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Hoof chips and cracks.

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  • Hoof chips and cracks.

    I am tired of dealing with this and am am going to throw it out there to see what advice everyone has. My Morgan mare has never had great feet in the 5 years I have owned her. She is 12 now and when I purchased her her feet were in terrible shape. Heel totally gone and toe left long. It took a long time to get her to some degree of normal hoof shape. Now at my new boarding barn with another new farrier her chips and cracks are at their worst in years. That said the barn owner asked the farrier (not upon my request) to leave her feet a little longer because she was so tender last time. I had told her that being tender was totally normal for her after a trim when she commented that she was tender after the first trim with this farrier. I could usually go 8 weeks easy before needing a trim but it was only 6 weeks before this most recent trim was needed. She already needs a trim 4 weeks after the almost non existent trim that was done.

    So first issue is barn owner deciding to tell farrier something I did not request. I have left farrier a note each of the two times he has trimmed her with instruction, instructions basically said nothing special just a trim has had a history of being left long in the toe so please don't do that. I hate to not be there when the farrier is out but I work and there is no way I can be there at 10am on a Wednesday or whenever he comes out. That is why I pay for full care board so vet and farrier always has someone there to help if needed. Second is her feet in general they are just not wonderful. They are kind of wide, they wear unevenly on the inside fronts, her heel doesn't grow much and she is prone to cracks and chips if she gets much length. Third issue is her allergies/bug sensitivities. She stomps more than the other horses when outside and I know that doesn't do good things for her hooves. She is on hydroxizine to help reduce her inflammatory response but that doesn't keep them off her. She has an allergic hive reaction to normal fly sprays so she is now getting a natural fly spray so there is only so much I can do about the flies landing. I am told that she supposedly gets turned out in the evening but anytime I have shown up to the barn between 7 and 9 pm she has yet to be out...and I have left as late as 10:30 and no one has stopped by to turn her out overnight. So how much turnout she is actually getting is questionable but since she is sometimes covered in mud and has a new scratch or two from rolling on a rock or stick. I know she goes out at least sometimes but is supposed to go out in an almost dry lot with the IR horses because she is such an easy keeper.

    I have had shoes on her once for a short period of time but am always on the fence about shoes because my riding is sometimes inconsistent and the extra cost is a factor for me. She is a super easy keeper that gets minimal grain and if she gains much weight she can end up lame for a week or more after a trim. Her first few trims when she was super heavy when I first got her were so bad the vet said if she didn't lose weight I would have to use a thyroid supplement to get some weight off or she would continue to be lame. I have unfortunately had to change farriers multiple times due to moving barns, farriers not showing up when they were supposed to, not wanting to come out for one horse because everyone else was using other farrier, etc. But really it shouldn't be hard to do a decent trim on my easy going mare.

    So would you put shoes on? Try a hoof supplement knowing that extra calories are a bad thing for her? Put something like keratex or rain maker on her feet consistently? Try a different farrier?

  • #2
    Certainly not an expert, but have you checked if she has something metabolic going on such as insulin resistance?
    http://thepitchforkchronicles.com

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    • Original Poster

      #3
      Originally posted by mkevent View Post
      Certainly not an expert, but have you checked if she has something metabolic going on such as insulin resistance?
      I haven't yet but my vet has never suggested to do so. She has lost quite a bit of weight since I got her and if I can consistently work her she does lose even more. I am very diligent about telling the barn to cut back her hay if she starts to get a bit cresty since they only feed one kind of higher quality hay.

      Comment


      • #4
        Overall I think you need more hands on attention to your horse. I realize you are in full board and this isn't really practical, but I think there is no substitute for an owner who is involved. Otherwise no one really is. You get decent care from the barn but not.thoughtful care.

        First I personally can't imagine using a farrier or a vet that I didn't know, supervise, and have an ongoing relationship with.

        Yes feet chip when they are too long. But if they are trimmed as short as needed horse can be tender. One solution is to get your own rasp and keep the feet trimmed a little between trims.

        Also make sure your farrier understands barefoot trims.

        Protien based supplements and farriers formula product can help if the hoof problems are due to nutritional deficiencies and they do not add significant calories to the diet. However it does take almost a year for new hoof wall to grow put to the ground so you need to stick with it.

