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View Full Version : boot/hoof frustrations- sorry again!



starkissed
Mar. 13, 2010, 09:36 AM
My 13yr old TB is barefoot right now. He is in light work- I ride in the arena quite a bit, but I do like to go out hacking and show a little.

It has been 2.5 months since I pulled his front shoes. He has been barefoot behind for over a year. And all summer he was lightly ridden barefoot and even foxhunted a little like that. And he was pretty sound, great on grass, just made sure to walk on rocks.

But I have just been having a heck of a time now and I don't know why. I'll put pictures up later today but I can't understand why he is NOT comfortable in boots. I even have pads for them and when I am not in the ring and not on grass he moves like a hackney. I only have front boots for him and I am wondering if he needs hinds- but he has been barefoot behind for so long. And it's hard to tell where he is sore exactly when he moves so badly. I don't want to put front shoes on him at this point because I want to know what the issue is. I have been working on some thrush in front, I treat them daily, but he isnt sensitive to a hoofpick- so I'm not sure how much that is effecting him.
I called the easyboot people and the lady was surprised that he was still sore with the boots on. Apparently horses many times are brand new with boots and pads on. I am going to give them another call because I don't know if it;s the model that isnt a good fit. I have plain easyboots and they are OK, not great. I loved the epics for my other horse, but they are too big for my TB.

I just need some support/advice, whatever. If anyone would be willing, I would love it if you could PM me for a more in depth conversation. Thanks a lot!

jn4jenny
Mar. 13, 2010, 10:22 AM
I don't mean to alarm you, but you should consider this story as you decide what to do.

My horse has been bare behind for a long time, but I pulled his front shoes for the first time this past December. He was being turned out on soft ground, stall was soft, aisle way was matted, I figured all would be well. The farrier agreed that the horse could (and should) go back to work as soon as he was sound at all 3 gaits on the lunge line (barefoot) and sound under saddle (with the boots and/or pads of my choice).

The horse got 2 weeks of rest, then was ridden for about 3 weeks very lightly--mostly walk/trot in an indoor arena, with Thinline pads and Cavallo simple boots. Everything was going great, no signs of short striding or lameness. Then one day, all of a sudden, he came up 1 out of 5 lame on a front foot in the middle of a trot circle. My trainer was there at the time, and neither of us saw him take a bad step and we saw no evidence of tendon problems. Just all of a sudden NQR.

I did not ride him for the next few days and did preventative treatment for abscess and/or tendon problems. After a few days of gimping he came sound on the lunge line, but I didn't dare ride him. I called the vet out and the horse hoof tested sore along the toe area in an area that's typical of bruising due to the barefoot transition. The vet suggested just waiting out the bruising until he was sound again, but she did give me the option to x-ray on the offchance that there was inflammation of the bone.

And I'm glad I did the x-rays, because he had just the SLIGHTEST bit of inflammation. You can barely see it on the x-rays, but it was there in both front feet (in fact it was every so slightly worse in the foot that he wasn't lame on). Sole depth was fine, angles were fine. The vet said to put the shoes back on for at least 6 to 12 months. I have not had any lameness problems whatsoever since the shoes went back on.

But if I'd waited longer, I could have been dealing with chronic pedal osteitis. It didn't feel good writing the check for x-rays, but knowing what was up = priceless.

SharonA
Mar. 13, 2010, 10:59 AM
I'm afraid I can't be of any real help, but, just to ask the dumb question, does he indeed need boots on the fronts? Maybe for the work/terrain you have in mind for him, he'd be okay without boots, esecially with a couple weeks of Durasole?

Bogie
Mar. 13, 2010, 11:59 AM
I'm not sure from your message, but did your horse just come up unsound after 2.5 months of doing okay?

It could be that your horse's soles are getting bruised. Once they are bruised, even with the boots he may be sore, or he could be bruising behind. Some horses never have a thick enough/tough enough sole to go barefoot (I had one of those).

I've had my TB barefoot since Oct. He transitioned pretty easily but there was still some bruising on his soles that my farrier found. It took him longer than 2.5 months to be riding sound without boots on the trails.

starkissed
Mar. 13, 2010, 04:08 PM
Bogie- No, he didn't just come up sore. He just has not improved at all as far as toughening his feet. I haven't really ridden him much out of the ring because even with his boots he is tender. In the arena I do not use boots because the footing is rubber.

