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Horse with heel problem

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  • Horse with heel problem

    What would you do with a horse that has had a bad heel problem, and has off and on soundness issues. If shod properly he can maintain soundness and jumping great till hoof starts to grow then comes up lame till you reshoe him then sound again. So its an every couple months issue. Do you pull his shoes and let him lay up a year to see if mother nature can heal him, do you sell him? And if you sell him would anyone buy a horse that needs to be shod every 4 weeks to maintain soundeness in one hoof? Aside from that problem hes an awesome horse.Awesome jumper,no other problems except the one hoof. Our farrier is awesome and can keep him sound, but every month he has to shoe him to make him sound. He only wears a simple bar shoe and has his heel floated and hes sound.
    A family of not unlimited income, so we just cant afford to keep up with the expenses of his constant shoeing.
    What to do???

  • #2
    If I read your post correctly, you seem to be shoeing the horse every couple months? I would say this is your problem. Many horses (mine included) are on a 4-5 week schedule, this is not out of the norm. Put him on a monthly farrier schedule and see if that doesn't help. You could also try pour-in pads on his front feet. And while I respect that you like your farrier, if you're having foot issues and they're not getting better, you may want to try a new farrier.

    Just re-read your post. If you can't afford to shoe him monthly, you may want to consider selling him and buying a horse that requires less maintenance.

    Comment


    • #3
      Do you know what his heel problem is? is it a navicular type issue? Under run heels? Something with the coffin bone?

      If the horse really only needs frequent shoeing, you might find someone who will accept that trade off in exchange for paying less for the horse.

      Without knowing the issue it is hard to tell if time off will resolve it, but I would be sceptical...and if you do end up selling him that year off will be suspicious to potential buyers.
      Freeing worms from cans everywhere!

      Comment


      • #4
        No, we shoe him every 3-4 weeks, but its about every other month that he'll have issue. Soon as he gets reshod hes fine.
        His one hoof does grow long toe and low heel, this wasnt detected by a a former farrier and he kept his shoe on too long a couple times and crushed his heel. He was always finebefore this particular farrier as long as he was shod correctly and on a regular 5-6 week schedule. But after the damage to the heel, it became almost impossible for a time to keep him sound. Switched farriers, did expensive digital xrays, etc etc. New farrier simply shoe him at the proper angle and floated his shoe so his heel didnt' have any pressure and hes fine. He stayed sound most of the winter through quite a few shoeings, but now his feet have really started growing and as soon as his heel starts to grow and feels any pressure he comes up lame and farrier has to reshoe him. He can be kept sound except for the 1-2 day lameness when its time to reshoe. Question is what would you do? Pull his shoes and turn him out to let mother nature take care of it instead of spending the bottomless pit it seems to keep shoeing him every 3-4 weeks and dealing with the lameness issue all the time? Can you sell a horse like this?
        Yes he has had pour in pads etc. they all work great but every other shoeing you have to change it up. Shoe with pad, then bar shoe no pad etc. I have one of the top farriers and unfortunately he is sooooo expensive, but works magic. Problem is we are going in over our headto keep him maintained like this. Vet says he cant say 100% if turnign him out for a year will fix it or not. Aside from "managing" him thats all that can be done. He is only 10, great jumper, great horse. Sucks that he has this one problem. Just dont know what to do with him.

        Comment


        • #5
          Honestly, I'd take his shoes off and let the hoof start to grow correctly again. I'm not a barefoot disciple but I certainly believe that corrective shoeing is palliative care.

          The big thing after taking the shoes off would be to continue trimming as often as every 3 weeks if needed to get the feet in perfect balance and slowly eradicate any issues. Do some reading on Bob Bowker perhaps.

          I would not let anyone perform a "Strasser" style trim on my horses. My trimmer trained with these guys... www.barehoofcare.com and has so far completely removed the symptoms from a horse of mine who had navicular issues, fixed a young TB of mine who arrived post low-grade laminitis, with all four feet crooked and out of balance (his feet now look perfect and he is sounder than ever), and has worked some miracles on several horses suffering soundness issues associated with long toe low heel syndrome - it takes a while to correct, but the relief is obvious from the word go.

          The most important thing is reducing toe length. You might not be able to fix everything straight away, but that you can do and it is much easier without shoes than with!

