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worn down feet?

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  • worn down feet?

    I had some posts a little while back about my thoroughbred and his barefeet issues.
    I put front shoes on him the middle of march because he was uncomfortable and I wanted to do more than he could handle. And the boot situation wasn't that well planned out and wasn't working as well as I'd like.
    I haven't entirely given up on barefoot- I will try again with a better plan next time, possibly this summer.

    BUT today I saw the farrier and I asked him how my horses feet were when he put the fronts back on etc. And he said that his feet were very worn down, actually he called them 'nubs'. And the horse was tender, he is much happier w/ the fronts on.
    But my question is, how much does a hoof wear down? Barefoot horses are supposed to be short- but the sole is compact? And is wearing and sanding away at the hoof/sole a problem with barefoot horses?
    My other 2 horses have feet that still grow like crazy even barefoot and ridden, but my TB's feet were getting shroter and shorter. Thanks

  • #2
    Maybe he's just one of those horses whose feet don't grow as fast as others?

    Comment


    • #3
      TB's in general were not bred to have great feet and many have thin soles anyway, even with shoes. It's good to try barefoot, but please recognize that it might not work for some individuals.

      There are things to help harden the sole - like Venice Turpentine and Keratex. There is also something called "hoof armor" (google that term) that was very successfully used during the Santa Fe multi-day endurance race that appears to keep the sole from wearing away. But if your horse has thin soles (as many TBs and some other horses do) those preps may not address his issues.

      If you can find boots that work on his feet, that could be a real alternative to nailed on shoes. But if they don't fit or don't work - it's not much help. I have been following the Easyboot folks on FB, they seem pretty helpful and will work with you on an individual basis, so they may have some ways to help you.

      I am not currently riding enough to worry about wearing off feet - too many horses, too many chores and not enough trails. Mine are all barefoot with 6 week trims by a "natural trimmer" who seems to be doing a good job. I used to do CTRs and tons of conditioning in California, but that was before there were so many hoof protection options - and back then I used shoes. So I can only report what I've read about as options for you to check out.

      Good luck!

      Comment


      • #4
        They are all different. Some have iron hooves that wear enough. Some have hooves of almost iron that wear a little too much.

        In sandy areas you may well wear off too much foot. Shoes or hoofboots would then be a necessity. I'm actually adding hinds on my TWH next round as I'm riding him so much, he's not got as much hind as I'd like to see, and I want to see how it helps his perception of traction. He worries on canter circles, maybe a shoe will help his confidence.

        I think if you ride a great deal, hoofboots or shoes are going to be necessary to protect the feet and avoid soreness. My version of 'riding a great deal' means shoes or boots.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by katarine View Post
          They are all different. Some have iron hooves that wear enough. Some have hooves of almost iron that wear a little too much.

          In sandy areas you may well wear off too much foot. Shoes or hoofboots would then be a necessity. I'm actually adding hinds on my TWH next round as I'm riding him so much, he's not got as much hind as I'd like to see, and I want to see how it helps his perception of traction. He worries on canter circles, maybe a shoe will help his confidence.

          I think if you ride a great deal, hoofboots or shoes are going to be necessary to protect the feet and avoid soreness. My version of 'riding a great deal' means shoes or boots.
          Ditto-
          If I am conditioning (and I drive, so we can go miles and miles on gravel roads at a strong trot), the gravel just wears hoof like sandpaper. Iron hooves, weak hooves -they all wear with true work and a sand paper type surface. I LOVE barefoot -it is a pain to shoe my horses. BUT if they are truly under work and out on road surfaces or gravel surfaces, hooves wear down.

          To say otherwise is propaganda by the barefoot crowd... or maybe, they haven't ever really conditioned up a horse (ok, that was mean -I apologize).
          Luistano Stallion standing for 2013: Wolverine UVF
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8IZPHDzgX3s

          Comment


          • #6
            My farrier and I had a discussion about the whole natural-as-inspired-by-mustangs movement. He had two observations:
            1) A mustang chooses the surfaces it walks on and how much exercise it gets. A domestic horse doesn't.
            2) A mustang with crappy feet starves or gets eaten by a predator. A domestic horse with crappy feet can wear shoes and/or retire to the pasture or the breeding shed.

            Since your horse wasn't bred in the wild and isn't living in natural conditions now, it seems reasonable to take whatever steps are necessary to keep it comfortable in its current lifestyle.

            Comment


            • #7
              I'd listen to your farrier.

              An abrasive surface can absolutely overwear the hoof without protection. I've owned several TB's and trim quite a few more. They seem to have softer walls than many other breeds. There are exceptions and I do come across some very good-footed TB's. But in general, their feet are soft in comparison to some other breeds.

              I'm thinking this contributes to wearing. If they are easy to rasp, they'll wear away easily on an abrasive surface.

