My life has changed quite a bit since I got my new horse, Whata Dandy Life (aka "Murphy"), at the beginning of October. Decisions had to be made: where to board him? how do I choose a vet and farrier? do I send him for finishing or attempt to do it myself? which kind of horsemanship do I want to practice?
Well, the decision of where to board him was fairly easy...I toured one place (Lakeview Farm) and then cancelled all my other appointments. After all, where else would I be able to find a 200-acre farm with a 40-acre pasture for Murphy to roam around in that also had trails on site?
On to the next step: choosing a farrier. Murphy's got a club foot (his right front) and also had torn off a chunk of that hoof earlier this summer stomping at flies (it was a very dry season). The last couple times I'd been out to the barn I noticed he was a bit lame tracking to the right in the round pen, so I made an appointment with the farrier used there.
I'd met this man before and had only heard good things from other boarders, plus he mentioned he has a mare with a club foot so I was reassured.
Then the assumptions started: I assumed he knew I wanted Murphy's shoes – he had them on his front feet only – pulled for the winter (our horses have always gone barefoot in the winter months). He assumed since the horse had front shoes he was putting shoes back on. I didn't notice what was happening until he started fitting Murphy for a shoe...so I told him no, we're not putting shoes back on.
He apologized and said he assumed we were and he "took liberties and trimmed him for shoes." I was taken aback a bit; I didn't know there was a difference when trimming hooves. The farrier then mentioned maybe we should cast him. Confused, I asked "Why would we need to do that?"
"Because he might be a bit tender," he replied. Still puzzled, I told him I didn't think putting casts on his hooves would be necessary – after all, our horses aren't sore after getting their hooves trimmed, and I didn't want to spend the extra money "just because." That was on Tuesday afternoon.
Turns out I should've listened to the farrier's suggestion. I went out to the barn yesterday on a whim – it was pretty cold so I hadn't planned on making the journey up there – to maybe shoot some images of the horses in the snow and go hiking in the woods. I decided to get Murphy out to brush the ice off him (it had sleeted/snowed the night before) and maybe putz around with him and do some groundwork.
Well, he was dead lame on BOTH front feet. Shocked, I slowly walked him to the arena while he hobbled behind me...I was so confused and then I got mad: why on EARTH was this horse THIS lame three days after being trimmed? Yes, the ground was now frozen, but still...
I had the barn owner call the farrier, who said he'd come right out. Of course he put casts on him but my poor horse was still tender-footed, even on the soft arena dirt (and after 2 clicks of Bute). The farrier did only charge me for materials, and this could've been just a simple miscommunication, but I'm still not convinced this is the farrier I want working on Murphy.
My poor horse is now confined to a stall (the farrier said he needs to remain on soft/unfrozen ground for a couple days) and is un-ridable...and I'm left wondering what to do about this situation. The question is: should a horse be lame three days after getting his hooves trimmed?