My friend's lovely warmblood has always had terrible feet. He has been retired for a few years already but she has kept him in front shoes because his feet are so terrible. Thin walls, shelly, etc....Almost impossible to keep shoes on. At one point he had glue-ons, then pours. Until now she has dealt with it but at this point, she is tired of the continuing problems. Even with the pours, he loses shoes. He has recently had a impossible to treat thrush problem maybe because of the pours......Has anyone else had a horse with similar issues? My friend is afraid he will suffer lameness and great pain if she stops shoeing but she's so tired of the problems and the cost of these difficult to maintain shoes.
The farrier is there every week and the bills are mounting up. What to do?
Why not pull the shoes, get some Durasole, and give the horse a good couple of months and see if he can cope. If not, and I've really rarely seen one that can't if they aren't expected to be ridden barefoot, put the shoes back on.
Find a different farrier? No, I'm kidding (well maybe, depends on the farrier). You could post feet pics here to get a multitude of suggestions. She could try to transition to barefoot, but boots would be a nice thing for that horse in the interim. These are supposed to be checked daily.
Last edited by TrotTrotPumpkn; Mar. 3, 2010 at 09:50 PM.
My old retired TB mare had the same problem. I asked the farrier, is there anyway to let this horse go barefoot? We did and we used Reducine. From what I understand it is hard to find or not made. However, my local feed store has some right now. I saw it there last week. You might try to find some old cans of it somewhere.
My farrier had us painting the sole and the walls to the coronet band. We painted it on for a good 3 months. It worked for us.
I didn't fuss too much about her gimping for a bit until her feet got hard and boy did they get hard. She had some tough little feet when we finally put her down at the age of 33.
I also think the thrush will clear up with out the shoes. We had a horse come to our place with the most severe case of thrush I ever saw. You could stick the hoof pick all the way into this mush. He had four bar shoes all around. He was retired at this point so we pulled the shoes and didn't fuss too much with the thrush and it seemed to clear up by just not have those bar shoes on. My farrier did pare away some of the frog so air could get into the frog area where the thrush was.
So that's two retired TBs that we thought HAD to wear shoes that we let go barefoot without repercussions. Again, we didn't fuss too much with the initial gimping over a rock here and there until they toughened up. No one was riding so they picked their ways around the paddocks.
I would talk to the farrier and get his advice. That's what I did with these two horses. He's probably sick of the repeat visits to the farm anyway and may have advice.
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Just a word of caution...if you live somewhere with cold winters then pulling shoes this late in the season might not work if the ground is frozen and hard. Some can't transition to barefoot when everything they walk on is lumpy and cement hard.
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Can the horse wear bell boots 24/7? I have one that lives in pull ons and it has been a godsend. (No, he doesn't have any problems wearing them all the time.)
Unless you live somewhere with a warm climate, I wouldn't pull shoes this time of year. The ground is very hard and it could be an even more difficult transition. If you're somewhere that's already gotten cold (or will be getting cold very soon), I'd at least wait until spring to try to transition to barefoot.
Another vote for Durasole! I have a semi-retired horse with lousy feet too, would lose shoes at the drop of the hat. When he was in full work, he needed bars and lived in bell boots, but once I threw him out 24/7, the 1st thing to go was the bars-even in bells, he would throw them and his feet were a mess. He did OK in regular shoes and pours. This fall I basically decided to indefinitely retire him and pulled his front shoes, painted them with Durasole. He's doing great! Luckily for me, I pulled shoes during a warm spell and the ground was really soft. He doesn't have tp walk on rocks or driveway either, so that helps. Sure, he's missing a little chunk on the side of one foot, but overall, doing much better than I had hoped.
I decided to retire my mare 2 years ago, and was pretty nervous about pulling her shoes. She did tend to lose them more so than any other horse I've had. She has a decent clubfoot, too small feet for a QH body, and thinnish walls. Trifecta!! Well, in early November that year, I did it. However, I kept her Easybooted constantly for about 5 weeks, in the least rocky and driest paddock. After I felt her feet were toughened up, I let her be.... She chipped out here and there a little. The next spring she did whack her clubfoot pretty good, and developed a small crack up the front. The farrier notched it out, but there is still a very small crack there today. Her feet have spread out nicely, and have never looked better. She now can gallop over rocks without flinching, I never would have believed it possible. Farrier says her feet have never been in better shape! Now, if her heart issue would resolve....
