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    [RC] Trimming your own horse's feet - Ridecamp Guest

    K S SWIGART katswig@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
    Rob said:
    > The same two doctors that dissect over
    > 4000 horse legs obtained from the slaughter
    > house in ElMonte CA. Their finding proved
    > that 95% of the legs they dissected had
    > crippling damage done to the skeletal structure
    > that was directly caused by the farrier school
    > graduate trimming and/or shoeing it's hooves.
    > That's 3800 out of 4000 horses crippled by
    > shoeing school graduates. 
    > It was the advanced equine physiology
    > department at the time (In 1994) that was
    > conducting the study. They were figuring 
    > on about 40% attrition of hard tissue due
    > to poorly trimmed hooves and improperly fit
    > shoes that led to chronic lameness. They were
    > stunned when they when hit 95%. Feeling it
    > was just a quirk, they continued collecting
    > legs, (The legs came from the slaughter house
    > in El Monte CA. That's where the Farrier Science
    > and Craftsmanship class obtained it's freezer
    > herd. Beginners got to practice their newly
    > learned skills on thawed, previously frozen
    > horse legs. Now it's illegal to slaughter
    > horses as well as sell horses for slaughter in the
    > state of California.) 
    There are several aspects of these statements that are
    slightly less than accurate.  The first being that there 
    is no equine slaughter house in El Monte, California nor 
    was there in 1994.  It has been illegal to slaughter 
    horses in California (for money) for decades.  Nor is 
    it now illegal to sell horses for slaughter in the
    state of California, it is merely illegal to knowlingly
    sell them for slaughter for human consumption.
    There is, I believe, a rendering plant in El Monte, and
     this may be where the frozen feet are coming from.
    I can, however, guarantee that this rendering plant has
    absolutely no information whatsoever about the history 
    of the horses that are sent there and wouldn't have a 
    clue as to the extent of the hoof care that the horses 
    had been provided, nor could they possibly know how 
    or where the people who took care of these horses feet 
    (or didn't take care of them, as the case may be) were 
    It would also, however, not be unreasonable to assume 
    that these feet are a good representation of the hooves 
    of the general CALIFORNIA horse population at the time of their 
    deaths (since virtually all horses in California end 
    up at such a rendering plant, it being illegal to 
    slaughter them or bury them, such a rendering plant 
    is virtually the only place to dispose of a dead 
    horse--you can sell them for slaughter and have 
    them shipped alive to Texas, but not very many people
    All that said, if the study showed that 95% of the 
    horses had bony changes in their legs at the end of 
    their lives (by definition, dead horses have reached 
    the ends of their lives), statistically speaking, 
    this would suggest that these changes occur independent 
    of the hoof care that the horses received (or didn't 
    receive, as the case may be) or the training that their 
    farriers had or didn't have.
    I can probably find out what conclusions (if any) 
    were drawn from the study (if there was such a study) 
    at Cal Poly, but I can pretty much guarantee you
    (unless the study was done on horses of their own 
    about whom they had detailed history of the hoof care 
    they had received during their lives and the training
    of the people who provided the care) that nobody 
    could make a valid correlation between the condition 
    of a dead horse's legs and the training that its
    farrier had received.
    It is also possible, most southern California being stall
    bound, that this finding has more to do with the fact that
    95% of the dead horses spent virtually their entire lives
    living in a box than the training that their farriers received.
    However, in order to draw that conclusion, one would have to
    also study horses about whom you knew had NOT lived their
    lives in stalls.  It may be that virtually ALL horses, no 
    matter what their care, their life-style, their breeding, 
    their history have bony change in their legs by the end of 
    their lives.
    This finding TOO would not surprise me.  It might just be that
    living virtually its entire life standing up is hard on a 
    horse's feet.
    Orange County, Calif.
    p.s.  I would not recommend that anybody who had to ask, 
    "How do I trim my horse's feet?" follow the recommendations
    as outlined by Rob, as the opportunities for screw up in 
    the method he describes are substantial and should not be
    undertaken by somebody who doesn't already have a really
    good idea of what they are doing (in which case, they 
    wouldn't need to ask).
    The recommendation that _I_ give to people who don't know what
    they are doing that want to trim their own horse's feet is
    "Take it for a long walk on a paved road; and the horse 
    will wear itself into its own 'naturally balanced' foot."
    If your horse does not wear itself into its own naturally 
    balanced foot when travelling on an abrasive surface, then
    you need a professional to do it for you, and you also need 
    to put some kind of hoof protection on the horse to keep 
    it from wearing itself into its unbalanced foot.
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