Whoa, Hoof

“Nice feet.”

That’s not something you hear too often. People tend to admire other — ahem — physical attributes. We don’t look that low unless we’ve dropped some change.

But if you’re checking out a horse and say, “nice feet” — that’s a complement. Nice feet are strong, healthy, thick-walled and blemish free. Well suited to support 1,000 pounds of horse.

Here’s a nice foot:

Here’s another pretty one. Hey… nice foot.

Then there’s this one:

Ahhh, look away! Freak show!

Unfortunately, this foot is attached to Chance.

I know that the hollowed-out toe looks terrible, but that’s just a bit of fungus. Think equine athlete’s foot.

The real trouble is the jagged crack scaling his outer hoof wall. It’s a vestige of his New Year’s day injury. The wound healed but the defect has been growing down and intersected with weak hoof wall. Now it’s cracking like a piece of peanut brittle.

Actually, forget the peanut brittle. Instead, imagine that Chance’s foot is North America.

We’re about to lose Mexico. It’s going to snap off and float into the Gulf.

Chance’s foot will become the biggest dog treat ever. (Yes, dogs love eating hoof trimmings but they usually come in slivers, pared off by the farrier. And no, they are not nature’s canine breath mint. Quite the opposite.)

I’ve been watching Chance’s foot like a ticking time bomb. Mexico’s demise is imminent and when it happens, Chance will require glue-on shoes or some other nifty tricks to attach a shoe to half a hoof.

On one hand, I want him to hang on to it as long as possible. On the other hand, the anticipation is killing me. Just get on with it already. Let it go and start growing healthy foot.

Maisie’s waiting.