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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar. 9, 2004
    Posts
    2,848

    Default I need a barefoot support group...

    I've recently transitioned my 6 year old TB to a barefoot trim. I have transitioned another horse successfully in the past. In December I pulled his shoes, but just had a regular farrier trim. He had a bit of a transition where he was slightly ouchy, but some Keratex helped him along and he seemed to be fine. He's got really nice feet. After mulling it over awhile... 5 weeks ago I had my barefoot trimmer trim him for the first time, again he seemed fine. His feet look beautiful and his trot was gorgeous and floating. Then, we had two weeks of non-stop rain, and lots of flooding. While he had a relatively dry run-in, he's out 24/7 and the rest of the time he was basically standing in mud. Now he's lame on both fronts, one slightly more than the other but very reactive with hoof testers. Bute does not seem to make much difference so I'm thinking abcess. Something else peculiar...if he's trotted on soft footing, like sand or the mats in the aisle, he looks sound, but out in the paddocks with the rocks and uneven footing he's really gimpy even at a walk. My trainer (who thinks all performance horses need shoes) thinks I'm being cruel to him and that he's telling me he needs shoes, but he's been fine until recently. It's hard to say I'm doing the right thing for him when he's obviously uncomfortable. I don't know how to make him better. My SOP for an abcess is to soak , but in his case I wonder if it will just make the feet softer when I want them to toughen up. I know that I'm supposed to be walking him on gravel to help toughen him up, but it seems so cruel when it obviously pains him. I don't really know what I'm looking for by posting this, maybe some success stories, or some advice or anyone to tell me that I'm not the worst mother in the world.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec. 5, 2005
    Location
    henryville Pa
    Posts
    751

    Default

    that is what happened with my guy. needless to say, he now has shoes back on. the shoes helped.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug. 30, 2001
    Location
    Tennessee
    Posts
    2,565

    Default

    The timing of the weather stinks and I would wait a few weeks to see how things progress. Is he comfortable when moving around out in his field? I don't subscribe to the walking them over rocks to toughen them up theory. I have transitioned several to barefoot and I don't start asking them to walk on gravel or rocks until it is apparent that they are ready. If they are really ouchie and gimpy on the rocks I don't force the issue, I think its mean and potentially a futile exercise depending on why the gravel makes them gimp along. Waiting to allow the good trim to help them grow out a healthier foot is how I solve the gravel ouchies.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug. 12, 2001
    Location
    Trailer Trash Ammy!
    Posts
    19,520

    Default

    Have you started the Keratex back up again? Might want to try that. My TB Avery gets very hurty on his unshod hinds when the ground is wet, his soles soften, and Your Correspondent gets lazy about the Keratex...
    "The standard you walk by is the standard you accept."--Lt. Gen. David Morrison, Austalian Army Chief



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec. 13, 1999
    Location
    Greensboro, NC
    Posts
    36,085

    Default

    Lots of rain softens the sole. Stepping on firmer protruding surfaces then can indeed be ouchy.

    If you like the idea of barefoot, get some boots and put them on until the ground, and his feet, can harden up again.
    ______________________________
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug. 6, 1999
    Location
    Georgia
    Posts
    6,221

    Default

    I am not, not, not an expert, but I have had barefoot horses for 25+ years. When you have a lot of rain, it can soften up the hoof more than you want it. Unless you are able to put them in and dry them out for a few hours a day, this can be a problem. When their feet are softer, they are more prone to absesses and stone bruises. If it were me, I would wait it out and see if when the conditions improve, the horse improves. I would do my best to try and dry his feet out a bit and keep him on the type of ground that makes him happy. Frankly, I don't ever worry when horse is a bit gimpy on rocks. I can't jog "sound" on rocks barefoot or wearing hiking boots. And how realistic is it to hack on a bunch of rocks? If he was lame on arena footing, then I would be more worried. No, I do not think you are the worst mom. No, I don't think you should throw in the towel just yet and nail shoes on.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun. 27, 2005
    Location
    KY
    Posts
    4,807

    Default

    If you think he is abcessing, then the Epsom Salt soaks will help draw the abcess out. Yes, this wet weather really sucks.
    I highly recommend the boots as well for daily walking him to get the circulation going. The more movement he gets, the quicker the progress.
    Giving his feet a chance to dry out daily is a good idea.

    Once he is further into his new barefoot lifestyle, the wet weather will not bother his feet as much.

