK, they’ll get new ones the next time.

My farrier was out shortly after we brought Fudge home.  He had a few choice words to describe drive-in, assembly line farrier services.  I’d had two rides on Fudge by that time, and knew there were problems with his stability, but did not yet know he had EPM.  I had the farrier pull the shoes, and leave him barefoot.  This accidental decision – some might say gut feeling – was the best thing I could have done for Fudge.  It took me 8 months to learn this.

As some of you may have guessed from the last blog entry, Fudge was tripping – in part – from toes that were too long.  Before you jump on my case or my farrier’s about the pre-trim photos, consider the problems associated with trimming a horse that is unstable on three legs. 

Fudge didn’t have a leg to stand on, at least one that he could feel.  He is still somewhat unstable when one foot is lifted.  He places his rear feet at odd angles, and is sometimes parked out.  He does not know where his rear feet are, or how they are positioned.  I asked the farrier to skip a trim on him once, and only trim the front once, because he was so unstable.  The farrier was also scheduling trims at intervals for shod feet – every 8 weeks.


Fudge's Front Feet before trim. Note stance


Front right. Note toe drag, contracted heels, and broken thumb.










 After viewing the videos of a test ride, I read up on natural hoof care, and called in Dawn Willoughby to teach me and my farrier how to trim for the ‘Wild Horse Model’.  Because all three horses have been barefoot for some time (Fudge 9 months, TWH 1.5 years, and Mustang her whole life), we did not need to boot the horses after the trim.  It is a work in progress, moving from a pasture trim to the wild horse model.

If you are not familiar with the work of Jamie Jackson or Pete Ramey, please start here: