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Improving thin soles

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  • Improving thin soles

    Background info: my 23 yo OTTB gelding has never had great feet - not in the "typical" brittle, shelly way, but in other ways. He is somewhat club footed on one front, but the main issue is that he is both thin soled (and flat-soled) and thin walled. He is on turnout about 10 hours a day, and stalled at night. He is semi-retired, with occasional rides in an indoor - I have access to paved roads for "riding out" but I want to solve his hoof issues first. I live in southern ON, and we can go from rock-hard in dry weather, to deep mud (which can turn into frozen chunks in the winter). This past fall and winter have been excessively wet, freezing solid, and then back to mud again.
    Over the past year, my blacksmith has been working with me dealing with occasional abscesses, more frequently in the rf. At his last trimming he uncovered the track from a subsolar abscess that went from near the heel, around the outside edge of the hoof, to near the toe (where he had been able to get it to drain). Although as I mentioned he is thin soled and walls, his feet seem otherwise healthy - his feet don't wear down excessively or grow unevenly. I've done him up for the first time in MagicCushion to see if it helps alleviate some of his soreness also.
    So, now to my question - and Rick, I'm hoping you'll chime in here - I know of you through your reputation on the Cushings forum where I was a member with my little mare in the past.
    I discussed shoeing him, but my blacksmith felt that perhaps his thin walls would have trouble holding a shoe in this footing. Out of all the blacksmiths I used, my current one is a rockstar - when he puts a shoe on, it STAYS on - I trust his skills. On the other hand, I feel that having some clearance from the ground would be beneficial for him. What ideas are there to either improve his sole or for shoeing?
    I'd love some input about good directions for my guy!
    Founder of the I LOFF my worrywart TB clique!
    Official member of the "I Sing Silly Songs to My Animals!" Clique

  • #2
    I had success with casting the foot to let the sole grow out some.
    Pro Slaughter
    Anti Parelli


    • #3
      My horse had thin soles. We tried barefoot for over a year and a half, 2 different trimmers, to no avail. He just needs shoes. We used Soleguard with great success for a few cycles. He is still shod but now has very normal soles and feet and looks fantastic.


      • #4
        My guy did well in three or four cycles of plain steel shoes when his soles were very thin, then he was ok barefoot and has slowly built up thickness, so shoeing *can* help. Don't know about the thin walls though.
        It's a small world -- unless you gotta walk home.


        • #5
          I would start with Durasole.
          McDowell Racing Stables

          Home Away From Home


          • #6
            ^^ +1! Durasole is your [horse's] friend.


            • #7
              Hoof supp and durasole. Glue on shoes if he will keep them on. Or boots if you can find a type that do fit well.

              I have a huge quarter gelding that has sound but crappy foots. Using nail on shoes was great at first. But keeping them on too much a challenge....and at the expense of precious hoof wall. I also have to say over the years a couple different shoers wanted to dress down his hoof wall a little too much. This just made his thin shelly hoof walls weaker. He stays on a high dose of Dumor hoof supp. I tried many and this one works best for him. I rasp rough edges between trims. Durasole when the wet spring compounds his hoof/sole issues and he stays barefoot. He rides great in dirt and sand. For graveled trails I add his boots.

              Last winter was terrible as we had deep wet snow. Temps dropped sharply at night. Several of the wider flatter footed horses went wider and flatter. This year it is warmer and wetter....with alot of mud earlier. Some snow has fallen but for the most part the horses have held great shape and hoof quality. I am sure spring will bring new challenges and he is a work in progress. Meaning I have to manage those crappy hooves of his.


              • #8
                I used the glue on Eponas with some success on a horse like yours...crappy walls, thin soles and chronically sore particularly in the summer with harder ground. I managed to use only 4 nails per shoe using the glue. Unfortunately in our damp climate, the glue alone is not very reliable with the Eponas, so they only stayed put without nails for about 2 weeks. UGH... To make matters worse, the horse has slow growth and is probably Cushings to boot so he's a mess. According to his owner, he had thin walls and lost shoes all of his competitive life as a hunter also so I suspect it is predominantly genetics in his case.

                He was in the Eponas for several cycles until his walls were crumbling so badly, he could not hold nails for much longer. We pulled them and he was a lot better bare at that point. We'd gotten him to Fall and softer footing. I suspect his summer, he'll have to go back into the shoes again.

                His owner tried all the hoof hardeners and boots and nothing else has worked for him. We did cast him a few times, but the casts are not a good long term solution. Too restrictive.

                You could try hoof casts for a few cycles and see if that helps. I have had some success with them in protecting soles and helping horses get used to being bare in comfort.


