Or, at least it has proven to be our friend through this process. To desensitize him to the shoeing experience, I am (literally) hammering on the bottom of Sherm's feet every time I groom him, and sometimes just for the heck of it, but he's still a huge, young, dangerous-when-bored animal, and hey, I like my farrier. So, a little happy juice, and you get a horse who takes 4 shoes in just over an hour, and never gets more excited than this:
|Hmmm? What's that you say? Someone is shoeing me? Ok.|
Sherm was mellow and awesome, allowing my farrier to just pick up and work each foot in turn, like this:
|Sherm not arguing while farrier works away|
Last time around, the BBW threw the farrier around quite a bit with the hinds. Not today. Nothing but a thing. Yay, light sedatives!
|No, not that much sedation!|
So here is the interesting news...
On his front feet, Sherman has gone up a shoe size. By not grinding, wearing, and pounding away his own natural surfaces, Sherm has grown so much "foot to work with" that he needed the next size shoe. The foot is expanding and needs a wider and longer base of support. Interesting.
|First shoe on top of today's larger shoe|
Also interesting to me, his hoof wall is thickening on all four feet. Similar reasons-- no grinding, wearing, pounding on the hoof material itself, allowing for him to grow and keep a good bit of hoof to himself. The shoes are taking the abuse, and his feet are protected from the pounding. Didn't quite expect this kind of improvement, but more hoof seems a good thing.
What I am most pleased about, however, is the improving angles of Sherm's hooves. For his entire life, he has had "broken angles"-- upright hooves at the bottom of the pastern, making him look like a kid walking around on these:
While there is only so much change that can be made to that natural, screwy conformation, shoes are making a difference. Here is Sherm's LH after trimming, but before re-setting the shoe:
|Not textbook perfect, but no more Dixie Cup Stilts!|
As he was setting the last nails in the last shoe, Mr. Awesome Farrier pointed out that he does not use all the nail holes, which I had noticed, of course. He intentionally leaves the nail holes to the rear of the shoe un-nailed in order to allow for the natural expansion of the hoof wall under compression, and the related contraction of the hoof when the foot is off the ground; this prevents contraction of the hoof wall over time. Interesting.