        You can buy hoof boots for riding at the cost of one set of shoes.

        As far as whether your horse is getting the care you pay for including turnout you will need to discuss that with the BM. It is common enough for barns to skimp on tasks or care that are not being actively monitored by owners. I can see night turnout being one of them.

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        • #5
          Yes, I think consistent Keratex application would definitely help.
          "I am still under the impression there is nothing alive quite so beautiful
          as a thoroughbred horse."

          -JOHN GALSWORTHY

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          • #6
            Personally, I've not found it to be "normal" for a barefoot horse to be sore after a trim regularly. Not that it should have been your BO's decision, as it's your horse, but I'd have also had the farrier leave a horse a bit longer if they were sore after the last trim. If the horse's feet are that bad, I'd put shoes on. Or have them trimmed every 4 weeks.
            Turpentine has made drastic improvements on the chipping of my mare's feet.
            "The best of any breed is the thoroughbred horse..." - GHM

            www.mmeqcenter.com

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            • #7
              Good old traditional Turpentine.

              Comment


              • #8
                First, 8 weeks is too long to go between trims. It is not fair to have your horse trimmed painfully short so that you can stretch out her trims. A horse that wants to get long toe/underrun heel is going to need frequent trims to keep feet in shape - my horse like that gets trimmed every 4-5 weeks, depending on time of year.

                Second, if your horse is sore after every trim then you either need a new farrier or your horse needs shoes. No horse should be painful for a week after each trim. Not fair.

                Yes, Keratex would probably be helpful as regards the chipping,

                I use Farrier's Formula DS on my easy keeper with crappy feet and I have seen no weight gain from the supplement,

                i agree you you need a serious discussion with your barn owner about how your horse is being managed.

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Originally posted by Scribbler View Post
                  Overall I think you need more hands on attention to your horse. I realize you are in full board and this isn't really practical, but I think there is no substitute for an owner who is involved. Otherwise no one really is. You get decent care from the barn but not.thoughtful care.

                  First I personally can't imagine using a farrier or a vet that I didn't know, supervise, and have an ongoing relationship with.

                  Yes feet chip when they are too long. But if they are trimmed as short as needed horse can be tender. One solution is to get your own rasp and keep the feet trimmed a little between trims.

                  Also make sure your farrier understands barefoot trims.

                  Protien based supplements and farriers formula product can help if the hoof problems are due to nutritional deficiencies and they do not add significant calories to the diet. However it does take almost a year for new hoof wall to grow put to the ground so you need to stick with it.

                  You can buy hoof boots for riding at the cost of one set of shoes.

                  As far as whether your horse is getting the care you pay for including turnout you will need to discuss that with the BM. It is common enough for barns to skimp on tasks or care that are not being actively monitored by owners. I can see night turnout being one of them.
                  My vet is awesome and I can't imagine using anyone else. The farriers that all go to that barn are new to me and based on the work I have seen and the recommendation of the BO I went with this one to start. His other barefoot trims I have seen look good. My old farrier came from such a distance that coming out for 1 horse wouldn't be doable. I have never needed a trim any sooner than 6 weeks in the summer and it's not uncommon for 12 weeks in the winter.

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Originally posted by stb View Post
                    First, 8 weeks is too long to go between trims. It is not fair to have your horse trimmed painfully short so that you can stretch out her trims. A horse that wants to get long toe/underrun heel is going to need frequent trims to keep feet in shape - my horse like that gets trimmed every 4-5 weeks, depending on time of year.

                    Second, if your horse is sore after every trim then you either need a new farrier or your horse needs shoes. No horse should be painful for a week after each trim. Not fair.

