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Losing a shoe every 3-4 weeks (long)- Went to VEI for lameness, not good

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  • Losing a shoe every 3-4 weeks (long)- Went to VEI for lameness, not good

    I posted this on the farrier forum, but thought I would post here as well because this board gets a lot more traffic.

    I have a horse that I got ~7 months ago (last October), and since then I've had several foot issues with him that I would like to get some advice on. He is a just coming 6 yo, 17.2 h 1/4 draft. When I purchased him, I noticed he was wearing size 3 shoes, seemed to have a lot of heel, and his hind feet were shaped exactly like his front feet. At the PPE, my vet asked the trainer (horse came from several states away several months ago) about his shoeing history and she said that at home he was known for pulling shoes-but she said the last two shoeing cycles and hadn't had a problem.

    My farrier starts with him late October, and explains to me that he was in too small shoes (my farrier put him in 4+, instead of the 3s), his pastern angle too upright, and had too much heel. He also commented that a front hoof (could be both, I have to go look to confirm) had an issue with the medial wall growth-it was growing in or slightly concave instead of straight down- and that they were going to try to attach the shoe in a way to help promote the proper growth direction.

    Here's the issue- he has now been pulling a front shoe between 3 and 4 weeks for the last 4 cycles, and probably 6 out of the last 7 cycles total (he is normally shod every 5 weeks in summer, 6 weeks in winter). He does it in TO I believe by overreaching or similar while playing, etc (he's out 24/7), and it used to be mostly the LF but now he seems to alternate. When he did it a month ago, I wanted the vet to chat with the farrier, but my horse tweaked something in his hind end so the vet wanted to wait until that resolved itself to examine the farrier aspect. He's still not 100% and just did it again. And, now each time he pulls one he's becoming progressively more sore after (where when he first did it he was sound), and his feet are getting more destroyed each time. Shoes have nails and clips (one of the clip sites last time really took out a chunk).

    A few months ago, I did have saddle fit, acu/chiro addressed and everything seemed fine with him regarding those variables. I also tried the bell boots on 24/7 and he's still pulling them.

    My farrier just says that he can't get the breakover he wants until the new angle grows out and that he will keep pulling shoes until then. I can see the new hoof growth, but it looks like there's a long way to go with that. If he keeps doing this until that grows out, I feel like he won't have any hoof left!

    At this point I am at least gettting another opinion out, but it is a difficult thing to switch farriers at my barn b/c of political reasons so if I go that route I need to be very sure that is what is required.

    I will post some pictures after I go out today if that will help. I just wanted to know if this is truly a "must wait until new hoof grows out completely" situation, or if something could really be done.


    I've now got some pics. I apologize that they aren't the best; I was under some time constraints. I think there are some others on my page, so check it out. I also should have a conf. shot taken last fall in the "Moose" folder.
    Last edited by pharmgirl; Jun. 23, 2008, 12:19 PM.

  • #2
    post pix

    we (Cloudy and I ) go thru cycles of throwing shoes, over reaching, etc.
    we use supplements, pad, bar shoes, steel, alum, etc.
    wish I knew the answers, we've done this for 7 yrs. i think it is the georgia climate and soil! all my other horses have been "born in the usa" and Cloudy is european.


    • #3
      Well....how about trimming him and resetting the shoes about every 3 weeks? Seems his growth is dictating when he pulls--so rather than an arbitrary schedule, match HIS schedule. You'll affect change more quickly if you are being more aggressive instead of constantly playing catch up.

      Another question that I have is: why the shoes? I realize sometimes they're necessary...but are they truly necessary for THIS horse in THIS situation?

      Seems to me more damage is being done to that hoof wall when you're tacking nails into it. If he could go barefoot with the foot moving more naturally (expand/contract with movement) he might get right more quickly.

      I started trimming mine every 2-3 weeks and found that I was able to get things perfect in a matter of two months as opposed to constantly fighting flare and such with trims every 4, 6, 8 weeks--which really are just arbitrary numbers. The closer to "perfect" you can keep him all the time, the better luck I think you're going to have.

      Me? Even when I had my mare shod, I had to trim and reset no longer than 4 weeks or the breakover would get too slow (too much toe) and she'd yank her fronts off too.
      A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

      Might be a reason, never an excuse...