To make the situation even more confusing is that he is off and on very slightly lame on his LF due to an injury of sorts to his knee months and months ago. And he has some arthritis in his RF because he will occasionally be lame on that leg. But even with those he is still very much servicebly sound and I treat him with surpass on an as needed basis. But now on top of all that, I was watching him today on the longe and he did not seem 100% behind. This is a suspicion I have had for a week or so now, but today I was a little more thorough in watching him.
So basically I am just about ready to ship him up to the farm for him to just get turnout and forget about the whole thing. I still rode him for about 10min today and he is just getting to the point where he is behaving well and getting out of thoroughbred-winter-crazy-mode.

I talked to my vet about it today on the phone. They know about the front leg issues and suggested that maybe the hind foot had some sort of abscess, although I couldn't really find any super sensitive areas.

Perhaps it is bruising, I feel a little hopeless because I don't want to be hurting him and I want to find out what is hoof related and what is older getting arthritic thoroughbred related.
And I forgot- he is 14 this year!

matryoshka
Mar. 13, 2010, 04:24 PM
It is possible your horse suffered from Pedal Osteitis at some point. That is inflammation of the coffin bone that leads to some degeneration. If that is the case, your horse might not do well booted, even with pads.

I'd love to see pictures. I promise not to pick them apart (can't speak for anybody else), but they may tell some of the story. For example, if your horse has run forward toes and heels and/or bars that lay over the sole, they can be sore with or without boots. Stretched white lines or a center sulcus infection are other causes of soreness. Sometimes a horse has all of this at once. Much can be corrected through trimming and treatment of any infection.

If the hoof form looks good and he's still sore, it would be cause to have rads done. If the horse has had PO at some point (or has it now), shoes and pads might be the best thing to do for your horse.

I'm a barefoot person (I trim professionally), but I'm here to tell you that not every horse can keep up the level of work barefoot (even booted) that he did while shod. Others may tell you differently, but it is too important an issue to risk the soundness of your horse on an ideal. Do what you need to keep your horse comfortable.

2.5 months is too long for a horse with no pathology to continue being sore. That he is still sore makes me wonder what is going on inside that hoof. Rads might be able to tell you.

It does take much longer than 2.5 months to grow entirely new walls. So if the balance of the hoof was changed after his shoes were pulled, the final results of this will not yet have reach ground level. But this is usually the difference between a horse being able to go totally barefoot or needing boots. Not one that is still sore in boots with pads. That's a big red flag.

starkissed
Mar. 13, 2010, 09:48 PM
matry, thanks. I didn't get photos today, but I will get them tomrorow and get in touch with you. Thanks, I am worried about him

matryoshka
Mar. 13, 2010, 10:07 PM
I'll check in tomorrow evening to see if you have pics. If you don't feel comfortable posting pics here, PM me and I'll send you my email address.

sublimequine
Mar. 13, 2010, 10:11 PM
Probably stupid question, but why don't you just put shoes back on? :confused:

Auventera Two
Mar. 14, 2010, 09:27 AM
I agree with everything Matry said, but wanted to add this too. Horses that are "sore" and then still "sore" or even MORE "sore" in boots may be sore somewhere other than the feet. As in - soft tissue. Horses don't just get sore because of sole pain. There can be lesions on tendons or ligaments, muscle pulls, or other soft tissue tears or strains. Putting boots on adds length and weight to the limb. For a normal, healthy horse that is generally fine, provided the boots fit well, and they are accustomed to them slowly as you would any other new piece of tack. But for a horse with an undiagnosed soft tissue injury, the increased breakover and weight can make the horse move even worse.

I trim one mare who goes like she has 4 broken legs in boots and pads but she cruises down the trail barefoot like a rock star. She has navicular lesions and the increased breakover of the boots is miserable for her.

I would get a vet out and do a complete lameness exam, with blocks if needed, to isolate the root of the issue.

Sublime - sure you could "just put shoes back on" but that doesn't aid in any sort of diagnosis or treatment plan.

