Part 120 – Blood, Sweat and Tears….. And Pete!

Pete Ramey had become a comforting voice – his DVDs gave me confidence – and just watching how he handled the hooves with ease helped me.

One hot summer morning,  it was time to cut the ragged hooves. Here I was standing at the bottom of the cliff that was making my trek up Hoof Mountain difficult.   I braced myself – I made one tiny cut, reinforced him – and repeated…. That was it.  I didn’t want to do too much.

Phew!!  No reaction!!  ….  I put the tools away – shaking – sweat pouring off me – and mentally congratulated myself and Magnum.  We had done it!!  You couldn’t even really see what I had done – but I had cut off a small piece of hoof.

I had a congratulatory cup of coffee – and a swim!  Then I was exhausted –  so I went to do some quiet meditation – and fell asleep – as I was so often doing lately.  I put it down to the stress of learning about hoof trimming!

In the cool of the evening, it was time to tackle a little bit more – and that’s how the next few days and weeks went.  There would be a nip here and there, much reinforcing, then a swim and a lie down.  And in between I watched and listened to Pete Ramey.  I was addicted to the DVDs.  I loved watching him carefully craft a hoof.  And I went over them several times.

The nips started to get bigger (there’s a song about that!) which was fortunate as there was a lot of hoof to trim off.  As well as the excess hoof there was separation, overgrown and under run heels, frogs that weren’t getting enough contact with the ground – and thrush.  It would take time to repair the hooves, but this was a start.

This whole process of hoof trimming was bringing us closer together than any other exercise we had done.  I was learning about his body – which parts were difficult for him.  We would laugh together when his hoof fell off the stand – and over time his balance got better.  He also accepted me spraying the hoof – and I shaved the fur and feathers around the lower legs and treated his pastern dermatitis.

To me he was truly shining.  He had let me in – put himself in vulnerable positions – and he was relaxing.  We were both climbing that cliff that was hindering our way up Hoof Mountain.  The path was getting easier.

I had started on the left hind leg – the easier of the hind legs.  It was a gentle process of putting the hoof on the stand – giving the lower leg a bit of a massage – and putting it down again.  I was constantly running from his hind leg to reinforce him.  I followed the same process as with the front legs and soon we had a nicely trimmed left hind hoof!!!

Photos:  Left – Front legs – First trim Right top – 6 week trim – Right bottom – working on the left hind!

The right hind was proving to be much harder.  It was his support leg.  It took much of the weight of the left hind – so I needed to go slowly.  Each day I would ask him to lift that leg and gradually he built up some strength in the other legs.  It took some time to get it on the hoof stand – and even longer to leave it there.

I would stand looking at his other nicely trimmed hooves, just hoping I could get to this one!  Photos:  Left hind trimmed – right hind still to go!

Even when I got the hoof onto the stand – he couldn’t bend it enough to stay on there.  I had to keep moving the stand to stop the hoof falling off.  Eventually he was able to bend it a little more and we started on the trimming.  The photos below show before and after.  It was certainly the worst of all the hooves.

It was a long slow process – he couldn’t hold it there for too long and I had to trim it from an awkward angle.  It took forever.  Each day I would be in a sweat!  I would have a break and head to the other hooves to tidy them up.  I brought the heels down very gradually – I knew it would be a whole different feeling for him.


Finally the hooves were finished. The whole process had taken several months. We had made it to the top of Hoof Mountain – Magnum and I could now sit on the summit and celebrate!!

It was time to reflect and give the other horses some much needed attention!




5 thoughts on “Part 120 – Blood, Sweat and Tears….. And Pete!

  1. Thank you for this post! I’m at the bottom of the mountain with one of mine and this gives me hope that we will, eventually, achieve properly trimmed hooves together!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. He’s come a long way since he came to me – though still a long way to go. Thank goodness for Alex and clicker training, though – it’s the only way to work with him, tiny slices and constant love and positive reinforcement. He explodes with any kind of pressure.


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