Thursday, October 30, 2014

Of Hooves and Teeth

Quest got her teeth floated yesterday. The barn has a dentist come out twice a year but my friend C opted to get someone of her own choice to do her gelding since it lined up better with their show season schedule and as a certified vet tech, she is able to assist and watch the procedure instead of paying extra for an assistant.  Quest wasn’t having any problem eating or any issues with the bit but since I knew absolutely nothing about her health history I felt it was more prudent (and the responsible thing to do) to get someone to at least take a look.  The main barn dentist had left the week before Quest arrived and he wouldn’t be back until the spring. C told me about the visit a couple weeks ago and asked if I wanted to sign on. Plus we could split the call fee so, win-win.  

I wasn’t able to be there in person because full-time job, but C was awesome enough to fill me in on the details. The dentist was confirmed that Quest is definitely 9-10 years old (she had registered papers so no huge surprise there, but still). She’s got soft teeth so no huge work was needed when floating. She has had her teeth done before but not in about 2-3 years so it was a VERY good thing I got them done yesterday. (And she apparently doesn’t need a ton of tranq to relax which is nice, no small elephants here.)

This little tidbit of information is useful in helping me piece together her history. Last documented evidence was a couple of video clips of Quest in a western pleasure show with big name professional trainer (Owner #1?) in 2009. Assuming that he did routine health work, this means that Quest probably made her way to Owner #2 in New Jersey in 2010-2011. If she spent 2-3 years in Owner #2’s care and didn’t lose her training (from what I found through stalking research, he doesn’t seem to know very much about horses)…. then Quest could be one of those horses you can toss out into pasture for months/years and get right back on again. It’s all speculation of course. I’ve contacted both owners the weekend I bought her and haven’t heard a word since then.

Ugh, anyways. Naturally I gave her the night off from riding yesterday so we just lunged and did groundwork. While cleaning out feet, I noted Quest’s frogs are shedding and need to be cleaned up a bit. I don’t have a hoof knife yet though so I did some looking around online when I got home and the selection is enormous... I mean, seriously.

Maybe I should just get a set with EVERYTHING...
So barefoot folks- any suggestions for hoof knives based on experience? I just need something to start with!


  1. I own a hoof knife I picked up from TSCo, but I honestly NEVER use it! I did for awhile, but it didn't help anything (or hurt it) and it was difficult to use, so I've cast it aside.

    1. I've heard similar from others actually so if I can do without one that's perfectly fine with me- I just don't want to be missing something if its essential. Her frogs just look all eww not pretty right now but they are tough at least!

  2. interesting, and very cool that she can chill in a pasture for years and still come out fine. that's how isabel is too - her owner literally pulled her out of a field for the trial ride (horse hadn't been ridden in ages) and she was foot perfect

    1. It's really awesome that you and Izzy worked out so well together despite her being a pasture puff for that long! I really wish at least one of her old owners would get back to me so for once I'm not completely on my own figuring things out ugh

  3. I love reading about your process with Quest. You are doing everything so RIGHT by her!

    Regarding hoof knives, I second what Liz said. I had one knife that I bought from (the Friedr. Dick hoof knife, specifically) and for the life of me I could not keep that thing sharp. Apparently there is a whole art to hoof knife sharpening. (There are even videos on YouTube!) So later I went and bought higher quality knives for both left and right (this model:, and I bought a diamond-coated sharpener which is supposed to be the best.

    Did it all work? Yes. I'm really happy with these knives and the diamond-coated sharpener really does make a difference (after watching the YouTube video!) Buuuuut...I haven't used them in over 9 months. Each horse's hooves are different, but I realized that the bars that Lily grew were because she needed them for support on her flat TB feet. They got flatter if I trimmed them, but if I left them alone and rode her enough, she would self-trim and her feet would actually gain concavity. Gracie is wonderful at self-trimming her bars too if she is being ridden there you have it. :) Because of our wetter, more humid climate here in the East Coast, barefoot horses with structurally sound feet in regular work will often take care of their own bars. I personally would wait on the knives to see how Quest's feet react to regular work. The 3 things you want to start out with are:
    1. A rasp. I love the Heller Black Master and Black Legend rasps. (More info here: and here: They are not crazy expensive (you can find them for under $30) and are made for barefoot hooves that might not always be clean (like mud, which can dull a rasp quite quickly) and are meant to stay sharp longer. One of these rasps will last me close to a year and I trim 8 hooves every 2 weeks. Really recommend. :)
    2. Gloves with rubberized fingers. You can find these at places like Tractor Supply for under $10 usually. You will need them to protect your fingers and knuckles from the rasp. I had to learn the hard way that I NEEDED these for rasping!
    3. A hoof stand. Owning your own stand can make a huge difference, even if you're just doing inbetween maintenance trims: it will be so much easier for you to get the hang of trimming when you don't have to be holding the horse's hoof up at the same time. Liz and I each have one of these: I really love that stand. You can exchange the top piece for trimming from above or underneath, and you can lower or raise the stand. It has a magnet piece on the middle portion so you can just stick your rasp on it and keep everything together.
    Hope this helps with your farrier equipment search! :)

    1. Thank you for all the links and info, Saiph! I'm planning on riding Quest consistently so sticking with the tools you mentioned would probably be enough as we do more regular work. I have a rasp and gloves already but your suggestions are much better so I'll be investing in those next. Coincidentally, I also bought that very same hoof stand after doing research- so glad I was on the right track with that!