Learning from Pete Ramey
It’s not every day that you get to have Pete Ramey out to your place to teach you about barefoot trimming, but that’s just what happened earlier this week. I have to say that the workshop I hosted was awesome! Pete really did an outstanding job and I highly recommend attending one if you get a chance.
Of course, I wasn’t even sure at first if I would get to participate in my own workshop after coming down with the flu late last week. Ugh! Luckily, I felt better just in time. My head probably wasn’t as clear as it could have been, but I did take some notes and tried to listen as best I could (through clogged ears!).
Probably the most exciting part for me was just getting Pete to evaluate and trim two of my horses–Lee Lee and Hershey. I was eager to see what he thought about their feet, both which have had continual issues. I’ll get to that a little bit later though.
First I’d just like to tell you a bit how our day went. The workshop began at 9:00 a.m. with all the attendees crowding into my barn. Pete began by talking about the hoof and the importance of diet before starting his first trim on a horse about forty-five minutes later.
Before he trimmed each of the eight participating horses, he talked about the issues he saw in the feet (or elsewhere in the body) and we watched the horse move to see how they were landing (toe-first, heel-first, or flat-footed). Then he trimmed the horse and explained what he was doing step-by-step. All the while, participants could ask any questions they might have had.
Pete also fitted horses with boots if he thought it was necessary and if the owner so desired. He did this by heating Easyboot Gloves to custom fit each horse.
We ended the day with another question and answer session and the workshop ended somewhere around 6:30 p.m.
Of course, I’ve learned nearly everything I know about barefoot trimming from Pete. His books, dvds, and articles have been tremendously helpful. But there’s nothing quite like being able to actually watch him in action and ask him whatever question comes to mind.
I’d like to share just a few of the things I jotted down at the workshop. These are just little tidbits of information or advice Pete gave throughout the day:
1. Look for things to leave alone. Pete said this several times throughout the day. I can see the brilliance in this statement because so often we are looking for what’s wrong and what we can correct. Instead, it’s important to look for what is right or even what may be just okay and leave that part be. We may be doing more harm than good by taking an aggressive approach.
2. If the heels are long and aren’t quite ready to be taken down, rocker them. Pete did this on probably about half of the horses he trimmed at the workshop. By rasping a slight rocker (bevel) on the back of the heels, we’re facilitating better movement for these horses.
3. Don’t try to make the hooves match–try to make the horse move in a more balanced way. I think many of us get caught up in trying to make pretty hooves. The goal shouldn’t be pretty (although that’s a plus)–it should be balance and getting correct movement.
4.) Be a stickler for maintaining hind end break over. In other words, don’t neglect the hind feet. Keep breakover back where it should be. This will help with many other issues you might see (soreness in the hips, stifles, etc.)
5.) Our goal with trimming is to improve the movement of the horse. This statement is pretty self-explanatory, but it’s not something we may not have in mind when trimming. It’s very true though. If we’re not improving movement, then what is the purpose of trimming?
As for my own two horses that Pete trimmed, I did learn some things that I need to be doing differently.
For Lee Lee, who toes in on the front end, I need to be a little more aggressive in trimming the medial side of her hoof wall to achieve balance. I also need to maintain a shorter breakover in the hind end–her toes were too long.
For Hershey, my problem-foot horse, Pete suggested I let his walls grow out a tad more (but keep the toes short) to make him more comfortable. He suspects extensive P3 remodeling and because of this, it may be impossible to grow out his flares and cracks. (Double UGH!) I’ve never had x-rays taken of his feet and I’m not sure I want to at this point–I’m fairly certain he’ll never be a riding horse again. I do want to keep him as comfortable as possible though so I will heed Pete’s advice.
I also need to keep treating for thrush which Lee Lee and Hershey both have in certain feet. (I do really good for a while and then slack off!) One thing that will help is getting a syringe with a long narrow tip to really get it down into the deepest part of the crevice. Pete said you can get these from your dentist.
So there you have it–a synopsis of how my Pete Ramey workshop went. By the way, the most amazing transformation was this hoof on a 34 year old horse:
And here’s one last picture of me and my dear friend, Summer with Pete. 🙂
See Pete’s website to see how you can sign up to attend or host a workshop yourself.