                • #9
                  I had the same problems with sore soles. I used Venice Turpentine (the basic ingredient in Magic Cushion) to sooth when I think her feet were pounded on, and Durasole. I've really had no problems since starting to use it. I put it on maybe once every week or two, and not nearly with the intensity and carefulness they say to. I just kind of put it on. If you haven't used it, its certainly worth a try, and a way better value than the other products.


                  • #10
                    Frog support/stimulation pads. Amazing results on several horses seen in even just one shoeing. Wish I'd discovered these years ago! Taking the weight off the walls and stimulating the frog increased wall quality and thickness, grew heels, and added concavity that was not previously there.

                    One big young (was 5 when I decided to try this) barefoot horse in particular went from low in the heel big flat platter like thin walled feet, to thick healthy walls, correct heels, and concavity like he never had. He started with thin pringles potato chip like walls that would peel up if there was a bit of flare that had big problems holding shoes. After one shoeing I was so impressed I reset them for round two. He is on shoeing round number 3.

                    I fill the pads with the blue anti thrush Equi-Pak copper sulfate hoof packing (love love love this stuff!) http://www.centaurforge.com/180-cc-E...uctinfo/46122/ which works like a dream to prevent thrush or mealy soles. Wouldn't recommend using the purple silicone packing material http://www.centaurforge.com/Vettec-1...uctinfo/46190/ in moist climates. Traps too much moisture and Ive never liked the quality of the stinky hoof after removing the shoe.


                    • #11
                      How do his feet look... does he have the classic long toe low heel of an OTTB?

                      My old farrier put shoes on my OTTB that stayed on, but he was putting him in shoes a size too small and letting his toes and heels runaway with him.

                      This wet warm muddy winter we've been having sure hasn't helped at all has it?
                      Boyle Heights Kid 1998 16.1h OTTB Dark Bay Gelding
                      Tinner's Way x Sculpture by Hail to Reason
                      "Once you go off track, you never go back!"


                      • #12
                        Three cycles of front shoes with Equibuild and my horse went from paper thin (on xray) to what appears to be bionic soles. I keep on the front shoes, and he's been sound since last July.
                        Mon Ogon (Mo) and Those Wer the Days (Derby)


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by mojo7777 View Post
                          Three cycles of front shoes with Equibuild and my horse went from paper thin (on xray) to what appears to be bionic soles. I keep on the front shoes, and he's been sound since last July.
                          Cool! What do the electromechanical implants look like in an X-Ray?


                          • #14
                            does equibuild require horse b shod?
                            Appy Trails,
                            Kathy, Cadet & CCS Silinde
                            member VADANoVA www.vadanova.org


                            • #15
                              I posted a while back now about an OTTB who went from like a 4 or 5 mm sole depth (basically thick paper) on rads to 14+ or so--I don't have time to get into it now (and can't remember the particulars) but if you want to do a search...

                              Took about 4 months I think??

                              Do you have pics of your horse's hooves?
                              DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by baylady7 View Post
                                does equibuild require horse b shod?
                                Yes, you need shoes, which may be a good idea anyway for a thin soled horse. I was being extra cautious by doing the Equibuild for three cycles. My vet originally suggested one or two cycles, but I was so thrilled by my sound horse after the first couple of weeks post-Equibuild that I had my farrier use it a couple more months for good measure.

                                Tom, ha, I'll let you know if we ever need another xray .
                                Mon Ogon (Mo) and Those Wer the Days (Derby)


                                • #17
                                  I am a big proponent of barefoot, but I had a horse with feet that sound very similar and I found that he really needed shoes from about April-Nov. Your thinking is sound--he really needs to get those flat soles off the ground. I also found that taking off the shoes in the winter was really helpful in getting good hoof form back. But I don't live in Ontario! So I am not sure about keeping him bare if the ground is consistently frozen. Good luck!


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by kcmel View Post
                                    I am a big proponent of barefoot, but I had a horse with feet that sound very similar and I found that he really needed shoes from about April-Nov. Your thinking is sound--he really needs to get those flat soles off the ground. I also found that taking off the shoes in the winter was really helpful in getting good hoof form back. But I don't live in Ontario! So I am not sure about keeping him bare if the ground is consistently frozen. Good luck!
                                    I have a horse that sounds just like yours and what you describe works really well.

                                    I found adding either a diet balancer (I have had good luck with Pennfield All Phase) or Farriers Formula extra strength was really helpful too.
                                    Live in the sunshine.
                                    Swim in the sea.
                                    Drink the wild air.