Bogie
Mar. 14, 2010, 10:59 AM
Bogie- No, he didn't just come up sore. He just has not improved at all as far as toughening his feet. I haven't really ridden him much out of the ring because even with his boots he is tender. In the arena I do not use boots because the footing is rubber.



My Trakehner never really was comfortable without shoes although I could ride him in hoof boots and pads. I had left him barefoot after he pulled his shoes in the mud and damaged his hoof walls to the point where there was nothing to nail to. Once they grew out, I put his shoes back on. He sighed a big sigh of relief and was completely sound.

starkissed
Mar. 14, 2010, 11:51 AM
I would get a vet out and do a complete lameness exam, with blocks if needed, to isolate the root of the issue.

Sublime - sure you could "just put shoes back on" but that doesn't aid in any sort of diagnosis or treatment plan.

Yeah I might end up putting the shoes back on, but I would like to get to the root of the problem like you said.
Back in December he had fronts on and was sound (other than the front leg issues off/on lame, but that was a different kind of lame, not tender) He would stride out great. I have photos from today I will post.

starkissed
Mar. 14, 2010, 12:00 PM
Ok I tried to re-arrange the photos so the order makes sense, but I couldn't. However I labeled them all, that should help.

http://s12.photobucket.com/albums/a225/Parellihorses/feet/Fred%20Hooves%20March%2014%202010/

sublimequine
Mar. 14, 2010, 01:00 PM
Sublime - sure you could "just put shoes back on" but that doesn't aid in any sort of diagnosis or treatment plan.

But what if the diagnosis IS sore feet, bruising, etc, and now a sore body from trying to compensate? Shoes would then be an ideal solution/"treatment". :)

I just figure that if the horse was sound in shoes, and went lame/sore when the shoes were pulled, and no other changes were made, it's a no brainer. But maybe I'm oversimplifying, hard to say when you can't see the horse for yourself.

Bogie
Mar. 14, 2010, 07:11 PM
I am curious to learn what the hoof experts see in these photos. To me, it looks like the hoof is unbalanced (as seen in the shape of the coronary band) and there's some flare. Not sure if that would cause the issues that the OP has experienced. I see lots of horses with flare that seem to cope fine.

RidingAllDay
Mar. 14, 2010, 07:27 PM
Putting boots on adds length and weight to the limb.

the increased breakover and weight can make the horse move even worse.

the increased breakover of the boots is miserable for her.


OP:

I have some thoughts about your photos and will share them shortly but I have to address something first.

A2:

This is just too rich to pass up!! Really, did you figure this all out on your own?

I think you owe someone a public apology!!

hank
Mar. 14, 2010, 07:39 PM
I have a horse with similar hooves. He is MISERABLE in boots. They all "bite" into the heel bulbs. Then he moves weirdly and makes his shoulders sore. I have shod him in Epona shoes and he is very comfortable and useable.

Thomas_1
Mar. 14, 2010, 08:07 PM
The photos show feet that aren't very well balanced. Poor heels in particular. There seems to be a lot of exfoliating sole left on too.

When were they last done??

I'm thinking you need a decent farrier out.

If the horse was o.k. previously why did you change his routine?

RidingAllDay
Mar. 14, 2010, 08:11 PM
starkissed:

I believe your horse would be best served in 4 shoes, not just fronts. The palmar processes are digging into the Digital Cushion and the bar laminae.

The right hind is filled with serum and the coffin bone appears to be resting on very thin soles.

I think the feet need Impression Material and shoes.

The horse will do so much better!

Thomas_1
Mar. 14, 2010, 08:11 PM
I agree with everything Matry said, but wanted to add this too. Horses that are "sore" and then still "sore" or even MORE "sore" in boots may be sore somewhere other than the feet. As in - soft tissue. Horses don't just get sore because of sole pain. There can be lesions on tendons or ligaments, muscle pulls, or other soft tissue tears or strains. Putting boots on adds length and weight to the limb. For a normal, healthy horse that is generally fine, provided the boots fit well, and they are accustomed to them slowly as you would any other new piece of tack. But for a horse with an undiagnosed soft tissue injury, the increased breakover and weight can make the horse move even worse.

I trim one mare who goes like she has 4 broken legs in boots and pads but she cruises down the trail barefoot like a rock star. She has navicular lesions and the increased breakover of the boots is miserable for her.

