Yesterday I went out to spend a couple of hours with Tonka after two days of being snowed in at home. In the tradition of two-steps-forward-and-one-step-back he started out quite wary of some things that were becoming less scary, but patience and persistence paid off and we had a good walk. We were not attacked by the llamas, the barking dog or the mailboxes. After our safe arrival at the barn I groomed him a little and checked on his feet.
I've spent a lot of time around horses in my life, but not as an engaged and critically-thinking adult. Lots of what I know was spoon-fed to me by people I looked up to as a teenager by virtue of their adulthood. Now I'm finding huge and important gaps in my knowledge, and some serious philosophical disagreement with things I was taught back then. At 32 I have every confidence in my ability to educate myself and find my own path, but there may be bumps along the way. I found some on Tonka's feet last night.
There is a ring between horse flesh and horse hoof called the coronet band, which is analogous to the bed of a fingernail. New hoof is made here, and new growth is protected by the periople ring, which is analogous to the cuticle. I knew that, but I didn't know that the periople can range from dry and flaky to soft and rubbery according to external conditions.
When I checked Tonka's coronets yesterday it was like someone had taken a bead of fresh silicone and smeared it around all four hooves. I panicked. Possibly because I had been reading horror stories of hoof slough the night before. This can occur when the laminar connection better the coffin bone and hoof fails completely, and the horn falls off. I'll spare you from the pictures and we'll get back to the panic. Tonka was walking fine and seemed happy to see me, so my rational side told me nothing was amiss. My crazy obsessive side kept flashing those hoof slough pictures at me, and finally convinced me to call Christina who very helpfully put my mind to rest. One of the reasons I'm doing this is to LEARN, so all I can do is laugh at myself and call it a day.