It was a pretty awesome experience to watch a real trimmer at work. I had spoken to Marianne extensively about Lily's diet, riding and turnout schedule, and about wanting to learn to trim myself, and she was pretty excited about meeting me, especially after telling her I'm a certified vet tech. The feeling was mutual. :)
She took measurements of all of Lily's angles, compared medial and lateral angles on each foot, length of toe from the front, and length & width of foot from underneath. As the current (now previous) farrier had said, she said that Lily's clubby foot is actually the ideal, as it is wider. All it needs is to allow the heel to grow. Her other "normal" foot is the width of a pony's! :( Hopefully it gets wider over time and with correct trimming. Her hinds had overgrown bars-they had flattened and started to invade her soles. Also her toes in the back were so long and her heels so flat that she had a negative angle to her coffin bone. Think about walking with a 2" wedge under the ball of your foot, with all of your weight on your heels. Nonstop, 24/7. Yeah: ouch! This puts strain on her rear suspensories (maybe why they seemed intermittently sore...) and on her loins, sacrum and croup. I confirmed that she had always been sore in this area since I've owned her, and had always assumed it was due to the dressage. When the chiropractor came out at the beginning of the year, her sacrum was the only area of her body that needed major adjustment. It will be awesome to see if this improves over time with the new trim!
Marianne took off all of the excess bars on Lily's feet and trimmed her toes back, especially her back feet. After she was done, her hinds looked textbook-perfect! Her fronts finally look as short as they should be, and she rasped off all of her flares. The way she was standing changed right away: her hind feet came up right underneath her, and if she rested a foot, she kept it right next to the other instead of off to one side like she used to (I always thought this was odd.)
Photos taken the day after the trim:
|Front feet. Note both hinds on the floor!|
|Left hind. This was her worst foot of the 4.|
|Right front. See how much more upright it looks? :)|
|Left front. Sorry-I rinsed off her feet so the undersides would be clearly visible, so all 4 feet were wet.|
I lunged her on Monday, then let her move around at liberty just to watch her go. She seemed a little tentative at first, and then she was off-she did her lovely extended trot, snapping her feet forward and higher than she ever has before, simply because she could now land heel-first! No, she did not look like Totilas, and she never will, but in the Lily Trot department, this was the best she's ever moved. Her canter seemed less lateral, more of a 3-beat. Afterwards, I tacked her up and rode. She was light on the forehand, extending and collecting easily, on the bit 90% of the time, and lateral work, while always easy for her, seemed even easier than usual.
Our following rides this week have been very, very good! We have done more of the same, especially focusing on getting lateral work done at the trot, since she has been doing so well at trot and canter. My problem at the trot is that she has discovered her medium, and now loves it! It is hard to bring her back from it into a more collected trot, so we have been transitioning from medium trot to canter, or from walk to the collected trot. Now, transitioning from collected trot to medium trot feels like soaring! I think it is her favorite transition right now. She arches her neck proudly, her ears come up and relax, and she zooms along. I can't help but grin like an idiot every step of the way. This is such tremendous progress for her!
On another note, we have continued practicing trot-halt-trot, and she has stopped being impatient. I am starting to feel that lift of her withers that is so beautiful when seen from the ground, when she takes off into her floaty trot from a standstill at liberty.
The biggest difference in her, however, is in the way she stands. 24 hours after the trim, she was standing with her hind feet in front of the vertical, a sign of heel pain. This was an improvement, though, from her constantly shifting her weight from one hind foot to another while standing. She was standing square, but with both hinds a little further forward than normal. Heel pain, yes-she's most likely always had that due to the previously long toes, and this stance is a sign of heel pain. But the fact that she doesn't have the overgrown bars digging into the underside of her feet nor the long toes meant that she could finally put weight on her soles to give her heels a break, instead of just resting one foot or another.
48 hours after the trim, I saw her standing square, normally, for the first time since I can remember. Her head was high and ears forward, and I swear she was smiling. And no, it was not feeding time. :) She really seemed the most comfortable I've ever seen her, just standing still.
|Standing square!! :D|
Go Team Barefoot!