I would get a vet out and do a complete lameness exam, with blocks if needed, to isolate the root of the issue.

Sublime - sure you could "just put shoes back on" but that doesn't aid in any sort of diagnosis or treatment plan. Welcome back!

You know it could just be that the boots don't fit and are making the horse unsound because of the way they're affecting movement.

I'd suggest get a farrier out and get the horse checked and inspected non weight bearing and weight bearing and then get the feet trimmed and balanced and if necessary get some shoes on. I'm thinking having seen the photos that some decent protection might be a plan.

Ghazzu
Mar. 14, 2010, 10:51 PM
starkissed:

I believe your horse would be best served in 4 shoes, not just fronts. The palmar processes are digging into the Digital Cushion and the bar laminae.

The right hind is filled with serum and the coffin bone appears to be resting on very thin soles.

I think the feet need Impression Material and shoes.

The horse will do so much better!

I'm impressed.
How do you tell all that without radiographs?
Can you explain the clues that led you to these conclusions?

RidingAllDay
Mar. 15, 2010, 08:34 AM
I'm impressed.
How do you tell all that without radiographs?
Can you explain the clues that led you to these conclusions?

It is called PAST EXPERIENCE. I have seen many feet that look like this along with the accompanying radiographs.

I don't see how anyone can miss the pumpkin colored sole of the RH, or the Pumpkin colored medial wall of the RH where OP has trimmed the foot.

The right front lateral shows the placement of the palmar processes the best, along with the "crimp" in the area just in front of the heels.

The horses frogs (especially) on the hinds show the same trauma I've become accustomed to seeing in these type of feet.

Fill the caudal portion of the foot with impression material and apply the proper shoe and that look would go away. IME, you will not "cure" nor "fix" this situation, you will maintain it.

Horse should not be barefoot at this time. Give it the support it needs and try again if you so desire.

OP appears to be doing a decent trim, but it just ain't enough.

So Ghazzu, let me know if that answers your questions or not.

Ghazzu
Mar. 15, 2010, 11:23 AM
It is called PAST EXPERIENCE. I have seen many feet that look like this along with the accompanying radiographs.

I don't see how anyone can miss the pumpkin colored sole of the RH, or the Pumpkin colored medial wall of the RH where OP has trimmed the foot.


What does the color signify?



The right front lateral shows the placement of the palmar processes the best, along with the "crimp" in the area just in front of the heels.

Could you elaborate? What do you mean by this? Are you referring to being able to see the palmar processes ?

I'm not being snarky. I just need more explanation of your description.

Thomas_1
Mar. 15, 2010, 11:26 AM
It is called PAST EXPERIENCE. I have seen many feet that look like this along with the accompanying radiographs.

I don't see how anyone can miss the pumpkin colored sole of the RH, or the Pumpkin colored medial wall of the RH where OP has trimmed the foot.

The right front lateral shows the placement of the palmar processes the best, along with the "crimp" in the area just in front of the heels.

The horses frogs (especially) on the hinds show the same trauma I've become accustomed to seeing in these type of feet.

Fill the caudal portion of the foot with impression material and apply the proper shoe and that look would go away. IME, you will not "cure" nor "fix" this situation, you will maintain it.

Horse should not be barefoot at this time. Give it the support it needs and try again if you so desire.

OP appears to be doing a decent trim, but it just ain't enough.

So Ghazzu, let me know if that answers your questions or not.

Got to say that I can't help thinking that this posting is VERY funny and is likely to illicit some VERY amusing response.

I'm going to be most interested in understanding how the above all works.

x ray vision? Pumpkin coloured sole?

Popcorn anyone??

Ghazzu
Mar. 15, 2010, 11:37 AM
Stop it Thomas--I'm not baiting RAD.
I'm interested in what external signs might indicate these internal states.

RidingAllDay
Mar. 15, 2010, 12:58 PM
Ghazzu:

Fear not, I love Thomas and he can bait me :)

Did my explanation make sense? I do see this and do have the radiographs to correspond with my personal experiences.

I also find using the protocol I suggested to be of great benefit.

