My 11-year-old QH has always, thankfully, been barefoot and sound. A couple weeks ago he came in from his first day out in the big pasture head-bobbing lame; lameness has continued ever since, with some days better than others. No heat or swelling anywhere and only noticeable at the trot, so I figured stone bruise or muscle pull and gave him time off, though he's still been out on pasture at night. Moved to a different barn yesterday with less rocky turnouts--the big pasture he was in at the old barn, with night turnout, is really pretty rocky and uneven and has a lane they go galloping down to the barn that is all chunks of asphalt and rocks. Had the vet look at him this morning and she said his front hooves are pretty worn down, the right toe especially, and suggested shoes and pads for a cycle.
I am hoping to be able to go back to barefoot once he's had a chance to grow his sole back, since his new barn doesn't have that kind of rockiness, but am unfamiliar with shoeing since I've never had a shod horse. BO is trying to get the farrier out a.s.a.p. and obviously I'll be talking to him about what his suggestions are, but I wanted to ask the COTH hivemind for what options you've tried or are familiar with so that I can be a little more informed.
Just had to do the same thing for my TB mare, who's been barefoot since she came off the track.
We're keeping her in shoes for this summer to 1) keep her comfortable and sound 2) allow for a little extra growth to the foot and sole, without worrying about her wearing it down. The plan is to pull them for the winter, and then see what we have to work with in terms of foot quality next spring.
Shoes for a few cycles can definitely be beneficial.
Go ahead and shoe him for a cycle, get some length on his hooves and then leave off the shoes when Farrier comes again. BE SURE to tell Farrier horse will BE BAREFOOT when shoes come off, so s/he doesn't trim horse short for shoes again. You WANT the length on, especially if ground is rocky in the pastures.
No reason horse can't wear shoes, then go bare for the next cycle with no issues, if horse is capable of being bare on rough ground. If horse is wearing off more hoof than he grows (right now is the prime growing season for hooves), then horse might need shoes on that kind of rough ground.
I have had the same thing in the past, horse was usually barefoot, had tough hooves and no issues. However when horse had to be conditioned for show competition, doing about 5-10 miles a day to develop her wind, 3-4 days a week, she wore off her hooves faster than they could grow to keep inside bones protected. So she was kept shod while being worked this hard. Shoes came off, no issues when show season was finished, she wasn't doing that daily mileage.
Shoes on, shoes off and horse usable right away, SHOULD be the "norm" if horse is capable of it with well built hooves, plus leaving enough length and sole on him to protect inner hoof structure, when the shoes come off. We do this regularly, horse is used immediately after Farrier is done with horse, shod or barefoot. Any of our horses can have this done with them, it is a "normal expectation" for us.
Hope the shoes help your boy get back to being able to go bare again, by giving him hoof growth time.
If you're opposed to nailing on, you can always glue on the easy boot gloves. You'll need to find someone who is familiar with how to do so, as there is a learning curve. It's a neat method and can be very effective.
Thanks folks... it's reassuring to know that this is common; I wasn't sure if shoeing him once would make it difficult to return to barefoot again. He has very good hooves generally and has never had issues on occasional rocky footing, I think the old barn's pasture lane was just too much for him, especially since he had just been trimmed before they went out. New barn doesn't have that kind of rockiness, so I think he'll probably be good again once he's had a chance to regrow the hoof. Thanks again!
Since my old horse started on Prascend for thyroid supplementation, his hooves seem to have changed from always neat and strong to a bit shelly.
He has always been barefoot before without any problem.
I expect the change happened before we started supplementation and that old part of the hoof is what is in contact with the ground now and not holding up like it ought to.
We just put shoes in front and will for however long it takes that to grow out to strong and pliable hoof as he always had before.
It may take only one go round or maybe three or four, just have to see where we are at every trimming.
Once we have good foot quality, he can go barefoot again.
He has never been sore, we are taking care of this before he got there, to prevent it from happening.
A good foot is a good foot and a good farrier is a good farrier. Put the two together and let them make your horse more comfortable.
No hooves will be harmed in the making of this process -- in your case, think of it like a cast if you break your leg: when they take the cast off, your leg is not ruined forever, it just needed some help while it was healing.
I will probably put EasyShoes on my guy prior to going to an out of town show where the footing is rocky and there is typically a lot of rain. He's been barefoot about a year and a half now, but while a lot of the problems he was having are better, his hooves still aren't ideal and I want to make sure he's comfortable. They don't damage the hoof, and the glue purchased from the EasyCare store comes off his hooves easily without ripping off hoof.
Originally Posted by Silverbridge
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My horses wear shoes spring thru fall when I'm foxhunting, then go barefoot in the winter. Haven't had a problem with that.
IF you want to avoid the nail holes and the chipping that can come along with them, you can go with a glue-on shoe -- just keep in mind they are expensive.
I used hoof boots for many years when I kept my horse barefoot. The boots were great at protecting his hooves for rocky areas or long rides on hard surfaces. So if you want to offer some immediate and non-permanent protection, you could try those. You can even buy pads to put in the boot if your horse is particularly sore.