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!
COMING UP – YOU RESCUE ME, I RESCUE YOU!!!
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