You can PM and I'll get you the radiographs/photos.

rmh_rider
Mar. 15, 2010, 03:55 PM
Ahh the beauty, and fun, and all the en vogueness of going barefoot.

Sounds like natural isn't what it is all cracked up to be.

Why not just put shoes back on? Not sure why you removed the shoes. Oh, I forgot it is en vogue to do so.

Hey sorry for your horse, but not all horses can go barefoot. Hoof boots -psst Thomas READ------> **AIN'T** what they are all cracked up to be. Not to breed bash the TB breed, however, TB's are not known for their rock tough feet. Going cheap, ain't always best.

The Ultimate Shoe Gal, and that's steel shoes!

There is a rock out there with your name on it, try to avoid it.

RidingAllDay
Mar. 15, 2010, 04:02 PM
Ghazzu:

Here is another example of a what I'm talking about.

http://www.horseshoes.com/forums/showthread.php?p=195960#post195960

Again, based on my personal experience and those of my peers that I trust.

matryoshka
Mar. 15, 2010, 05:46 PM
Good job taking pics! Too often they are shot from angles that tell us very little. These are nice and clear.

I don't see anything that screams soreness, but I do see some things that may affect how your horse moves and decrease his level of comfort. I'd love to see you ride him to be sure. Many horses will do okay with such a trim. Some are more sensitive.

Toe first landing? From your description, he sounds like he is landing toe first. His breakover is too far forward even without a boot on, so the boot is going to amplify that. IMO, if the toe-first landing is from too forward a toe rather than foot soreness, pads aren't going to help, and IME, may make the situation worse. It is possible to rasp the toe of the boot to move the breakover back a bit. There isn't a lot of room to do this on Easyboots, but a little bit may make a big difference to your horse.

Too forward a breakover is also going to exacerbate problems in his joints as well as create tension in the tendons in the back of his leg.

Boots themselves uncomfortable? My question is whether he is yanking the foot up when he lifts it. That could mean he finds the boots themselves irritating. Think about how they get some of the fancy movement from gaited horses. Also, note whether the heel strap leaves a mark on his heel when you remove the boot. If so, they are likely irritating his heels. Don't pull that strap up very far--just far enough to make sure it isn't trapped under the walls. If he's simply very sensitive, he's likely to be much happier in shoes. Epics can be used without a heel strap, but it's always possible something else will bother him, such as the gaiter.

Thrush? It looks like you are still battling a center sulcus infection in the LF. This can cause soreness in the back of the foot, though again, this doesn't look too bad. Have you tried squirting mastitis ointment in the remaining crevice? Or maybe do a White Lightening soak? The RF looks like he used to have a center sulcus infection but that it is cleared up. I say this because his heel bulbs still look a little close, as if this were recently healed. I've noticed that when heels decontract, they can be sore for a while even when the thrush is gone. (I imagine it is a bit like having a new wire put on to orthtdontic braces, where they are sore while the teeth are loosened but get gradually more comfortable after the shifting is done.)

Underrun heels and bars. The heels are still too far forward (run under) and the bars are laying over the sole. I've seen worse, but the way they are trimmed in your pics is not going to encourage the horse to confidently weight the back of his hoof. This contributes to a toe-first landing, since he may be protecting his heels. Without changing the trim of the heels and bars, shoes are unlikely to make him land better. Horses who land toe first are not 100% sound whether they are barefoot, shod, or booted.

Okay, if he's not landing toe first, much of the above is just so much hot air. ;)

matryoshka
Mar. 15, 2010, 05:48 PM
Bull-nosed hind feet. The hind feet appear to be somewhat bull-nosed. Again, I've seen worse, but the convex curve in the dorsal wall (lateral view) suggests that the tip of the coffin bone is higher than the back, or at best, level with it. This flattens out the frog, which is how your horse's hinds look. If you look at the tip of the frog, you'll see the groove is deep on either side. This suggests that he has a buildup of sole that is pushing the toes up. Whether this can be corrected without shoes has been argued back and forth. Shoes applied by a skilled farrier who has access to fresh lateral rads may be your best bet.

What I've noticed about such hinds is that they contribute to the horse being sore in the hindquarters and back. Getting the angle of the coffin bone better in relation to the ground (and consequently, to the joints above it) may clear up some of the subtle issues you are seeing. Also, the heels are a bit uneven, which could cause some discomfort.

