Donkey Feet and Horse Teeth

So, I started yesterday feeling all fancy and business-like as we got our pictures taken by the Chamber of Commerce, because Hermits’ Rest Enterprises is the July Business of the Month. Mandi and I had on nice clothing and jewelry, and Mandi’s hair was all straight and fancy. (See the Hermit Haus blog for more details.)

Then, by mid-afternoon we were back at the ranch, and I had morphed into Cowgirl Suna, with jeans, boots, and hat to meet Trixie the farrier to look at the horses and Fiona. I asked Mandi to come along, since she’s the one who doctored Fiona and knows more about horse health than I do.

Fiona’s Footsies

Fiona went first, and she was pretty good, though she did get the idea to try to file her own hooves. It didn’t work out.

Now that I’ve got this thing, how do I use it?

Trixie said that Fiona’s “bad” foot was really interesting, and that she’d never seen one like that. The footbed still seems longer than the outer hoof wall. We went over a lot of possibilities for what could have caused it. We settled on the bag abscess she had on that front hoof causing the outer walls to not grow like usual, which caused separation and other issues.

That hoof looks fairly bad, but it’s not sore.

She’s optimistic that the hoof will heal, and doesn’t think it was founder, because you usually have two or four feet affected for that. We just need to check for rocks in that foot often, which I’ve been doing.

Spice, with Many Teeth

Next, Trixie looked into Spice’s issues. The first things she found were all in her head area. She stuck her hands all up and down inside Spice’s mouth, and did some kind of adjustment. We were all surprised at what she found next, which was that Spice has supernumerary teeth, which are relatively uncommon. Apparently some particularly macho mares have this type (says Trixie), and they are remnants of the big teeth male horses have between their front and back teeth. There are other types of extra teeth in horses, and they can cause problems with the other teeth or cheeks.

That teeny tooth should not be there.

What has it done to Spice? Well, upon further examination, it became clear that her front teeth aren’t meeting properly. The bottom ones cup out over the top ones. So, she’ll need to get her teeth floated and maybe something else. Sara will have to decide that.

She seems to have an underbite.

Trixie helped her a bit in the head and neck department by adjusting her head first. This involved whacking Spice in the head, which you’d think would have pissed her off, but no, she obviously felt better then. After her neck was adjusted, we all just had to laugh, because she stood there in a happy stupor, more relaxed than we’d ever seen her.

Adjusting Spice. I didn’t get any pictures of Apache, because I was helping.

With all the rain, it is not at all surprising that some parasites have made their way into the pasture. Apparently there are some types of worms that can cause horses to have sore backs, dull hair, and brittle manes and tails. And yes, Spice and Apache are showing symptoms. So, Trixie recommended a long working regimen that I cannot remember the name of, so I hope she tells Sara. Mandi said she’d be happy to help with it, since you have to give 5 days in a row, twice. I remember doing this before.

I’m ready for a nap. I feel better. Maybe that worming will help with my coat and belly.

While Trixie and Mandi were concentrating on Spice, I had to deal with a very happy donkey. Fiona also seemed to feel better, so she was walking around picking up Apache’s lead rope and trying to lead him around, and bopping him on the nose. Eventually she fell into the Trixie-induced stupor and just stood by Apache so he could lick her.

Doo dee doo, I’ll just pick this up and take Apache for a walk.

Apache’s Turn

Well, he wasn’t in such bad shape. His feet look great, while Spice’s are all cracked from the wet ground. Of course, he didn’t exhibit his habit of holding his tail to the left for Trixie, but when I walked him around he did it. So she yanked on his tail a bit and did a hip adjustment (a very strange-looking thing that always amazes me, because the horses don’t kick or get upset about it).

Should I lead you around or bop you in the nose, Apache?

Trixie needs to come back after the worming and messing with Spice’s teeth. I’ll need to find out what Sara wants to do, of course, since she’s the horse partner. And I have to decide if I want to go look at a couple of nice middle-aged horses Trixie has for sale…

Author: Sue Ann (Suna) Kendall

The person behind The Hermits' Rest blog and many others. I'm a certified Texas Master Naturalist and love the nature of Milam County. I manage technical writers in Austin, help with Hearts Homes and Hands, a personal assistance service, in Cameron, and serve on three nonprofit boards. You may know me from La Leche League, knitting, iNaturalist, or Facebook. I'm interested in ALL of you!

One thought on “Donkey Feet and Horse Teeth”

  1. Wow – this is fascinating stuff! Who knew horses needed so much adjustment, and that people knew who to do that! Thanks for sharing!


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