Roland’s nags and nails: getting there step by step

  • We’ve seen a lot of foot conditions such as thrush, seedy toe and abscesses in the past few months. From my point of view it’s quite helpful coming across so many of these cases as I continue my education.

    Although I have yet to experience an “explosion of pus” from excavating an hoof abscess (immensely satisfying to see pus arc across the stable, allegedly), I have been cutting out lots of seedy toe, which for a rooky apprentice farrier, is also very satisfying. Being able to identify seedy toe and then deal with it is a significant step for me and reminds me that I’m starting to see more when I look at a foot.

    This week I also undertook my first laminitic trim with the help of Kris [Parsons], my training farrier. Trimming a laminitic foot is quite different from trimming a normal foot and knowing how far to take the trim is something that will take a long time to learn. Kris however, has a lot of experience in laminitis and works closely with our local veterinary surgery in dealing with many laminitic cases.

    Surprisingly for this time of year, there has been a lot of laminitis about. Laminitis is normally associated with the springtime when the new grass is coming through and not wintertime, when there is not much goodness in the grass. However, because it has been so wet this winter, horses have been kept in and fed haylage and hard feed, which perhaps has had the same effect as the spring grass. The wet has also been the reason for more abscesses and related foot conditions and I’m sure everyone is now praying for a dry spell.

    With Kris’s help, I managed to shoe a pair of hind feet this week. My hot fitting campaign continues and I can now shoe a pair of feet in less than two and half hours!! Clearly I’ve got a long way to go before I can shoe on a commercial basis. Five hours to shoe a horse is not exactly profitable work unless I can charge a few hundred quid — and, I expect I won’t have many customers at those prices!

    Until next week,



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