August 27, 2014
A Lesson in Trimming Donkey Hooves
It is such a joy to own 3 very cute and happy Sicilian donkeys. As with the ownership of any animal, one must be aware of any special needs that are specific to the animal. In the case of donkeys, one such concern is the proper monitoring and maintenance of their hooves. Hooves, like human finger and toe nails are constantly growing. However, in the case of donkeys, their hooves support the entire weight of the body. If left unmaintained, they will get too long, creating an uneven stride. Hooves can also crack and cause severe soreness and even lameness! It is therefore vital that they are regularly and properly maintained.
Hooves should be trimmed approximately every 6 to 8 weeks. Betsy Perreten, my stable manager and I, saw that it was time for a trimming, so we called in the farrier, Linda Friedman. How did the session go? View the photo gallery below where my precious Clive's session is featured! Don’t forget to leave a comment!
1 All three donkeys are very well behaved and easy to work with. While Linda got her tools ready, Betsy led Clive out of the stall for his session.
2 Here are Linda's tools. From top to bottom: a rasp, nippers and hoof knife.
3 Clive's hooves are really rough and chewed up.
4 There is even some chipping. This is a sure indication that it is time to call the farrier!
5 Linda begins by using a hoof knife to remove debris and trim the sole of the hoof.
6 Then she uses the nippers to cut the overgrown hoof wall. This step requires considerable knowledge since the area is so close to the sole.
7 Proper handling of nippers is very important. Linda is very cautious to not take off more hoof than necessary.
8 The next and final step is to clean up any straggling edges and rough area around the hoof. Linda does this with a filing tool called a rasp.
9 Ultimately, the objective is to get the hoof wall cut even with the sole. A nice job so far but there's more to be done here.
10 The front edge needs to be filed and neatened.
11 Linda often pauses to inspect her work and then proceeds as needed.
12 As you can see, Clive is not giving Linda any resistance. He's accustomed to her and trusts that she will not hurt him.
13 Filing down the side edges with the rasp now.
14 You can see here how the hoof is beginning to take on a nicely manicured look.
15 As Linda works, she alternates tools as needed. She spotted some excess that required trimming in the interior of the hoof wall, so she uses the hoof knife to do the job.
16 Looks so much better! One down, three more to go!
17 She begins the process all over again on the next hoof - trimming off the excess hoof wall.
18 Cleaning out debris with the hoof knife.
19 Filing with the rasp to level and neaten.
21 Rufus and Billy look on with eager curiousity. They love getting their hooves trimmed!
22 On to the rear legs. Donkeys have powerful rear legs, which they use to kick when they feel threatened or nervous. This is a job for a trained expert only!
23 Removing debris.
24 Trimming the hoof walls down.
25 Leveling and neatening.
26 A job very well done!
27 A very happy Clive!
28 Now on to Rufus!