    We have been getting soaked here in KY a lot this spring, so I have standing water in my pastures (three pairs of ducks have moved in and are swimming on the puddles) but my guys are doing fine. They will spend several hours under the lean-to where it is pretty dry. Regardless, I have been trail riding on the weekends, and they aren't ouchy on the gravel at all. But they have been barefoot for several years now.

    Hang in there, just make a few adjustments for the weather conditions for now.

    ************************
    \"Horses lend us the wings we lack\"



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan. 5, 2006
    Location
    Atlanta
    Posts
    5,053

    Default

    My barefoot trimmer told me to not overdo conditioning my guy's feet on gravel during his transition. She says it's important to strike a balance between encouraging his feet to toughen and avoiding discomfort for him.

    For that reason she prescribed hoof boots and I have gradually stopped using them for riding (I would take them off every few days, then every other day, then most days, then every day). He was also turned out in them at first, then weaned off of them. Also-- he regressed a little bit this spring when it got really rainy, like your horse. I agree with others who have said that the moisture is softening his feet. But 5 weeks into transition is not a long time. I agree that he needs hoof boots to get him through this weather pattern at this stage.

    My horse is 7 months into the transition and he is happy everywhere (even on quarter down in the arena) except he is careful on the gravel driveway, which has pretty big stones. Since we rarely walk on the driveway I feel OK with this.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    May. 24, 2005
    Location
    close to the Big Apple
    Posts
    3,207

    Default

    I have done the barefoot thing on a flatfooted Tb also. The rain is your worst enemy! It not only softens the hoof and sole it brings all the rocks to the surface. I used boots during our transition and the helped a lot. Have you had x-rays to determine sole depth? If he has thin soles you might want to work on getting thicker doles too.... Checkout the group barefoothorsecare on yahoo they are really good....JMO



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec. 11, 2002
    Location
    US
    Posts
    2,976

    Default

    If there is any way you can keep his feet dry for at least part of the day, that should be helpful. Consider the woody pet bedding as it will really dry the hooves. Iodine and formaldahyde or Keratex should help also.
    Give it a little time. If you find barefoot is just not comfortable for this guy, don't feel bad for putting shoes back on. Sometimes as much as we want everything to be OK barefoot, the horse is just not comfy enough.
    Good Luck!
    I\'m not crazy. I\'m just a little unwell.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec. 11, 2002
    Location
    US
    Posts
    2,976

    Default

    If there is any way you can keep his feet dry for at least part of the day, that should be helpful. Consider the woody pet bedding as it will really dry the hooves. Iodine and formaldahyde or Keratex should help also.
    Give it a little time. If you find barefoot is just not comfortable for this guy, don't feel bad for putting shoes back on. Sometimes as much as we want everything to be OK barefoot, the horse is just not comfy enough.
    Good Luck!
    I\'m not crazy. I\'m just a little unwell.



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb. 13, 2006
    Location
    Boston, MA
    Posts
    861

    Default

    If his feet dry out and he still seems ouchy, or if you're pretty sure that the problem is abscess, another way (that doesn't involve water) to draw an abscess is tar, or ichthammol, which is also tar. They won't exacerbate the wet problem.
    the things that i had not ought to
    i do because i ve gotto
    wotthehell wotthehell



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar. 9, 2004
    Posts
    2,848

    Default

    Thanks for your replies.
    For those of you that recommend boots, are there any that are designed for longterm wear like turnout? My understanding is that most are not meant for turnout, just for short periods.

    It's raining here today AGAIN.... waah



  14. #14
    Join Date
    May. 3, 2006
    Posts
    11,568

    Default

    Not sure why you've decided that barefoot is best for a young competition t/b but I'd be suggesting you need to consult a good equine vet and farrier about this lameness.

    From the posting its highly likely that the horse has bruised or tender soles but best checked out.

    I don't know what sort of competition you do with your t/b but I think if its anything serious that your horse will be very lucky to do it well barefoot.



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar. 10, 2003
    Location
    Massachusetts, USA
    Posts
    3,503

    Default

    Boots .... and walking. Or, walking on tarred surface. Lots of walking. Old Macs have a new design that are good. But, with boot-sucking mud in all this rain isn't helping. Any way to get him out of mud? Couple of horses here are tender on rocks with lots of rain but fine on sand and solid, un-muddy ground and absolutely fine when dry. Of course, the TB is the one who is the worst and as soon as the ground dries up his hooves are fine.

