My Mustang mare has always done good barefoot, and since I've retired her she's doing fine. But, my ASB... ex padded ASB, 5 gaited park horse, then wore weighted shoes as a trail horse. Previous owners tried to go barefoot, but when I got him he was malnourished, abcessed in all 4 feet, barefoot, so I think that his malnourishment might have played into the failure of barefoot.
Anyhow, since I got him he's been consistenlty shod all 4 in flat shoes. When I have a good, sport horse farrier who does *good* work his feet do well. I'm happy to keep him shod, when I can find a good farrier. Lately I've been using a country/walking horse guy who's... okay... at best. I'm not happy with the work, my horse doesn't move well, and he's getting quarter cracks from the nail holes.
So, when the trimmer was out Saturday to do my BO's horses I went ahead and got her to do Star, the mare. It'd been a while since she'd been trimmed by a professional, and she needed some work on her bars and heels that I couldn't do. And, the longer the trimmer and I talked the more I was deciding to pull the ASBs shoes and let him go barefoot.
Went and got him, trimmer looked at him and said he has unhealthy feet, very flat, no concavity, no hoof wall, deep cravace in the frog, and thrush all 4. She did a conservative trim on him, showed me how to touch him up, and told me to treat his thrush. I'm using Tomorrow. The trimmer isn't sure he'll ever make a barefoot horse, so I've decided to give it 3 trims - 30 weeks, and reconsider. He was lame all 4 before his trim, and after his trim he wasn't as lame. It's fine for him to be pastured for now, I do have the mare to ride and can let him hang out. He's also got quarter cracks on both front feet...
Right now he fits in size 2 Easycare Gloves and size 2 Easyboot Originals. I'm toying with just letting him be and not buying boots. Also, toying with buying the gloves and using them for turnout because he is ouchy up front and not moving around as much as he should.
Any thoughts on boots? He's got big, round, pancake feet. BIG movement, forges barefoot and shod. Also need a set of boots for the mare - she's a little tender and with her age and stuff I think it's just old age setting in. http://www.ultimatedressage.com/foru...s/icon_lol.gif I want boots for when we go gravely places to trail ride. Both horses are pretty well *just* trail ponies for now - do some lower level Dressage and jump the ASB on occasion.
Boots can really help some horses. They have to fit well and not rub...and obviously stay on. I really like the Gloves as they have half sizes and are more flexible and forgiving of odd shaped feet. You can put a thin 6 mm pad in them also for cushion and support...something it sounds like this horse needs.
Another option might be hoof casts for a while to help keep the walls from splitting and cracking as nail holes grow out..and they seem to help horses with flat feet develop some concavity as well. They usually stay on for 3-4 weeks...so the downside is that they will not go a normal 6 week cycle...but often on a horse with problems, that is just about right for a corrective trim cycle.
I have to say that I'm confused at your cycles...you are saying three trims every 10 weeks for a total of 30 weeks? That is probably not going to be frequent enough to prevent flaring and chipping and other long foot issues. When you are working on a problem horse, a much shorter cycle is generally a good idea.
It sounds like a lot of his problems are from his previous trim. He might or might not respond to therapeutic trimming...and in that time frame you should know if there is improvement or not.
Last edited by Daydream Believer; Jan. 11, 2010 at 09:41 PM.
One would hope your horse will get comfortable in the pasture totally barefoot relatively quickly. Continued soreness during turnout would be cause for concern. A center sulcus infection can cause soreness, so you won't know how the horse will do until that is cleared up. I don't think I'd boot for turnout while the infection is present.
I've had several OTTB's who always needed hoof protection for riding even though they were comfortable barefoot for turnout. I never rode them without boots. One needed them on all fours. I prefer not to use boots for turnout but have from time to time. It is important to remove the boots daily long enough to dry out the boots and the hoof. Many find sprinkling athlete's foot powder into the boots before putting them on helps prevent thrush and other yucky organisms from infecting the foot.
If boots don't bother you, then they are a viable option for riding. They can be aggravating to put on at times, but a well-fitting pair of boots can allow a horse to have the best of both worlds: barefoot for turnout and protection for riding.
BTW, I'm a trimmer and trail rider, including distance competition.
The thrush might be a big factor in his tenderness. I don't know a lot bout barefoot (although mine are) But my gelding who is 7 randomly got pretty sore this fall riding. And he has never had shoes- like previously galloping on driveways sound. But he had gotten thrush at a new barn I took him to.
Once I got rid of that stuff he was back to himself! I didn't realize how much it hurt them!
As for the boots, it's probably a good idea to get them. I have size 3 easyboot epics for the gelding and size 2 reg easyboots for my TB. They are nice for the trail riding. I ride enough in the ring and on grass that my horses arent very accustomed to the rocks and stuff in the woods. Then I can just put the boots on and not have to worry about it.
As for boots and turnout. If your gelding is getting around comfortably in the pasture, I don't think its absolutely necessary to have him booted. If he is limping and doesn't want to walk, then yes.
If he were my horse i'd clean trax all four feet and keep them dry. That will help the cracks, thrush and create a good environment for healthy tissue to grow
Congrats to you for taking him barefoot. I think the greatest benefit to barefoot (esp when you can do a bit of rasping yourself) is that there isnt as much time for inbalances to happen as they do with shoes.