First thing I noticed this morning was Little Love's swollen front left leg. It wasn't excessively swollen, but just a bit on the inside and below the fetlock join. Great. All I need is an injury on the day of the first trim. I took her out and she had a slight limp in the beginning, but sort of worked it out after moving around a bit. The leg was a bit warm, but it was very local, so I just ran a bit of cold water over it before the trimmer showed up. Will have to keep an eye on that one...
The trimmer was both good and not so good. The good thing about him was that he did what I expected him to do, and talked about all the things I have learned about in the past year. Little Love has sole contraction, heel contraction and frog contraction (to mention a few...) - but over all he was positive about how her feet looked after being in shoes for over ten years. In other words, he's seen worse. And I agree. It could be worse. The heel was also underslung and high, but it seems to me that that is to be expected in a shod hoof. I felt that he truly trimmed with the contractions in mind, as he wants to help the hoof expand and grow properly. Also, the way it has been shaped so far, has put quite excessive pressure on the inside of both front hooves and this really has made the sole compromised.
The not so good part was the fact that I felt he trimmed her hooves a tad aggressively and now she is quite sore. I'm not sure if we could have avoided the soreness with everything that was going on, but in any case, I believe you should always try to leave the horse as sound as possible, because this encourages movement. And movement is what a barefoot horse needs, especially one with all these contractions. Not to mention that everything heels faster in the absence of pain. I did talk to the trimmer at length beforehand, telling him that I would prefer him to trim every two weeks a little rather than once every six weeks a lot, but he didn't feel like that was a good plan. So, I let him do his thing. Of course, what do I really know about trimming? Lots of theory, but no so much the practice. So in hindsight, would I have asked this trimmer to come, had I known he was this aggressive? I don't know. There are not lots of options for me at the moment. So, I'm trying not to think of what I should or could have done. The trim is done and now we have to deal with the aftermath and look into the future.
So, after the trim, poor Little Love was not walking very well at all on the hard concrete that unfortunately surrounds the barn. However, when I opened her stall door, she was very motivated to go outside into the pasture, actually coming out before Col. Slowly (and painfully) she made her way to the edge of the pasture, over the frozen (and semi-hard) mud. My heart sunk, literally, until I saw her finally walk onto the grass, where she actually moved normally. Thank goodness for our fantastic grass pasture! Even when it's below freezing, it's soft enough for my sore horse. This gave me hope that perhaps everything isn't as bad as it looked on the cement. I know there is a lot going on in her legs at the moment with the blood flow coming back 100% and restoring nerve funtion (i.e. feeling) so I just have to brace myself for the next days (and hope she can do the same). I will try to help her in every (natural) way possible. I went to the store to buy some stuff for setting up a "soaking station" for her, tomorrow I'll try that with the clicker, hopefully I could at least get her fronts to soak for a while.