Hole in the hoof-wall

In April Minnie had an abscess in her right fore hoof, which burst through the coronary band. Initially, the exit-hole was quite small, but on its way down the hoofwall it stretched and became bigger, until it looked like this (picture taken in September):

You can clearly see a stress-line at the same height as the abscess exit-hole; the abscess itself could have caused this, and the fact that she was on Bute for a week certainly wouldn’t have helped. I knew I could expect trouble from the exit-hole as it was growing out, but I thought it wouldn’t happen until it was much closer to the ground. I wasn’t prepared for this – oh joy!

Funny how these things always greet you first thing in the morning! What do horses do at night? Anytime I go out to check them they are always either peacefully grazing, or dozing under the trees, but there are times when I suspect they secretly do hand-stands or climb trees or develop other dangerous hobbies! Whatever Minnie did, there was a large chunk missing and the hole was packed full of dirt. After I brushed most of the dirt out I got a better view of the damage. I could see dead lamina in the hole and the edges were all sharp. I got my rasp out to try and smooth everything out, but it was not easy and the hoof-rasp was just too big. Fortunately, as a sculptor I have a whole array of marble rasps, and I picked out a small riffler with curved blades that was just perfect for the job.

I have to say I felt a bit out of my depth here as I actually had to rasp inside the hole to make sure everything was smooth, but I couldn’t leave rough edges anywhere that might catch; that stress line looks horribly like a perforated line with the words “please break or tear here” printed above it! Here is the finished result after I rounded everything off as smoothly as possible:

I had to take the hoof-wall a bit further in than I would have liked, but Minnie didn’t seem to mind. She was not lame, even after my efforts to tidy her up, so at least there is no pain and there is no sign of infection. I expect more problems as the hoof grows out further, but for the moment I hope I have done enough damage control.

Fortunately, her sole is still intact, but there is a small hairline tear which I don’t like. Not much I can do about that, though..

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8 thoughts on “Hole in the hoof-wall

  1. You did a nice job! Coriander had an abcess around that spot too, I had to keep a heavy bevel on it until it grew completely out to keep it from creating a new crack. Touch it up about once a week (or more if she needs it) and you’ll be good to go.

  2. eek! Not nice at all to be greeted with that in the morning! It’s always the good horses that get injuries, especially over night. We always surmised it was mountain lions or coyotes that made the horses antsy and skittish and more injury prone, oh if horses could talk…. 🙂

  3. Poor Minnie, that must have been one nasty abscess. I think you did a good job on it though and I’m sure she feels better. I’ve always wondered what they do to themselves at night, seems they should just go to sleep and take it easy on us in the morning.

  4. Thanks Shannon, I have already had to touch it up twice and my little mini rasp is coming in very handy! Can’t wait for it to be completely grown out!

    Corinna, the worst predators they’d get to see here at night are foxes and pinemartens, so I’m sure that wouldn’t really scare them, I think mine just have unhealthy hobbies.

    GHM, Minnie has had a really bad run, I hope this was the last of it now. She’s in good form at the moment anyway.

    June, apart from that ghastly hole, I really like the way Minnie’s feet have developed over the past year.

  5. Just stopping by as well–I have been trying to catch up on my blogging. My mom is an artist and there were many times we were on the receiving end of her wrath after “borrowing” some of her tools (she was a metal sculptor). You guys are handy people to have around. Interesting how that whole piece came off the hook–quite the chunk. I hope she’s doing well–and have a great Thanksgiving!

  6. Pingback: my mare blew an abscess out the hoof wall

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