      • #4
        First of all, disclaimer: people who read my posts know I am not a 'barefooter'. I have a horse with front shoes, and a horse barefoot.

        If I were you, I would pull those shoes. They aren't doing anything if they came off all the time... and consider every time it comes off, it takes a bit of hoof with it.

        Have you consider hot shoeing? It helps. But at the end, the horse has to be moving somewhat correctly for any shoe to stay on... and you need a good farrier who can trim a hoof to help the shoe stays on. I let go of 4 farriers who could not keep shoes on my horse, who needs shoes.

        BTW, if your horse always pull shoe on one foot, it's usually some sort of injury or misalignment. It's not necessarily that leg. It could be opposite hind or back.


        • #5
          I had the same problem as you have with my horse when he was shod all around. He would pull two shoes in 6 weeks! It helped a lot when we pulled his hind shoes, but still ended up having to do glue-ons in front, which was awful. They were so expensive, and the whole process was incredibly time consuming. In the end, I pulled all of his shoes, and he's doing great. Once the shoes came off, his feet improved markedly.


          • #6
            I would ask my farrier if we could keep the horse barefoot until you get to the new growth area where he thinks he can pull the breakover back.

            I have a horse under my care right now who is looking at a LONG layup because he kept pulling shoes.. resulting in a mega rim bruise, which made him walk on one side of his foot, which led to a quarter crack.

            Sometimes you just need to take them off and get things fixed up so you can put them back on. Correction is often more difficult/takes longer in shoes.
            "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
            The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.


            • #7
              My draft X also pulls her shoes if we don't work on her schedule. She is the first horse I have ever owned that couldn't go 6 or 7 weeks. She has to be done every 4 weeks. If we go 5 weeks, those front shoes get yanked off everytime. When she was barefoot, she also had to be kept on a tight schedule, she would start tripping and chipping at 5 weeks like clockwork.
              Don't toy with the dragon, for you are crunchy and good with ketchup!


              • #8
                I also suggest trying a "not the norm" schedule. For a long time, my horse was on 4 weeks for fronts and 6 weeks for behinds. If you are at a barn where the farrier has a routine weekly visit, its really not a problem.Perhaps you could try doing the hinds at 3 or 4 weeks, and seeing if you can stretch the fronts to five weeks that way?
                CLIPclop Bodyclipping by Morgan
                Serving North GA with high quality clips.
                --> Just Press Start // '99 Oldenburg
                --> Always The Optimist (reg. Simply Stylin) // '02 Thoroughbred


                • Original Poster

                  added some pics

                  I just got some links up for some pictures. There might be some others up there without links (I'm getting tired), so check out the page.

                  I was also thinking at this point he may need glue ons just to give his feet a break from the nails, etc. I'm not sure if barefoot is going to be feasible since we're entering summer (flies, hard ground, stomping, no tail ), but it has crossed my mind. BO was left shaking his head about it today, but also thought either glue ons for a cycle or two, or just simply getting his feet done on a shorter cycle. The farrier comes out weekly, so having the hinds and fronts on two different cycles is very doable.

                  Also, I thought at first it was consistently the LF being pulled off and it made me think some kind of lameness. But, then he just decided to start pulling the RF as well and now seems to like alternating right now.


                  • #10
                    I don't see why he can't get the breakover back. The toe of the shoe is actually sticking out slightly in front of the edge of his hoof on the shod foot. It looks like he could easily set the shoe back 3/4" and probably have an immediate improvement. He's overstepping b/c his toes are so long and out in front that his breakover is too slow to get his front feet out of the way before his hind feet land.

                    His heels look fine, if he whacks the heels off the hoof it will have a lower angle than the pastern (backward curve) and he'll be prone to a soft tissue injury.

                    Third Charm Event Team


                    • Original Poster

                      Thanks everyone! Between you guys, the farrier forum, and my equine vet co-workers, the general consensus is that the toe could definitely be addressed and set the shoe farther back. I don't think his front feet could handle being barefoot at this point- I'd have to wait for some damage to grow out before I could do that to him with this climate. I will be out there in a couple of days with the vet and the farrier, so we'll see what everyone has to say. I think at this point if he doesn't fix something I am switching farriers.

                      ThirdCharm- I do think his heel is much better now, and I don't think he's doing anything else to them anymore. They were much worse when I first got him (I figure it's got to be bad when even I notice it ).