          If you want to turn the horse out while he is being fixed then you can do, but chances are you could probably keep him in work, and in fact - regular work on appropriate surfaces will stimulate new hoof growth and make the process happen faster. If they are a bit tender while adjusting, then use hoof boots...I've only ever needed to use them in front for a little while but normally don't bother.


          I don't think shoes are the devil, the guy who runs the course mentioned here in Aus was a farrier first, and still does a damn good job of shoeing for the clients who don't want to go down the barefoot road. I've just seen the benefits first hand so many times now, and where previously if a horse had soundness problems, I would have tried corrective shoeing...now my reaction is to take the shoes off and try to grow a healthy, balanced foot.

          If you have an understanding farrier who is willing to just trim, talk to them about how to trim the hoof and brainstorm a way forward together - I previously used a very traditional farrier and after having a horse come home from a training holiday with shocking feet/shoes, we took them off and started from scratch. He was able to listen to my concerns and balance the hoof accordingly. The farrier to avoid is the one who thinks that they only have to do a half hearted job because it is "just a trim" - the trim is as important as any shoe.
          ...

          Comment


          • #6
            What did the xrays and such show? It sounds odd to me that you have to "change things up". Wondering if the root of the issue hasn't really been addressed. perhaps time to get in a second opinion?
            Freeing worms from cans everywhere!

            Comment


            • #7
              Without having a diagnosis for why he's going lame it's hard to suggest a course of action. Ideally you would have x-rays, ultrasound and maybe even an MRI to identify the problem.... however that would be expensive. You could continue on as you are, but it sounds like that isn't really working for you. You could pull his shoes throw him out and hope he gets better, but that leaves you paying board on a horse that you aren't riding, or you could possibly pull his shoes and try to ride him barefoot. Depending on your ability, confidence and tenacity you might be able to get your shoer to teach you how to use a rasp and lengthen the time between professional trims by maintaining his heel angles.

              Comment


              • #8
                From personal experience (maybe not exactly like yours because I have not seen your horse) but I tried "everything" to keep my horses sound over the years then just gave up and said - pull the shoes! I went to classes, studied, read like crazy, on how to trim and manage my horses.. I know it sounds like I am a natural guru type and I suppose I am because "it works". Now I cannot accommodate the philosophy of a big ole pasture but I do believe that would be best... horses need to move. I meet this need a bit by a lot of turn out, pretty large stalls and light trimming during the week.

                On the diet I keep it simple Timothy hay, Vit E and a diet balancer... and the hoof area - barefoot with the "proper" trim.

                Yes, sadly there are different types of trims and the barefoot "mustang" type I have found are the best. (Equinextion web site is one of the best examples of how a horse should be done). And I did have xrays done, a nuclear scan and working with a vet.... and found a way to manage my boys quite well.. (knocking on wood) that may work too I don't know...

                There are sooo many sites and great classes if you want to spend a bit of time researching the hoof thing. Surf the web and type in Barefoot trimming... if you want some really great sites on hooves, let me know and I will copy and paste them on a message.

                One of the big issues with barefoot horses is people want to give up becaues the horse is sore, but the fact is the trim is probably not right or the horse needs time to toughen a sole that has been removed by a bad trim or there is past permanent bone or tissue damage done by shoeing, imbalanced trim or a horses conformation. That's why x rays are a good indicator of what is going on and how to reslove it.

                I wish you luck and I sure hope you find a good way to help your horse.

