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New farrier - barefoot horse lame - help?

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  • New farrier - barefoot horse lame - help?

    I'm kind of trying to be private about this, but it is really bugging me...

    My horse is under 10. I've had him 3 years and he's been barefoot the whole time. Never taken a lame step or been injured or sick. We ride every day in the ring or trails and I actively compete him in low level dressage & hunters o fences.

    My farrier retired unexpectedly. It took a while to find another. About 9-10 weeks since last trim. I got another guy who came with glowing recommendations and a very full schedule. I was not there for the first trim. But I noticed he took a lot off of the toe (it was getting long). More than my old guy did. He kind of cut it so it is perpendicular to the ground. I'm no expert so I wouldn't know what to look at. Would pics help...?

    But the next day I took my horse down the paved road 1/4 mile and through fields. He seemed fine. We got back and it felt like he stepped on a rock and stubbed his left-front toe in the drive way. He continued to feel off for a few minutes. So I got off. The next day he was still off in soft footing. Not super off. I could feel him straining his muscles, not going forward, and occasionally sort of going short over that left front. Every 10 or 20 steps he takes a noticeably short one. I can tell something is wrong because I know my horse.

    But what should I think? Should I be concerned? Do something?
    Given the farrier switch and the time it took between trims, should I just accept this as normal? How long should I wait before returning him to serious work?

    He's gone over all kinds of rocky, rough terrain with me for years. He's never taken a bad step. I'm just sort of shocked and am sniffling over my best bud being in pain.

  • #2
    I would call the farrier/trimmer who did the trim and ask him to come take a look. It's his responsibility, and he needs to get to know your horse and what your horse needs in terms of trimming. He needs the feedback from you, and should be open to explaining to you what he thinks is going on and what he will or won't do different next time. Or, if he seems unconcerned or blows you off, then you know maybe someone else is a better choice. My own farrier said once, if a horse was sore from a job she did, she'd feel she didn't do a good job. That said, it's possible your horse is sore independent of the trimming, but since it's never happened before, maybe the trim has something to do with it!

    I think it usually doesn't hurt to soak a sore foot in cool water with Epsom salts, and if it worsens before the farrier can come back out to look, check with your vet. (ETA: it's possible he stumbled from being unfamiliar with the change in his feet, and just landed badly right on a rock - that could bruise his foot. Have you pressed on the frog and heels to see if there's a sore spot?)

    My horses get the squared off toes in their trims (one is shod, one is barefoot). That in itself shouldn't hurt, except maybe it's not right for your particular horse or is too sudden a change from what he had before?

    I'm not a trimmer or farrier, just a horse owner, so I'm sure you'll get some more insightful comments from others.


    • #3
      Originally posted by twofatponies View Post
      Have you pressed on the frog and heels to see if there's a sore spot?)
      I did earlier and didn't see a big reaction. Unless I wasn't pressing hard enough.


      • #4
        I find sometimes when horses go a long time between trims, such as you said your horse did, that they are more likely to be sore post trim. The farrier/trimmer has to make a bigger adjustment to do a correct trim; and anytime that is so, you run more risk of post trim soreness. Now his sole is much closer to the ground than it was and he's more likely to be sensitive than if you had him trimmed at 4 to 5 weeks. Most of my clients horses are on a 5 week cycle this time of the year. We go longer in the winter but with increased hoof growth in the summer, it is best to trim more often.

        It sounds also like he brought the toe back from what you describe which leads to me to wonder if he might have a bit of a long toe, low heel syndrome going on...and yes, being aggressive in a corrective trim like that can definitely cause post trim soreness.

        I would give him a call and let him know what is going on. You could try to put some boots on him for a day or so or some hoof casts to help out. Most likely he will be OK in a few days.


        • #5
          Ditto what DDB said. I warn people when their horse is overdue that the trim is going to be a big difference from what they had, the sole is closer to the ground, and no matter how conservative I am, the horse might be ouchy.

          Still, I appreciate a call if they get sore. And I go out with hoof testers. It's possible there was something brewing in there before the trim, and now it is experiencing more pressure after the trim.
          "Passion without knowledge is a runaway horse."


          • #6
            It makes sense that the late trimming made him sore, but what if there is something else starting to show up?

            If he is clearly lame, why not run him by the vet, just in case?

            We had a horse we thought the farrier trimmed too much and it ended up being a crack in his coffin bone, a little to the side off the middle of the front.


            • #7
              Would pics help...?
              I recognized with despair that I was about to be compelled to buy a horse ~
              Edith Somerville and "Martin Ross"

              "Momma" to Tiempo, Tucker and Puff, RIP my beautiful Norman 8/2012


              • #8
                Originally posted by waj2007 View Post

                felt like he stepped on a rock and stubbed his left-front toe in the drive way.

                But what should I think? Should I be concerned? Do something?
                Given the farrier switch and the time it took between trims, should I just accept this as normal? How long should I wait before returning him to serious work?

                Sounds like you know what the problem is. If your horse didn't get trimmed on time and then he happened to step on a rock and bruise his foot, I'd call it bad luck.
                Eric Russell CJF