Oh boy, I’m headed into very controversial territory here! It is a sister to the barefoot-vs-shod hot-button topic: the concept of self-performed farriery.
Let me preface by saying that whether or not you agree or disagree with my ideas and approaches, you are welcome to share your thoughts if you feel comfortable doing so! Comments are ALWAYS welcome. =)
If you asked me a month ago if I would do any sort of farrier work to my own horses, I would have been like
And yet…last week I purchased a rasp. It is a Red Tang farrier rasp, double sided, with a wooden handle.
|Large tooth side|
|Fine tooth side|
Hemie’s back hooves look better than his fronts, which is not surprising since they haven’t had shoes in 1 year whereas the fronts have been barefoot for only 4 months. His right front is looking the worst of the group, due to significant chipping and uneven wear. You can see vertical as well as horizontal striping, and a small chunk missing on the inside from where chips broke off. The left front has a more rounded toe, and less chipping, but visible striation.
For the last week I’ve been applying the Keratex hoof hardener, and trying my hand at touch up rasping. The idea is to address small chips to prevent them from becoming larger ones. Like anything else, this is a physical task which takes practice to develop skills. IE, I don’t think I’m doing a great job at it yet, but you gotta practice to get there!
|After a light rasping. Dark spots show where I rasped.|
|After applying the Keratex.|
As to the bottom of the hooves, it is interesting to note how soft or hard they look and feel before versus after a ride.
|Left front, after riding.|
|Left front, after hoof-picking before tacking up to ride.|
Luckily Hemie has been very patient and tolerant of his mommy’s shenanigans. He calmly lets me fuss with his feet for 5 times longer than I ever used to each day. Good pony.