The Weaving Inn

Home to the knitting world's anti-Finisher. Kind of like the anti-Christ, but with a smaller following.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

No Hoof, No Horse

In the horsey world, there is a saying, "No Hoof, No Horse." What this basically means is if your horse doesn't have good feet, he's not much good for anything. Of all the different breeds there are of horses, Thoroughbreds have a reputation for having really bad feet. Ahh, you know where this is going, don't you?

Last Thursday I had the farrier come out because Victor obviously had tender tootsies. Limping, not walking correctly, tripping over himself, it was clear something was going on. Along comes Dave The Farrier, who I adore, and after inspecting Victor's feet proclaims, "These are the worst feet I've ever seen on a horse. I can't believe he's still walking." Then he looks at me and says, "I have no idea what to do. I'll have to get my friend to come out, he's had 25 years of experience." I look back at him and say, "But, but, you're the farrier. You're SUPPOSED to know what to do." He shrugs and replies, "See ya Saturday."

I take Victor back to his stall, a process that takes 20 minutes because we have to stop every few feet because his feet are so sore. All I can think is that they're going to tell me I have to put him down.

Yesterday rolls around and Dave The Farrier and The Expert Farrier show up. I've already been to the ATM and pulled out every penny I have. The Expert Farrier looks at Victor's feet and tells Dave, "Shoe the fronts." Dave puts the shoes on and The Expert Farrier looks at me and begins giving me my To-Do List.

1) Pick out all the rocks in Victor's pen every day.
2) Rub iodine on his soles every night to toughen the skin.
3) Buy special hoof supplements that cost $50 a bucket.
4) Put special boots on his feet so he doesn't throw a shoe.
5) Hope for the best.
6) Give me $80.00.

Victor is already walking better with his new shoes on his front feet. The front feet of a horse absorb 70% of the overall weight of the horse which is why we shoed those first (he was barefoot previously). Today we walked up a small hill and Victor didn't hesitate once. Except for when he stepped on the back of my sneaker and I yelled at him to get off me.

Here's Victor in his rock free pen with his snazzy new shoes. On the left is "Peyote" who Victor tolerates and on the right is "Meteor" who Victor likes to bite through the bars. It's a good thing I had a substantial stash of yarn before I got this horse.


  • At 12:09 AM, Blogger Kristen said…

    Aw, Victor. He's definitely not gellin'.

    But wouldn't that be cool, to have gel inserts for horseshoes?
    Eh, they probably don't make them to withstand that much weight.

  • At 3:45 AM, Anonymous Dave Daniels said…

    Vistor's New Shoes. Sounds like a children's book, about a poor, unwanted horse who had to go barefoot. Until a little girl named April came along to help him get new shoes.
    Ha ha ha, he stepped on your foot! Smart horse.

  • At 4:42 AM, Blogger catsmum said…

    I was really afraid when I started reading that you were going to say he'd had to be put down. Thank goodness you're heading in the right direction at last.
    More encouraging noises from my lot

  • At 5:33 AM, Blogger trek said…

    About the only thing good about the to do list was the 'give me $80 part'. It could have been so much more.

    If he steps on your foot again, try elbowing him. Works like a charm on most horses.

  • At 11:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Looks like Victor has the cleanest pen in town! I know I've said this before, but it's worth repeating: He's so lucky to have you! (and you ARE lucky that you already have a substantial yarn stash!)

  • At 1:08 PM, Blogger Cookie said…

    Thank goodness it wasn't worse!

  • At 1:33 PM, Anonymous KnittyOtter said…

    I just read through the whole story of Victor. I'm really glad he has you. And you him.

    I hope things settle down and work out for you guys. It's very touching and stories like this should always have a happy ending.


  • At 2:48 PM, Blogger Sheepish Annie said…

    Poor Victor!!! And through it all he seems so calm and accepting. Amazing.

    The Big, Fluffy Kitty approves of your diligence.

  • At 6:06 PM, Blogger Heide said…

    Poor Victor! He is so lucky to have you to save him. If my last name was Gates I'd send you money for Mr. V... and some spa treatment for yourself as well. What a kind and giving person you are.

  • At 5:37 AM, Blogger SillyRabbits said…

    If it makes you feel any better, putting a horse down on account of poor feet is highly unlikely. They have all kinds of neat tricks nowadays for rebuilding feets, plastics & such that are basically Bondo for hooves. It's not unlike patching up a rusted out car. He sure is lucky to have clearly care about him a great deal!

  • At 3:11 PM, Blogger Jeanne said…

    SillyRabbits is absolutely correct. I started to leave a comment but it was too long so I'm emailing you instead. But SillyRabbits is right; there are natural hoofcare methods that are proven to save horses suffering from issues such as laminitis or navicular--horses that previously would have been destroyed. Link for the curious:

    Hoof Rehab

    Gel inserts aren't (yet) available for horse boots/shoes, but there are foam and rubber inserts.

  • At 3:15 PM, Blogger Jeanne said…

    OK I was going to email you, but your email isn't available. So here's my long comment.

    You may want to look into natural hoof care as an option to shoeing. This field is becoming more popular now that longer-term research is proving that hoof issues such as laminitis and navicular can not only be treated but completely resolved using natural methods. Horses that would previously have been put down are being saved and restored to soundness.

    It's working miracles for my mare after traditional methods failed her. She is Insulin Resistant for starters, which (like diabetes) causes foot soreness when she is exposed to sugars in grass and sweet feed, so she is on a special diet (which helped immensely). Her trim schedule is carefully maintained. Her feet went from awful to spectacular in a year.

    Question: Victor was prescribed a diet to help him gain healthy weight. By chance, did you notice a correlation between when his diet was changed and the onset of his lameness? Some horses are sensitive to sugar (like mine); others need a low-carb diet. It might take some experimenting to find out. Have you considered chiropractic and acupunture? I know some might laugh at the thought, but my skepticism left when it helped my mare.

    Good luck with Victor--he's a cutie, and I feel that he's in good hands.


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