                      • #12
                        My client is having a similar problem. OTTB long toes ,under run heels.tiny feet. Throws a shoe about once every 2 weeks. Everytime he goes on trail. In ring does ok.Farrier trying to address toes but can't do it all at once. Yesterday he lost both shoes..I don't think there is much hoof wall left.With the flies ,and the ground beginning to harden,I don't think pulling the shoes is probably the best idea.i think we may need to try glue ons.I suggested having the vet take a look ,and see what she suggests.This is getting ridiculas.


                        • #13
                          I am not a farrier, so feel free to ignore. I am in Maryland but I don't feel our climate is a problem, especially right now. The ground isn't middle-of-summer rock hard yet. Flies are annoying, but you can just use fly spray & fly leg wraps if really needed.

                          Just curious: is he stalled half or more of each 24 hour period? Or is he turned out 24-7?

                          I'd be really tempted to try a new farrier. Clearly something the farrier is doing isn't working for this horse. I'm not farrier myself, so I am not going to try to label what's wrong in the photos, but my gut says it doesn't look right. Make up some excuse to those who are being nosy... but what's the point of boarding him there if he's always missing a shoe?

                          I'd pull the shoes. The route you're going is to clips, more hoofwall torn when shoes are torn off in 3 weeks, more nail holes,bigger clips, torn again, etc... it's a downward spiral. Can you do something else ? Glue ons, hoof boots, or something ??
                          Veterinarians for Equine Welfare


                          • Original Poster

                            MayS- you're right, it's not so bad here yet. But, I guess I was thinking of how quickly things change around here come summertime, and if he's already got sketchy feet to start off with and the shoes are pulled now...
                            Maybe it's not a correct assumption.

                            Definitely hoof boots and glue ons have come up as possible options. He is out 24/7 with no stall time (well, not unless he pulls a shoe and part of the hoof with it). He lives in a large 70 acre field with a stream, so I'm not sure how feasible hoof boots would be for that situation (I have this vision of them filling up with water when they hang out in the creek, and then his feet never dry off until I take the boots off). However, I am not well versed in hoof boots so would they just be for riding only, or on all the time?


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by MayS View Post
                              I am not a farrier, so feel free to ignore. I am in Maryland but I don't feel our climate is a problem, especially right now.
                              I am in Maryland as well, and my boys have both pulled shoes in the last month. We did have some heavy rain for a few days in a row, which left the ground really wet and muddy. (I am only a few miles from Pharmgirl, so I figure we have the same conditions). Neither of my horses have pulled shoes for several+ months, so this recent wet weather may have contributed. Also my farrier mentioned that with all the rain we have had, and all the new grass arriving with the Spring, that their feet are growing really fast right now and the farrier is having quite a time getting around to all the folks on the shorter shoeing schedules.

                              Pharmgirl - does your farrier really file down the ends of the shoes so they are even with his heal? Fritz was pulling shoes on the same schedule as Moose, until we started filing the ends. This way the rear foot can't get a hold of the front shoe and yank it off.

                              Indicentally, I had the same farrier as you until I moved and this brought about the change to filing the shoes.

                              Just another thought...


                              • Original Poster

                                Thanks OneDaySoon. The thing is, this has been going on since early winter (and basically since I got him and they started working on him), and this month was just like clockwork so I don't think this weather pattern made anything particularly different.

                                I don't think he's filed down the back of the shoes (at least I haven't noticed), but that is a good thought. Here is a pic of the underside of his RF (taken 3 1/2 weeks from his last shoeing). Any thoughts?

                                So, who do you use now? (email me if you don't want to broadcast) I was going to send you an email about it, but forgot to ask when I responded about Fritz (how is he doing, btw?)
                                Last edited by pharmgirl; May. 28, 2008, 10:31 AM. Reason: adding pic link


                                • #17
                                  I'd pull the shoes for a while at least. The horse is already doing that, and especially with clips, he's likely to take a nice chunk of the hoof wall with the shoe. My own horse did that a couple of times, when she was shod, and we tried to build the wall back up with the plastic-y stuff, etc.

                                  In the end that didn't work either, and I pulled the shoes, a couple of hundred dollars poorer.

