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!




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