              I always ride my OTTB's with boots on their front feet. One also needed boots on his hinds. They do not move as confidently without hoof protection, and I am not about to risk bruising of the sole or pedal osteitis over an ideal.

              I also trim horses with very hard hoof walls, to the point where I can barely close my nippers. I've noticed that certain breeds in particular seem to have these extra hard walls. Again, individuals vary.

              Note: Getting advice from the internet is useful in that it expands your learning and gives you new ideas. However, none of us are there seeing your horse, noting how comfortably he moves or how his hooves wear. Your farrier is there and after a couple of trims/shoeings is very familiar with his feet. So weigh the opinions carefully while keeping that in mind.
              "Passion without knowledge is a runaway horse."

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Cielo Azure View Post
                Ditto-
                If I am conditioning (and I drive, so we can go miles and miles on gravel roads at a strong trot), the gravel just wears hoof like sandpaper. Iron hooves, weak hooves -they all wear with true work and a sand paper type surface. I LOVE barefoot -it is a pain to shoe my horses. BUT if they are truly under work and out on road surfaces or gravel surfaces, hooves wear down.

                To say otherwise is propaganda by the barefoot crowd... or maybe, they haven't ever really conditioned up a horse (ok, that was mean -I apologize).
                Well, I think some horses with proper maintenance can do it. I personally have a horse who is endurance fit and barefoot, never had shoes or boots on in his life, and his feet hold up over our granite sand, lava rocks, and gravel and paved roads. But, I do think he's an exception rather than a rule. Most horses will require some sort of protection when traveling many miles over abrasive surfaces, especially at speed. Whether that's shoes or boots should be determined by the individual circumstances.

                I just like to brag about my pony's great feet.
                exploring the relationship between horse and human

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Thanks everyone. I was just thinking about it because it is very common to hear people say use boots when transitioning- but after they are 'transitioned' does that mean that their feet get harder, or if you ride a lot they begin to wear down and get less comfortable.

                  My horse now is ok with just fronts on. He would probably like hind but I'm going to turn him out in 3 weeks and I can't afford to just have shoes on for that time. I'll just do light riding in the rubber ring.

                  But thanks for the input. I think the next time I start him up again with barefoot in mind, I am going to get a set of 4 gloves with pads and see if that's a better strategy.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I have a horse and a mule that have great feet and don't need shoes to be sound and happy. I have another horse who must be shod on his fronts or he is in agony. Some horses just can't go barefoot.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      As Matryoshka's experience goes, so does mine. Some horses have soft feet that make your rasps and nippers work overtime trimming. Others have feet that trim like cheese under the knife.

                      You can't transition a horse out of it's DNA.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Cielo Azure View Post
                        I LOVE barefoot -it is a pain to shoe my horses.
                        How so?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Of all the horses I trim, I've run across a few that had soft feet that wore away to nothing very quickly and needed constant protection in the form of boots or shoes. In both those cases, the horses were living and working on abrasive surfaces (rough cut sand, limestone screenings, and gravel) and there was too much moisture in the environment. Those two things together were bad news for those horses. Aldo their diets were not suiting all their needs.

                          Without knowing ALL the details of the entire situation there is no way to say for sure if your horse will just always have soft feet that wear down to nubs. Perhaps a change in environment would help, and maybe it won't. Sometimes adding a really great hoof and joint supplement that provides ample amounts of MSM, lysine, E, copper, zinc, etc. works miracles on feet. Sometimes the effect is negligible.

                          I've also seen (and owned) horses who had these kind of feet to the point where shoes wouldn't even work. They constantly chipped and broke out until there was nothing left to nail to.

                          When horses are having major hoof issues like this, always look to the diet and environment first. Do absolutely everything you can do to support them, and then see what you've got. If you're doing everything you can do in terms of diet, environment, and trim, and you STILL have all these issues, then you can chock it up to genetics and just "do what you gotta do." But I see SO many hooves improve when owners seriously take a look at diet. Good hay and a handful of grain is often NOT enough for horses like this.

                          There's a gelding who had awful feet and the owner wanted to find a farrier to shoe him since I don't shoe. His feet were extremely short, sore, chipped and broken, with layers peeled off halfway up to the coronary band. Every time I went out to trim her horses, I told her that she really needed to analyze this horse's diet and environment and see what could be changed. She ended up selling the horse. I still trim him at his new home, and guess what - his feet are beautiful. All those issues are resolved. The horse is still barefoot. Never had shoes on. But the diet and environment are completely different. It's actually been a really cool study for me - just to see how much these things can affect horses.

                          Just to ward off any trainwrecks - I am NOT suggesting that all horses can live happily barefoot. There are those that cannot. I'm only giving you ideas on other things to look into to see if you can support the horse further.
                          Last edited by Auventera Two; Apr. 12, 2010, 10:43 AM. Reason: spelling

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