Those 4 words hold more truth than a lot of people wish to admit or grant them. Yet in my experiences with horse people, the hooves are often one of the most overlooked and ignored part of the horse.
*cue dramatic music*
something goes wrong with them!
Even then, unless it is causing a major head bobbing lameness- some owners, riders, trainers and otherwise people you would think know their stuff, don't catch what is really going on, let alone wrong, with their horse.
A few know, that I do and will trim our horses feet as needed and I worked on one just last night. But I leave the shoeing to the farrier and also ask him to check my work. On the right hand side you will find a link to The Natural Angle which is on the website for Farrier Products. There they have a whole host of articles, yours for the reading, to learn what to look for in a good trim or shoeing. Packed with knowledge, easy to understand and pictures for those of us who need them.
As a horse owner, you owe it to your horse to read up on it. As a consumer, you owe it to your checkbook to read up on it. Why pay for substandard work, when often, quality work costs the same? As we all know, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. This same rule applies to the hooves. Probably more so than any other part of the horse.
Above a horse for sale ad C3D sent me, I recently found an ad for a new product on the market-
The RidersRasp was designed by a person claiming 'Certified Journeyman Farrier' status who promotes it as being easy to use by everyone, for rounding off the hoof edge to prevent chips and cracking.
But similar to the words of a late night infomercial, "Don't stop there..."
It goes further in the promo, to being used to round the edges of the hoof every 2-3 weeks enabling the user to extend the length of time between trims by a professional. Sounds fair enough. But they state using it every 2-3 weeks is extending the length of time between trims from 5-6 weeks to 7-8 weeks. Um, last I checked, shoeing or at the very least trims, are recommended every 6-8 weeks ANYWAYS... depending on the horse, their workload and rate of hoof growth of course.
Here's where I have issues with things they state on the website. There was plenty to choose from, so I picked just a few. I'm not sure how to change text color so I'll use Italics to highlight their statements.
A conventional farrier’s rasp is difficult to use and best left to a professional. It needs two hands to operate, requiring the user to stand with the horse’s foot between their legs, often bearing the weight of a leaning horse. Standing under the horse is not only difficult, but can be dangerous.
Steadying the hoof between your legs, does not mean the horse will or should lean on you. Ours know leaning on anyone working on them is not an option. They have 3 other legs to use, which they should. It is not the farriers job (or mine) to hold them up and I don't expect anyone to do so. This is where working with your horses feet or not, shows. You can certainly teach them not to lean on you. Standing under them is actually not all that difficult. Dangerous? Sure it can be, but working with horses puts you in a level of assumed risk anyways. We all know anything can happen at any given time.
When used by a non-professional, a conventional rasp can also remove too much hoof wall which can cause soreness, lameness and compromise the hoof’s balance.
A person claiming to be a professional can also do the same damage. We are all human after all. Next?
Rounding encourages symmetrical growth and maintains the hoof capsule’s correct balance by eliminating flares and dishes.
So rounding off the edge at the bottom of the hoof, eliminates flares and dishes further up the hoof? How? How does filing the lowest edge of the sides reinstate the balance across the bottom of the hoof, from side to side & front to back?
Typically, rounding is done by a hoof care professional, but now you can supplement your horse’s hoof care regiment with RidersRasp™ between trims for healthier hooves!
If the professionals are already doing this and doing their job right to begin with, why does anyone need to fix things between their visits? Keep an eye on things- sure, but keep rounding off the edges? Not unless you are riding in some seriously rough terrain, but then wouldn't some people consider shoeing as an option or using boots on the horse for protection?
There are several other things, that when reading the text with an open mind and considering it with common sense and logic- it just doesn't seem to have any. Makes you wonder sometimes, doesn't it? Why the condescending tone? Are all consumers that gullible? There are also a couple of other things offered on the 'products' page that will raise a few eyebrows for sure. I'll leave those for everyone to have at it over, in the comments section.
Now in all fairness, it is stated on the website that rounding the hoof edge after a horse loses a shoe, will help prevent chips and splitting until the farrier can reset the shoe. That is something where I can understand having this product or a standard rasp available and putting it to good use.