Milo had his second visit from the new farrier on Friday. I thought I would share his pre-trim feet in comparison to those done prior to the new farrier, at the same length of time: 7 weeks.
Fronts before New Farrier:
Fronts after New Farrier:
Even though I still see slight inbalances, some that the farrier noted as well, his front hooves do look like they are made for each other now, whereas in the before photo, the two look completely different. While the after photo still shows feet which need trimmed, they dont look near as terrible as the before ones. That speaks volumes to how effective the new trimming has been!
Hinds before New Farrier:
Hinds after New Farrier:
I still see some similarities between the two, but nothing really all that bad. Probably the most notable difference however is how much longer they are in the before photo, versus that of the after (again each photo was taken 7 weeks post trim). Also, they too look like they "belong" together, versus the before photo, which still looks like two different hooves. Overall, I think the proof is in the pudding and after sevens weeks trim, Milo still seems to be on better track then he was before. Plus his ribs have stayed in place, and he has been moving fabulously!
I have a good time chatting with this farrier; he is very knowledgeable and has a lot to say if you get him going. One of the many topics we discussed and what I found very applicable to Milo particularly, was the purpose of flaring in hooves. I asked my farrier if this is something to be concerned about, and true to character he answered in a kind of round-about way. His analogy was a loosely filled water balloon - you know the type that you can still step on and it wont pop. Well, place that balloon on the ground and step directly in the center, the water and balloon will puff out all directions, looking like a donut. But if you step on it just slight of center, it will force most of the water out one direction.
A flare occurs (basically) by the weight of the body being placed off center to that balloon, thereby causing the hoof wall (water) to bulge out to one side. The flare doesnt call for too much of a concern soundness wise, my farrier said. Flares are caused by conformation flaws, but in Milo's case he suggested, nothing to get concered about, just something to mildly treat in our trims. Interesting.
He also said he finds Milo as a much more content horse. Last time, Milo was fidgety, mouthy, and borderline rude to the farrier. He even said to me he was slightly nervous on how Milo might escalate that on our visit Friday, but was happy to find Milo did not.
As I went out in the pasture to gather Milo, the little s.hit turned tail and walked the other direction of me straight towards the farrier. (More groundwork in the pasture, Milo? You little poop??) He trotted, non confrontationally straight into the farrier's face as if to say "Who are you in my pasture?" My farrier didnt move a muscle as Milo came towards him, but didnt radiate tenseness or fear. It was cool to watch even though I was lengths behind Milo. Farrier's demeanor basically told Milo he was no "threat" to his pasture, but also not someone to run right over in lack of respect.
Once Milo was haltered and Farrier began working, there was a moment where Milo tensed up the front leg he was working on, and held the tenseness, seeing what the farrier would do. Farrier just moved with him - didnt try and hold his leg or get tense himself, didnt wack him on the belly with the rasp. Milo sighed and licked his lips, relaxing his leg. He also was really calm about his hind legs, which is a game/test he likes to play with the farriers as well. Again, Farrier didnt react really in any way, and Milo was fine again.
This sparked some conversation between the two of us afterwards, and he explained that he has found that tensing up as well not only nine times out of ten makes the horse pull back even more, but also ends up hurting himself. So Farrier has learned to just move with their movements, and the horses relax just fine. This was a cool concept with Milo, a horse who likes to test his limits and almost "pick fights".
I am really pleased with this farrier all around.