                Edited to add, you can take photos of your horses feet and send them to some of the web sites and get a better idea if in fact the hooves are the issue...
                Live in the sunshine.
                Swim in the sea.
                Drink the wild air.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Okay to answer some questions...
                  We have had several digital xrays done, their is no signs of navicular or rotating of anything. We have done nerve blocks and have confirmed that all pain comes from the hoof and specifically the heel region, left inside of the right front hoof.
                  Corrective shoeing has helped, but like I said must be managed very very frequently. Vet suggets that it is a tissue problem/injury(resulting from crushed heel that had not been taken care of properly for an extended period of time) He feels that all that can be done is "manage the issue to keep him sound" or take shoes off and give him a year to see what can happen". The only thing we have not done is the MRI, which would show what exactly is wrong but it is way to expensive at this point to do and the vet feels that even if we can see exactly what the issue is that there isnt anything you can do but give it time or manage it thrugh corrective shoeing, so it would kind of be a waste to spend the money on.
                  He has had lots of time when it works really well and doesnt test positive to the heel with the hoof testers, but then every few months it'll grow and vet says gets aggravated and inflamed thus causing the pain. So refloat and reshoe and hes good to go again for a couple weeks, then we do it again.
                  My farrier is amazing, but I just cant keep paying 500 every couple weeks, so is pulling his shoes and turning him out a good option? Has anyone seen this "time off" help? Is he a lost cause at 10yrs of age? Or would someone want him that can afford the every few weeks expensive shoeing.?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    to answer the question you are asking: If the horse is good and safe, you price him correctly and disclose his needs, you should be able to find him a buyer. Many horses need some maintenance or another, so its a matter of trade-off by the buyer.
                    We don't get less brave; we get a bigger sense of self-preservation........

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Um, $500 per shoeing? Wow, you must live in quite an area... OUCH. Another reason to dread the day my *amazing* farrier retires.

                      Yes, turning out with "tincture of time" may be quite a big help - but I think most importantly like several people have advised, a second opinion may be in order.

                      If you have comfortably narrowed the pain down to a specific area, although the bite is painful up front, the MRI for a definitive diagnosis may actually cost you less not only in dollars, but in frustration, time spent, or a retired horse with a career needlessly cut short.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Wow, $500 for a set of shoes!!! Granted I can believe it - I just paid $100 for fronts only, by a good farrier, but no 'top farrier'. Still!! There's no way I could do $500 every 3-4 weeks! Is there any way you can get a good but cheaper farrier in instead? By now you probably know what your horse needs and can evaluate future farriers to see if they are doing it properly. Then maybe have your top farrier in every so often to check up on things. Maybe you can even just be upfront with your current farrier - explain it's difficult to afford the $500/mos to shoe and if he could recommend a student of his or someone else qualified? I think if you tread carefully, it could be an option.

                        I can understand too your not following through with the MRI if it will not change your treatment approach and it sounds like your vet did a pretty thorough diagnosis otherwise and was able to pinpoint the issue to a degree, so I'm not sure a second opinion would bring about anything different, either. I am actually in a very similar position with the aforementioned horse I just had shod upfront - fingers crossed the fronts get - and keep - him sound now. I don't care if he has to be shod upfront the rest of his days (he's 9 this year), he's worth it.

                        Imo I'm not sure anyone can say whether or not a year off would help - especially not knowing and evaluating your horse, and not after your vet even noted he's not sure it would help. So all a person can do is to try it and/or continue to consult professionals over time to see if anyone has anything different to offer and bring to the table as it pertains to your horse, based on their own professional evaluations.

                        I think a lot of people would be okay though with purchasing such a horse - I certainly would (I'm doing it now to an extent, though not at $500/mos). Many horses do require some sort of maintenance and keeping a horse shod every 3-4 weeks might not be a biggie if the horse is solid otherwise.
                        ....horses should be trained in such a way that they not only love their riders, but look forward to the time they are with them.
                        ~ Xenophon, 350 B.C.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Fourmares had the idea that I would try first. Pull the shoes and see if he'll go barefoot, then get the farrier to show you how to do the trim yourself.

                          I'm going through hoof issues with my horse right now as well. Sorry it's happening to you too.
                          Mon Ogon (Mo) and Those Wer the Days (Derby)

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Have you tried the frog support pads? Or Myron pads?

                            I have aa 'heel' horse that does very well in these pads - but, I have to manage his turnout very carefully, as well as other husbandry things. I wouldn't pull my TBs shoes, but I would give him 3months off & see if that helps. Either a 24/7 t/o situation, or a medical paddock - where they are less inclined to run & injure something, but can get some R & R...time does a lot of horses well, and I can't help but think that there might be something within the hoof, visible via MRI, that needs time off to fully heal now that you've improved farriers.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              One of my guys has front feet issues, with a low heel. He didnt hold up well to work and was never lame, but I could tell he wasnt 100% comfortable with his front feet.

                              Tried bar shoes and pads, gave him some relief, but still wasnt 100% even after 6 months of corrective shoeing.