                                  I ended up never putting the shoes back on again (this was 4 years ago), and I ride her consistently, including trail rides over hard terrain, jumping (2'6"), etc. I don't show much, it's true, but unless you're going to be showing a lot that may not matter. And the other issue is that if the horse keeps pulling shoes, you probably won't be showing anyway.

                                  I'm also not sure why having no shoes in the fly season is more of a problem than having shoes? I'm not a farrier, so the following statement should be taken with a block of salt: A bare foot dissipates concussion over a wider area than a plain shoe (unless you have pads).

                                  Good luck.
                                  "The formula 'Two and two make five' is not without its attractions." --Dostoevsky


                                  • #18
                                    Moose's shoes look OK, but you still may want to ask your farrier to really file down and round the ends. Fritz is also on wedges on the front so there is even more shoe to yank off...hence the filing necessity. It really does work.

                                    My farrier is Cowboy Bob Hardison. He is wonderful and was referred to me by another COTher. However he recently had a bad fall and is slowly returning to work.

                                    I would ask your guys at the barn to give this a try and maybe it will help. It costs nothing and could be a quick fix too. I also like the idea of pulling all his shoes and seeing how he does...sometimes less, is more.


                                    • #19
                                      I see nice, even shoeing. Well placed.

                                      I also see TOO many nails being used. A hoof will expand and contract based on moisture. If you want to see this for yourself, keep a hoof trimming around and watch how small it can curl up to when left to dry. Then, dump it in a bucket of water and watch how it expands.

                                      And, the concussion of walking, trotting, cantering, etc. causes hoof expansion (take a look at the inside surface a shoe sometime that's been on a horse for 6 weeks or so... you may see wearing or rubbing.)

                                      So.. if there are too many nails, the normal movement between hoof and shoe can't happen without stressing the nails/clinches. Plus - some horses grow foot much faster than other horses. As the foot lengthens and grows (typically toe grows faster than heel), it stresses the nails/ clinches and loosens them. Once they are loosened, it doesn't take much for the shoe to follow suit.

                                      I'm not familiar with the type of clip that is used. My farrier pulls it out from the shoe and then folds it over, rather than the indentation that this farrier seems to use.

                                      It also looks, to me, like the horse needs more heel and shorter toe. And, remember that the hoof you are seeing now, was "laid down" (grown) 6 - 12 months ago - quite probably before you purchased the horse. I would ensure the horse's current diet was more than adequate in protein, methionine, lysine, and biotin for future good hoof growth.

                                      If it were my horse, I would remove the shoes for 1 month (so long as the horse was not foot sore on arena /pasture environment) and use Keratex hoof hardener according to package directions. Seal up the old nail / clinch holes. If that meant no trail riding, then that would be unfortunate, but rather fix it now then let the problem escalate to a point where disease is entering through broken horn and having to deal with a worse situation.


                                      • #20
                                        I think that if the horse keeps pulling his shoes - causing more hoof damage - then you should leave them off and try barefoot. Yes - I am a barefooter - but would say that anyway. I looked at your photos. Photo 2 - RF? - I note the growth from the coronary band - (how the hoof wants to grow) and then how the hoof growth veers forward and bulges. Not good. Photo 5 - front shots - to me the hooves look too long.
                                        I would definitely pull the shoes and trim regularly to encourage proper growth - ie backing up toes and lowering and/or backing up heel for starters - to get the hooves "back under the horse" where they should be.
                                        You are worried about chipping etc due to fly season and rough ground etc.
                                        This will be a process but if the trim is correct and the hooves respond as they should - if hooves not allowed to get too long - and walls bevelled/rolled - you will reduce the chances of chipping/splitting - and once hoof like it should be - have virtually no chipping at all. Again this is a process. Back to your concerns if the hooves can handle the summer. I read somewhere - wish I could get the person credit - that "hooves should be challenged and not coddled". Meaning, obviously, the more you "baby" them the weaker they become. Flip side - the more they are challenged the stronger they become.
                                        I would opt for some rehab now - strengthen those hooves - for a sounder horse for the future. Obviously don't let the sole be pared out. For riding you canuse boots - if you need them. For turn-out - see how he does. Encourage movement. His soles must toughen - they need to be touching the ground - as well frogs, walls, etc.
                                        Do you have x-rays of the hooves?