Good point that I didn't think of, but some of the other posts alluded to--dry vs. wet. I think the VAST majority of my horse's issues this past summer (barefoot, etc.) were influenced by how utterly wet we were (constantly). I could push his sole with a fingernail...it was just SO WET.
We had one month were we saw the sun for like 4 days only. Very abnormal weather.
I pulled shoes on one quarter horse, when I retired him, who quite literally had not been barefoot at all for 20 years owing to shelly feet. I took care to do it during the spring 'mud' season so that by the time the clay hardened heading into summer, he was pretty well adjusted. Pulling them right now, well, I'd balance the need to use a good sole paint with the need to dig snow and ice out of the shoes frequently, and go with the former. He might be a little tender, but I would bet not so tender as to be unable to mosey on over to the hay when it's put out.
I like to pull shoes when the ground is more like mud than ice. I use iodine spray to toughen up the sole. When the time is right, pull the shoes, endure the ouchies and get on with it. They survive. My 28 yo gets his share of abscesses in really wet weather, but I wouldn't put shoes on over it. He has been barefoot for 5-6 years now and boy was he sore when those front shoes first came off.
I vote to go for it. The horse's feet, from the sound of things, can't get any worse. Some things I have read have actually said that horses with bad feet should be barefoot, as it would improve the hoof quality. I don't recall where I read that. I'm sure it was on a pro-barefoot site. I think transitioning the horse to barefoot will save your friend a lot of money and aggrvation. Worst case scenario, the horse will have to have some shoes put back on. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
As other posters have said: wait until the thaw sets in. Take the shoes off, grit your teeth, be sympathetic to his ouchies, and wait for things to get better - at least a year.
One of my horses was really flat footed and the farrier told me that he would need shoeing all his life. But I took his shoes off, and 18 months later he has the most beautiful hooves. Of course he flinches if he steps on a sharp stone, but that's all.
I consider myself something of an expert at transitioning retired horses to barefoot, especially those who were deemed by their vets/farriers unable to go comfortably barefoot in any circumstances.
I have at least one example, often multiple examples, of just about every hoof pathology known to man cruising around my pastures comfortably bare. Severe navicular, previously foundered, pedal osteitis, severe club feet (I thought I was used to seeing really messed up feet until I saw THESE feet step off the trailer!), giant toe cracks and quarter cracks, some extreme examples of long toes and underrun heels, etc. etc.
1. You have got to have a good farrier who can truly read the hoof, who insticively knows how far to go with the initial trim and when to stop, and who has an outstanding track record at taking horses bare. Keep in mind that I have a lof of 'big time' show horses retired here from all over the country who had their requisite 'big time' farrier who could not accomplish this transition, and in fact many would not even attempt it.
2. I ALWAYS have boots WITH pads on standby. A few horses never need them. Most only need them for 2-3 weeks. I have found if you use the boots/pads for 2-3 weeks they are never sore and they transition out of the need for protection very quickly. For some reason just pulling the shoes and waiting for them to work through it takes much longer, plus I refuse to watch a horse gimp around when the problem can be easily remedied with boots and pads.
3. I remove the boots daily, clean them out, and leave them off for an hour or two before putting them back on.
4. I don't bother with all of the sole painting and such. I go straight to the boots/pads and have a 100% record of success. Many of these horses would never have been able to have a comfortable transition without the boots and pads. I cannot emphasize this enough. In my opinion it is unnecessary to make a horse gimp around and in some cases would be downright cruel. As long as you are willing to put in the time and effort with the boots and pads a retired horse with pretty severe hoof pathologies can have a sore-free transition to bare. If you are not willing to invest theh time and effort then I would not pull the shoes, it isn't fair to the horse.