Flares. I'd love to see the quarters relieved. IME, this will help those heels stand up a bit and form a heel buttress. It appears some attempt has been made to do this, but it was a little too far forward to do much good. They need to be relieved (just a tiny bit shorter than the heel and the toe quarter). The hairline will settle out fairly rapidly once this has been done. Flares usually indicate that the walls are too long at that spot.

matryoshka
Mar. 15, 2010, 05:48 PM
This is labor intensive, but here's an approach that may give you enough information to decide whether to put him in shoes:
Lunge the horse barefoot on various surfaces, noting how he moves. Video for later comparison if you can.
Adjust the trim so his breakover is a bit farther back. Try to take the heels back to the widest part of the frog--unless you have to rasp into live sole to do this. If you hit the waxy sole, STOP. In fact, it is better to find the waxy sole at the seat of corn using a hoof knife and stop a bit shy of that. Trim the bars so that they are shorter than the walls (I'd take them to the level of the sole, but not everybody agrees with that approach). Relieve the quarters. Add a nice roll. I would not exfoliate the sole on the fronts.
Recheck the fit of the boots once the foot has been trimmed. If they are loose or too long, this is contributing to the problem.
Lunge the horse on the same surfaces as before the trim, without boots. Video if possible.
Add boots without pads and see how he moves. If he's more comfortable, that tells you he needs at least that amount of protection. If he moves worse, then the boots are definitely part of the problem.
Add the pads. See if he moves as well or better.
Saddle up and ride on the same surfaces. If possible, have somebody video for comparison.If you were my client, we'd try the above until we had the information we needed to proceed barefoot or to call a skilled farrier and the vet for rads.

After all of this, you may find that your horse is simply one who does not do well barefoot, booted or not. If that's the case, your farrier is your best friend--treat him/her well. ;)

starkissed
Mar. 16, 2010, 09:59 PM
thanks everyone, I really appreciate it.
There are some things in there I understand and some I don't (such as palmer process?) I should look it up, I just have some other things on my mind.

Its seems though will ALL the problems, heels, uneven, flared, etc etc, nothing is gaping out like "there are the worse hooves I have EVER seen", I have seen hooves that look way worse and the horses are sound. So maybe my guy is just not cut out. He is a very wimpy TB, but he HAS gone barefoot successfully for light riding in his past. He is not one of those horses that has been in shoes all his life.

As for the above, I am being cheap, I admit, in a way. I'm a student spend most of my $ keeping him at a farm that isn't surrounded in barbed wire, and it was winter time when in the snow he happily moves barefoot. And he ambles around the pasture just fine. I am NOT trying to be en vogue- please, spare me. Yes I am perhaps being a little penny wise and pound foolish.

I do have the farrier coming out on Thurs and I think I am going to put the shoes back on. I don't think it will be the end of the world if he has one set on, then come the end of that cycle I will take them off because I will have a lot of other things on my plate.

matryoshka
Mar. 16, 2010, 10:25 PM
That's a sensible plan. I hope he gets more comfortable right away.

There's nothing wrong with trying barefoot, so you don't have to apologize to anybody. Nor do you need to apologize for putting him back into shoes. You've gotta make the best choice you can for your horse. Ignore people bringing baggage from past arguments into your thread, when you simply asked for some opinions for your horse.

You can probably sell the boots on a boot swap page, but it might be a good idea to keep them in case your horse pulls a shoe. A boot could keep the hoof in better shape for the farrier.

starkissed
Mar. 17, 2010, 09:13 PM
I am going to keep the boots, I like to have them around and in the future when I pull his shoes again for 'rest' I might have a better plan than the last one. And I think the heel strap may have been bugging him a little

I rode him out today for 3 hours hunting and he was actually really good. the footing was all soft grassy fields, and he didn't do to bad on the areas with fine gravel. But I think he will be more comfortable with the fronts. farrier will be out tomorrow to work on him, still deciding if I want borium or not.

matryoshka
Mar. 17, 2010, 09:28 PM
Thanks for the update. :) Will you let us know if he's a lot more comfortable/moves better with the shoes on? I'm curious.