What I had hoped to do was to show you how Nimo's feet changed over the course of a three-week trim cycle and then conclude by giving some details about how I trim. What actually happened is that after managing to get some halfway decent pictures showing Nimo's freshly trimmed hooves, I forgot my good camera, so had to use my iPhone camera, which is not intended for taking pictures of horses' hooves at night in a poor lighting. Then, I missed taking pictures at week 2 because I had guests staying with me for the week. During week 3, my skills with the iPhone camera got exponentially worse, resulting in pictures that are almost unidentifiable. Also, I completely changed my objective. More on that in a bit.
But first, I'll show you the comparison photos that are kind of pointless because it turns out that Nimo's hooves didn't really change much during the three weeks. They measured 6 1/8" wide by 6 1/8" long just after the trim and they measured 6 1/4" wide by 6 1/8" long at 3 weeks. The only real changes I noticed were that the gap between the back quarter of the hooves and the ground got smaller and the beveling on the bottom of the hoof got more rounded and worn.
|LH front view|
|LH lateral view|
|LH back view|
|LH bottom view|
|RH front view|
|RH lateral view|
|RH back view|
|RH bottom view|
But, hoof protection is required on all four hooves for OD rides, and with one coming up next month, I knew I needed to start riding with hoof boots on Nimo's hind feet. I brought the Cavallos back out, thinking that with Nimo's measurements, they might be a little snug. The Cavallo website shows that 6 1/8" is the upper limit for both width and length for size 6 Simple boots. However, the Cavallos did still seem to fit and they worked OK, but they just seemed so clunky on his feet, especially when he cantered up a hill.
Because I was in the hoof measuring and hoof boot research zone for Nimo's front feet (I tried the Easyboot Trails with success a week ago), it seemed natural to keep working on options for his hind feet. I had a couple of brand new size 4 Easyboot Epics that I bought in February this year, thinking they would work for Nimo's front feet. When they didn't, I just put them in the giant container in the garage with all my other failed or broken boots. When I checked the measurements for the size 4s, I realized that I just needed to trim a tiny bit off the width of Nimo's hind feet and they should fit. The maximum width for the boot is 5 15/16 and Nimo's width on a fresh trim is 6 1/8. The maximum length is 6 7/16 and Nimo's is 6 1/8.
I have always meticulously avoided trimming Nimo's feet to fit a boot. I have completely bought into the idea that a horse's feet should be trimmed the way they should be and then a shoe or boot is fitted. However, that philosophy has been causing me endless issues with hoof boots over the years. So, much like many other philosophies that I have held dear (horses should wear bits, hooves should be trimmed by a professional, a whip should be used for discipline), I decided to pitch this one in the trash.
I can sort of hear the collective gasp of horror at this point, but hear me out. The difference in the width of Nimo's feet and the boot is 3/16 of an inch. That is a pretty small amount on a hoof the size of Nimo's. On a tiny hoof, 3/16 of an inch is probably a big deal. On Nimo's hoof, it's basically a margin of error (3%). It would mean taking an additional 1.5/16" off of each side of the hoof. So I decided to just trim the back quarters of Nimo's feet to 5 15/16" and leave the rest of the hoof alone as it really hadn't changed significantly from when I'd trimmed it. Then, I found a nice blunt object and proceeded to pound the size 4 Easyboot Epic onto one of Nimo's hind feet. And I gasped in amazement. I could instantly tell the boot fit really well. It was the first time I was seeing a hoof boot that looked right on his hoof. So I put the other one on and it looked really good too.
|Behold the vision of properly fitting boots!|
The next step would be to go on a real ride to see how the boots held up. Luckily, I had planned to go camping with Nimo at Graves Mountain in a few days, and those extreme trails would be a perfect proving ground for the boots. To find out how the boots worked, stay tuned for my next post:)