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Hoof help - tender feet

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  • Hoof help - tender feet

    My 8 year old gelding is barefoot and my hope is to keep him that way. When I pulled him from the rescue, he was barefoot but his feet were a bit of a mess. I've had him for 3 years and, with the help of an incredible farrier, made some very nice progress at first. After about a year, he decided that it was too far to travel for one horse, so he dropped us (it was understandable). We started using the barn farrier and a lot of the improvements were lost. So, here are the questions. First, would LOVE recommendations for a farrier in the Northern NJ area - Bergen or Passaic counties.

    Second, his problems are two fold. One, he grows practically no heal in the back, he's all toe. Front feet look good. Our first farrier made great headway by trimming his toes down pretty short and forcing his stance more forward, but I was looking for any more thoughts or suggestions.

    And, he's very ouchy over rocks. I'm assuming this is tied to his lack of heal, but he's absolutely sound and comfortable on grass or pavement. He's turned out every day and most nights and shows no discomfort at all - he's on all grass. He does fine on the trails but is very careful to avoid rocks. I know that a new farrier/natural trimmer is my next step, but just wanted to throw it out there to get some more opinions.

  • #2
    Contact you previous farrier (the one who got good results) and see if you can get a referral to someone local in your area.


    • #3
      Is he currently shod or bare?
      Did you try any of the sole hardening products on the market?
      Do you own boots? Can you stay off the rocks?
      Charlie Piccione
      Natural Performance Hoof Care


      • Original Poster

        Thank you for the responses. He is currently barefoot. I have not tried any sole hardening products but have heard good things about Durasole. Have you had positive results with that?

        I can avoid the rocks - or at least minimize them. There are a few areas that he has to take a few steps over them, but it's not bad. He'll walk over them, just gingerly. His entire turnout is grass and he's perfectly comfortable. I only ride once a week so perhaps the best course of action is to purchase boots for our occasional trail ride? Most often I'm in the ring which he also has no issue with.

        My second farrier (not the one I was so fond of) recommended shoes to encourage growth of the heal, but that sounded counter intuitive to me. I'm more than willing to take the slow road (meaning frequent trims over the long term) to get his hooves in better shape, rather than the quick fix of shoes. I'm not opposed to shoes when they are required, but considering the light riding I do, I feel that he's better off barefoot. Thanks again.


        • #5
          He could be thin soled and not related to the heels at all. Has he been hoof tested to see where specifically he is sensitive? If in 3 yrs his sensitivity hasn't improved with the work of the farrier, I don't think your going to see the results you're looking for. I think your options are
          Get a new farrier
          Use Durasole or something like it
          and either put him in shoes or use Mac boots when riding him out on trails

          As much as I wish we could take my horse out of shoes, he's too thin soled to do it. So he's in shoes and full pads to make him comfortable. Wish I didn't have to but I want a sound horse
          "If you've got a horse, you've got a problem"


          • #6
            Originally posted by Rem's world View Post
            . . .Have you had positive results with that?
            Durasole works exactly as advertised and it comes with a money back guarantee. What it won't do is fix a bad trim.

            My second farrier (not the one I was so fond of) recommended shoes to encourage growth of the heal, but that sounded counter intuitive to me.
            Horn grows evenly from the coronary band in the toe and the heel. Though it may look like your horse isn't growing heel, what is actually happening is that the heels are folding under, crushing forward and inward, thus growing more horizontal than vertical. IMO a farrier that doesn't know this probably isn't very observant, educated or skilled.


            • Original Poster

              Thanks again, everyone. I'm going to order Durasole and see how we do with that. ITA that we need a new farrier. I'll try reaching my old farrier for a referral, but please, if anyone has a recommendation, let me know.

              I've never used and am not familiar with boots. Is it safe to try to measure myself and order on the internet or best to have a professional come out to see him?

              Thanks again everyone, the suggestions have been very helpful. And Tom, thank you. The information around his heel growing under is great.


              • #8
                I think your biggest problem is going to be finding a farrier that will take on a one horse account. I know some very good ones in your area - world class. But they wouldn't return your call for a one horse account.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Tom Bloomer View Post
                  I think your biggest problem is going to be finding a farrier that will take on a one horse account. I know some very good ones in your area - world class. But they wouldn't return your call for a one horse account.
                  Rem, would you be able to trailer your horse to a location where one of these world class farriers does other horses? That way, the farrier wouldn't have to make an additional farm call for one horse. Of course it definitely is less complicated to have someone who will come to your barn.


                  • #10
                    I would gets boots if you are only going to be occasionally riding over really rocky ground. If he's not used to it, of course he'll be ouchy! It's like you taking your shoes off, and being fine on your lawn, then having to walk across the gravel driveway. :-)

                    I would suggest a good farrier, check the horses diet (my mares sole hardness has improved A LOT with a change in diet!) and some sole hardener. I have been using Keratex, and it has worked very well. Durasole would work, too.

                    But, if it's only an occasional thing, I wouldn't worry too much about it.
                    "On the back of a horse I felt whole, complete, connected to that vital place in the center of me...and the chaos within me found balance."