It's now been six weeks since my gelding, Murphy, had his feet butchered – oops, I mean trimmed – by Dale Blomquist, a farrier in North Branch, Minnesota.
You can read the start of the whole story as to why I had a lame horse after a hoof trim but suffice it to say this "farrier" hacked my horse's hooves so short – and at horrible, mismatched angles – that he was dead lame on both front feet for weeks.
My gelding's getting better, but it's a long, slow process: he's on stall rest and getting Bute every single day. I've recently started letting him out into a small, unused portion of the pasture, so the snow isn't packed down and hard. He's still lame on his right front (his club foot) but IS moving much better...
SIX WEEKS after a hoof "trim" by Dale Blomquist. Why on earth is my horse still lame?
I grew up with horses, so this ain't my first rodeo. Way back when we had a farrier who'd trim our horses too short and they'd be gimpy/tender-footed for about 3 days after every trim. We got rid of him (and now refer to him as "Larry the Butcher")...so compared to THAT, this hoof trim hack job is beyond my scope of ever reasoning with this quack of a farrier ever again, no matter how many people said – at the beginning of this entire debacle – "give him another chance."
Even considering that this farrier pulled Murphy's shoes for the season and then it sleeted and the ground froze two days later...there's NO reason this horse should be lame for so long, except he was cut MUCH too short.
Another note about the angles of Murphy's hooves – the last time I had the vet out, she even mentioned that his feet were a) still very short (even for 5 weeks out; she said the farrier probably stunted the hoof growth by trimming the hooves far too short) and b) at vastly different angles to one another. She got out her hoof gauge and while Murphy's left front was at 55°, his right front (the club foot, which doesn't grow as much toe) was at 60°!
You can clearly see the difference in hoof angles in the picture (3 days after the trim), so it's not as though his hoof is growing out at that weird angle. Dale had taken off so much toe and left so much heel that Murphy was practically tip-toeing on that right front hoof. While I understand a slight variation between hooves is normal, I do NOT accept a five-degree difference; especially when the hoof that was at much too steep of an angle was his club foot!
Even MORE importantly, I had shown Dale the x-rays of Murphy's feet – given to me by the previous owner; they were taken 2 years ago of both front feet when they were worried about his club foot – but this "farrier" obviously has no knowledge of what a horse's bone structure should be, since Murphy's club foot also has a deviation in the coffin bone. Also in this x-ray, it was clearly laid out how he should be trimmed: less heel, a certain angle, etc. All the information was right there on the x-ray. And yet Mr. Blomquist STILL hacked off Murphy's club foot hoof to the point where I'm thinking the coffin bone had virtually NO sole underneath it.
Thankfully my vet had a pair of nippers in her truck so she carefully trimmed Murphy's heels to at least be even (she got them both to 52° in less than 3 minutes) and take pressure off his toes. The next day he was a tad sore from the stretch in his tendons, but a couple days later he was trotting around in his pen – the first I'd really seen him move "freely" since the hoof trim in November.
SO, not only did this farrier (Dale Blomquist) chop my horse's hooves beyond too short; he couldn't even get them even close to the correct angles – completely ignoring (or totally ignorant of) the x-rays I showed him minutes before the trim. PLUS, he'd told me before he trimmed my horse that he himself had a mare with a club foot so he was very familiar with club feet and how to trim them.
You can read different details and more of why NOT to use Dale Blomquist as your farrier, but in short, don't let this man anywhere near your horse – this is not the first time something like this has happened (to my knowledge it's happened to 3 other horses at the same barn: the miniature horse that was trimmed immediately before mine was dead lame on all 4 feet for three weeks afterwards). If you don't want a lame horse, choose a real farrier to do the job right.