I have heard that there is a big storm heading their way, I hope everybody stays safe over there!
My thoughts on hoof trimming stem from a lifetime with horses and a lot of studying, but I am basically self-taught. Everything I write here is my opinion, based on this. If any of the folks at the DS think that anything I post here is wrong or needs to be changed, please tell me. Don't worry about my ego, I want to get this right. I really
I find donkey feet to be VERY different from horse feet. Some of the things that I notice and believe are:
- The hoof is more elastic and flexible, but tougher.
- It becomes quite soft in wet conditions, but hardens quickly when dry.
- On soft, wet ground, the soles out-grow the walls and need to be trimmed back.
- The heels and bars also overgrow and often leave the foot overly tall and boxy, preventing good development of the frog and shortening stride. This is often considered normal, but I do not believe it to be true. Donkey feet are more upright than horse feet, but the outer structure still needs to mirror the inner and a free stride with heel-first landing is just as important as it is in horses.
- None of us get enough exercise.
I wrote a couple of weeks ago, that I was concerned about the distortion I am seeing in Ramsey's foot. Last week, I had a new set of x-rays taken and there are some developments that I am not happy about.
First, the good news: the coffin bone is aligned very well with the front of the hoof wall with no rotation or distal descent and there is 15 mm of sole depth (an average, healthy, 1000lb horse generally has 10-12 mm).
The bad news: the sesamoid bones, which are the big knobby things at the back of his leg, have a lumpy, uneven appearance. This indicates a degree of sesamoiditis. There is too much stress on the fetlock joint. I do not know if this is entirely due to current stress or because the hoof was so horribly long after his surgery. Probably both.
Then there is this next picture. The image is reversed with the medial (inside) side on the left.
Much of this strain is because Ramsey toes-out badly on this foot, called a fetlock valgus. Many donkeys toe out, including Emma. She also toes-out worse on her right foot than her left. However, I have been able to keep her feet in balance. Ramsey's other foot also toes out some, but it too is in balance. I do not know if I messed up the trimming on this foot or if this is a byproduct of his surgery.
The medial wall has lots of growth, but curves under. The lateral wall flares and has poor attachment.
I trim the medial wall as flat and level as possible and bevel the lateral wall to encourage attachment and relive stress where the coffin bone is missing.
The twisting distortion in the whole hoof can be seen in the way the frog bends, it should not do that.
Once it sets, it can be shaped with a rasp.
My goal was to extend the foot medially so that it won't fall inwards.
I left the medial side just a little thicker to try to level the foot a bit.
I do not want to cause problems by over-correcting the foot so I tried to be very conservative.
The good thing about this, is that, if I need to I can change or remove it almost instantly. I just did this this morning and I will be watching him very carefully. So far, I think it is helping. He strides out well on it and the foot seems more stable. I believe it will need to be adjusted or replaced every two weeks at the most.
Ramsey's good front foot. The medial wall is thicker and stronger here as well, lateral wall wears off.
His back feet....This really shows how much the sole outgrows the walls.
I did finally trim the sole back to the level of the hoof wall and this is what it looked like three days later.
It has been drier since I took these and his feet are staying level at the moment.
Any constructive criticism or advice welcome!