                    Yes, Keratex would probably be helpful as regards the chipping,

                    I use Farrier's Formula DS on my easy keeper with crappy feet and I have seen no weight gain from the supplement,

                    i agree you you need a serious discussion with your barn owner about how your horse is being managed.
                    Her trims in the past have usually take little off at 8 weeks and that was on nice pasture half of the day with a grazing muzzle. She gets flaring around the sides and some uneven wear because she does paddle but there is not enough there for me to feel like I am being cruel for waiting 8 weeks. She is only sore after trims on gravel and I suspect that has to due to flat soles and maybe even thin soles. I have tried keratex rotationally with turpentine for a month at a previous barn and little difference was seen but then she was moved to current larger barn that has little time for those little things. Farriers formula would be my first choice but I wasn't sure if it was bad for easy keepers because the 5 horses I personally knew on it were super fat.

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Originally posted by MCF1991 View Post
                      Good old traditional Turpentine.
                      I was cautioned not to use it too much because it could dry her feet out?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I don't know about drying of the feet, but it makes their hooves stronger and less susceptible to cracking.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          If you've got flares and thin soles you have hoof distortion that is not being dealt with effectively. Again - you are not going to correct a distorted hoof with an 8 week trim schedule. Also, if your horse is consistently sore after every trim - even if only on gravel - then either the trim is too short or unbalanced or your horse is one that is just not comfortable without shoes. One of my horses just can't get comfortable barefoot, so he wears shoes and pads on his fronts to keep him comfortable. He looks fine out in the pasture but on gravel or hard surfaces he minces a bit. Shoes make a world of difference for him. Your horse may be the same.

                          You are certainly free to keep your horse on your 8 week schedule. That is totally your decision. Good luck to you and your horse. I hope she can get comfortable.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            It is not normal for a horse to be sore consistently after every trim. Either there's something metabolic going on, or she needs shoes, or there is something wrong with the trim, or any combination of those things. That the foot needs to be trimmed so infrequently makes me lean towards the first two factors, although that could also be an indication of needing better nutrition to support hoof growth. Temporary soreness without correlating to the time of trim could be due to wet/dry cycle or other factor that may be helped by the topical hardeners, and chipping due to stomping could also be possibly helped by the topicals. A horse's foot should be dry. Any topical oils that I use are for the purpose of repelling water or if they have antibacterial/antifungal properties and not to moisturize the hoof.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by mmeqcenter View Post
                              Personally, I've not found it to be "normal" for a barefoot horse to be sore after a trim regularly. Not that it should have been your BO's decision, as it's your horse, but I'd have also had the farrier leave a horse a bit longer if they were sore after the last trim. If the horse's feet are that bad, I'd put shoes on. Or have them trimmed every 4 weeks..
                              Yep.

                              The fact that it's normal for her to be tender after every trim, is not normal. Something is not right. Either you've never had a competent farrier, or her feet are really not able to stand up to life without shoes, or there's something metabolic going on.

                              There ARE ways to leave a bit more wall height if that's what alleviates the tenderness issue, but that also means trims need to be a bit more frequent.

                              8 weeks is not too long just because it's 8 weeks. It's just too long for some horses, and it sounds like it's too long for this mare.

                              She has "no heel" because it's not being trimmed (properly) and is continuing to crush as it grows, and will never, ever self-correct no matter how much the toes are brought back.

                              I'd wager the toes are really not where they belong either.

                              Can you post some pictures? How you take them is important:
                              http://www.all-natural-horse-care.co...of-photos.html

                              it may be time for a set of xrays, even if just a lateral view of each front foot, to see what the alignment is like (thought picture as above may make it clear) and how thick the sole is, as well as if there are any changes to the bones which might make a fresh trim irritating even if it is a correct trim (think low ringbone), and then a little growth might put the bony column out of "proper" alignment enough to then be comfortable again.

                              ______________________________
                              The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                OP, if you have to "instruct" your farrier on how to trim your horse, you need a new farrier. It's OK to give your farrier general information about the horse's use, health, and history, but you should not have to specifically have to give him or her instructions.

                                A horse should not be sore after a routine trim. 8 weeks is not too long IF you get a good trim. It's summer, and your horse is constantly stomping at flies and in work. You might need to spend the extra money for shoes, or put her in boots.
                                "When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in a confederatcy against him."

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  On shelly, cracky hooves, maybe with flares here and there, after your vet x-rays and examines your horse and there is no other going on, do try about 3-4 shoeings, to get some straight, controlled growth and then see what you have there.
                                  Especially on the fronts, that seem to be the most affected, as horses tend to carry 2/3 of their weight there much of the time.