    Think of it like this ... callous' get soft, too, when wet. If there is not sufficient callous build up then the feet are tender. There's been ALOT of wet weather in the last 5 months!! Also, 5 months is not sufficient time to build up the fibrocartiliginous tissue in the DC unless the horse is doing ALOT of moving. Miles a day on good, firm ground. The DC is probably about 50/50 with fatty tissue and with fc tissue at this point. This means that the fat squishes with each step instead of dissipating the concussive force. Once the DC is built up with mostly FC tissue then that will be more resilient and allow for greater protection to the foot from concussive shock. It all takes time and for sure, this stinkin' weather doesn't help one iota!

    Pete Ramey has some great articles here on understanding just what is happening during transitional stages of going from shoes to barefoot: http://www.hoofrehab.com

    Get some boots!
    --Gwen <><
    "Treat others as you want to be treated and be the change you want to see in the world."
    http://www.thepenzancehorse.com



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Aug. 14, 2005
    Location
    Pennsylvania
    Posts
    2,259

    Default

    Some horses really just can't go barefoot. He's a TB bred for speed, not a mustang who has good feet from natural selection. (The ones with bad feet got eaten young.) If he's really ouchy you might want to put his shoes back on, at least in front since he carries most of his weight there.

    I have a welsh pony who will never need shoes and a TB mare who is so thin soled that my farrier thinks we now need to go to pads. I've tried everything on her soles and I feed her a biotin suppliment, bu nothing seems to make a difference. She just has lousy feet.



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul. 6, 2004
    Location
    East Central Mississippi
    Posts
    1,404

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas_1
    Not sure why you've decided that barefoot is best for a young competition t/b but I'd be suggesting you need to consult a good equine vet and farrier about this lameness.

    From the posting its highly likely that the horse has bruised or tender soles but best checked out.

    I don't know what sort of competition you do with your t/b but I think if its anything serious that your horse will be very lucky to do it well barefoot.
    If she consults a 'barefoot farrier' they will suggest options for keeping him barefoot. If she consults a 'shoeing farrier' they will suggest options for shoeing him.

    The vet 'opinion' would be contingent on the same thing.

    There are, I am sure, numerous TB's out there who are competing well barefoot. Some who are not. It isn't always because the one's who are have better feet - maybe it's because the ones who are have owners who are completley dedicated to helping them stay sound barefoot.

    It's sort of like, is your horse going barefoot because he has good feet or does he have good feet because he's going barefoot?? sylvia



  18. #18
    Join Date
    May. 3, 2006
    Posts
    11,568

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by fourh mom

    There are, I am sure, numerous TB's out there who are competing well barefoot. sylvia
    Actually there aren't!

    And I don't understand what you are talking about at all with regard to vet and farrier. A farrier (certainly in the UK) is competent and knowledgeable whether a horse is going to have shoes on or not.

    The majority of my horses are shod - and I've a lot competition horses and t/b's. I do however have some barefoot.



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Jan. 31, 2003
    Posts
    18,472

    Default

    Thomas, I have seen the shoeing work done in Europe and the UK and I have to say that if I could get my horses shod that well I would not be so adamant about mine being barefoot. For a lot of us, barefoot is the better option because the farriery work is so bad.

    I used to live close enough to an absolutely superb farrier and all my horses were shod. I know enough about feet and shoeing to know that all the things the hard core barefoot people say about shoeing and what it does to the foot are not necessarily true. The examples they have been given to base their opinions on have certainly led them to the conclusions they have made, because again, most farriery work here in the USA is atrocious. If all you have to extrapolate from are 30 dead feet with too small shoes on contracted feet you bet you are going to determine that shoeing is detrimental to their feet.

    I am not trying to start the shoeing/no shoeing debate here, just want to help Thomas to understand why so many people here are going barefoot. Thomas, count your blessings, as I did when I had a great farrier. Some days I think the move was not worth it.



  20. #20
    Join Date
    May. 3, 2006
    Posts
    11,568

    Default

    I do indeed know that shoeing is appalling in the USA. I think I said when I've been over there I have to force myself away from what I instincitively always do with a horse.

    Whenever I first see a horse I look at its feet. There it annoys and upsets me so much I try to avoid looking down!

    However I honestly believe that its wrong - absolutely wrong - for folks to trim horses feet when they are not trained and this means the situation continues with no incentive for farriers to properly train.

    You can find them in the USA but regrettably too many folks are botching horses feet !
    Last edited by Thomas_1; Jun. 3, 2006 at 04:30 PM.



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