Monday, 16 July 2018

Case Study #1: Introducing Poker, the Minature Horse

One of the highlights of my job as a barefoot trimmer is helping the little guys - miniature horses, ponies and donkeys. All too often, people have trouble finding farriers willing to trim the short ones, which leads to a lot of bad feet. I love the minis. They are some of my favourite clients!

In May, I was blessed with a miniature horse of my own to care for. I was contacted to see if I would be interested in taking in a little guy named Poker. Poker had bad feet, was laminitic, and hadn't been able to trot in about two years. His owners wanted him to go to someone who would be willing to help his feet, and I agreed to take him on.

Through out my blog, you will get regular updates on how Poker (or Pokie as we often call him) is doing. He has come a long way already since May 20 when I gave him his first trim. I am learning a great deal through my case study on his feet and am happy to share what I am learning with you.

Poker is somewhere around nine years old, is trained to carry kids, and is the sweetest pony you will ever meet. When I did my initial assessment, I noticed that he was definitely sore, tender on gravel, and was very bunched up in his muscles. He was a prime example of two of the most common issues I see in ponies and minis:

1. His heels were very high - many people who trim their own minis are afraid to take the heels down to the level they need to be, which results in a lot of pressure on internal structures and an inability to properly utilize the entire hoof.

2. He was definitely laminitic - ponies and minis are prone to laminitis as they metabolize their food differently than a larger horse. We've all heard that ponies "look at food and get fat," and it's fairly true! Pony diets need to be closely monitored to prevent laminitic attacks.

In spite of his issues, we quickly fell in love with this sweet guy.

I gave him his first trim on May 20, and have been trimming him every two weeks so we can stay ahead of any issues he might have as well as monitor his growth and the effects of any dietary issues he might have. We have already seen some great changes in him (other than shedding that winter coat). He can now trot regularly, something he hadn't been able to do before, and is less tender on gravel, although he still greatly prefers to walk on a softer surface. As he gets feeling better, his pony-tude is coming out, and it is fun to see his sassy personality.

I look forward to sharing Poker's progress with you!

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