                                  Her feet may be a little more whole then, cracking flares gone, you may want to keep shoes on for a couple more times, or try again without, on a light trim and see where you are.
                                  Shoes can protect a hoof while it is growing strong, once there they may not be needed any more if the horse is not ridden much or managed where foot care is inconsistent.

                                  I would also check that the protein sources your feed has are complete, so her hooves have the best nutrition possible to grow like they should.

                                  To straighten hooves takes lots of detective work to see what works for each horses and time to see where you are going as they grow out.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    How often a horse needs trimming is influenced both by how fast the hoof grows, and how fast the hoof wears down.

                                    You have moved barns and changed footing and feed. If your old farrier went 8 weeks between trims and your new farrier is giving trims that only "last" 4 weeks, that's not necessarily a problem with the trim job. If the footing is softer or the horse has better nutrition, 4 weeks is a very reasonable time to start seeing new growth.

                                    The speed of hoof growth is influenced by metabolism, hoof conformation, and nutrition. If you feed a hoof supplement that is doing its job, the hoof will grow faster. The key ingredients in hoof supplements are the limiting amino acids that allow the horse to use all the partial proteins in its vegetarian diet, so you could do a little research and feed amino acids like lysine from a bulk supplier. Alfalfa is also a good source of protein for horses.

                                    If the hoof capsule is distorted, then the growth will not be healthy, if the heels are under run or the walls are flaring, etc. This is a mechanical issue, though it can also be influenced by metabolic problems.It will cause the hoof to injure itself more as it grows.

                                    Hoof wear is entirely dependent on the footing the horse lives on and is worked on.

                                    If the pasture, paddock, or arena are gravelly or sandy, the horse will wear its feet down more than if the pasture is grassy and the paddock and arena are wood fibre (common in the PNW). If the pasture or paddock are gravel/sand, the horse will get more adapted to harder footing than if it is kept on hog fuel, ridden in a hogfuel arena, and then taken out on sand or gravel sporadically.

                                    Last summer I was able to ride my horse barefoot on sand/gravel with no boots, and we went ten weeks between trims. Her feet were not too long and they did not chip or crack, but they did wear unevenly and she needed some rebalancing rather than trimming all over. This summer she has wanted boots on her fronts, and on her hinds until recently. This is because we had to correct some imbalance issues she created for herself last summer by going so long between trims.

                                    Since she is wearing boots, her hooves aren't wearing naturally and at 3 weeks I need to rasp lightly on her front hooves to fit the hoof boots. I just bevel the edges of the hooves, doing a little each day. I would say my horse has average good hoof growth, growing out her whole foot in about ten months or so, faster in summer than in winter. A horse growing at an average good rate will show hoof growth at 4 weeks, for sure.

                                    So it's a real balancing act, so to speak. If the foot is left a bit longer the horse is more comfortable, and can be allowed to wear its feet down naturally (which is good). But if the foot then gets some imbalances that require a tighter trim to fix, then the horse will be tender on the kinds of footing that are best for wearing the feet down naturally.

                                    The solution here is boots and your own rasp. If the farrier needs to take back the toe or resection the quarters a little to deal with flare, put boots on for riding. If the hoof starts to outgrow the boot, start using the rasp a little bit every day at two weeks.

                                    I agree that a horse should not be routinely sore on the footing it needs to work and live on, after trims. It is false economy to trim super short so that the trim "lasts" if the horse is sore for a week out of every trim cycle. Sore hooves impact how the horse carries itself and can cause misbehavior under saddle. The only excuse for any tenderness is if the farrier is deliberately doing something remedial, and even that should be done gradually if at all possible.

                                    Ride in boots if your horse is not fully comfortable on whatever footing your work on. IMHO boots are pretty much a required addition to having a barefoot horse, unless you horse is fully adapted to all the footing your ride on. Most horses kept in stables aren't. .

                                    I am more worried about the OP describing chronic problems in the shape and growth of the hooves. With hooves like that, you are fighting an uphill battle to keep the horse sound. What work is the current farrier doing to help the hooves remodel themselves to a more correct shape?

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