                              Pulled shoes, retired him to a grass field for just over a year. That was 5 years ago, horse has now (knock on wood) never taken a lame step up front and is fine with just good ole' steel shoes.

                              Im a huge advocate for barefoot retirement...your guy may not even need a full year!

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I agree find somepleace affordable and turn him out (if you are looking for a retirement board, temporarily even, we are quite affordable!) and see how it goes. I have done this with horses such as yours, and as long as they are regularly trimmed and toe kept short, they often heal up graet on their own. Sounds like some issues with the DDFT in my opinion and time/no work is really the only thing that may bring him back to soundness. As far as selling such a horse, you would be VERY LUCKY for someone to take him for free. And $500 a shoeing, OMG!!!! Even with everything you are talking about I MIGHT would be paying about $150 here in NC!
                                www.shawneeacres.net

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by shawneeAcres View Post
                                  I agree find somepleace affordable and turn him out (if you are looking for a retirement board, temporarily even, we are quite affordable!) and see how it goes. I have done this with horses such as yours, and as long as they are regularly trimmed and toe kept short, they often heal up graet on their own. Sounds like some issues with the DDFT in my opinion and time/no work is really the only thing that may bring him back to soundness. As far as selling such a horse, you would be VERY LUCKY for someone to take him for free. And $500 a shoeing, OMG!!!! Even with everything you are talking about I MIGHT would be paying about $150 here in NC!
                                  I sort of agree here, our vet who is the USEF team vet says he feels like its got a little of both things going on some irritation to the DDFT because of the heel problem, and yes time and no work to really heal it as much as it will heal. To what extent he can work after such time, who knows. or manage him through shoeing.
                                  And yes in my opinion who would want such horse? I just know that I cant keep affording the shoeing along with the high priced barn we are at (daughter works off portion of board). But just didn't know what to do with a horse such as this. I mean what do you do with a young horse that has this problem and no one wants? And farrier doesnt really want his shoes taken off. Too much progress to be lost. So I dont know maybe I can find a location nearby that he can be turned out and do nothing and keep his shoes.
                                  But if I take him someplace else I wont necesarily have access to the farrier we use, so will a different farrier be able to maintain the work that my current farrier uses?
                                  Thanks for everybodys input.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by schober1 View Post
                                    Okay to answer some questions...
                                    We have had several digital xrays done, their is no signs of navicular or rotating of anything. We have done nerve blocks and have confirmed that all pain comes from the hoof and specifically the heel region, left inside of the right front hoof.
                                    Corrective shoeing has helped, but like I said must be managed very very frequently. Vet suggets that it is a tissue problem/injury(resulting from crushed heel that had not been taken care of properly for an extended period of time) He feels that all that can be done is "manage the issue to keep him sound" or take shoes off and give him a year to see what can happen". The only thing we have not done is the MRI, which would show what exactly is wrong but it is way to expensive at this point to do and the vet feels that even if we can see exactly what the issue is that there isnt anything you can do but give it time or manage it thrugh corrective shoeing, so it would kind of be a waste to spend the money on.
                                    He has had lots of time when it works really well and doesnt test positive to the heel with the hoof testers, but then every few months it'll grow and vet says gets aggravated and inflamed thus causing the pain. So refloat and reshoe and hes good to go again for a couple weeks, then we do it again.
                                    My farrier is amazing, but I just cant keep paying 500 every couple weeks, so is pulling his shoes and turning him out a good option? Has anyone seen this "time off" help? Is he a lost cause at 10yrs of age? Or would someone want him that can afford the every few weeks expensive shoeing.?
                                    Get your xrays and photos of the hoof on to some barefoot trimming sites... you will be amazed at what others see and the vets and farriers are not seeing. I know it's a long shot but I found it did more than anything. Your horse may lack vault in the coffin bone, he may have incorrect bone alignment, it can be many things... post pictures on a site that can help you. Dressage Unlimited has a few Barefoot trimmers that are AMAZING. Really. Do not spend a bazzillion dollars on corrective shoes... post your pix, get a proper trim, buy some easyboot epics and see what happens. Don't leave him to is own... you need to work with him daily and get him well. IMHO...
                                    Live in the sunshine.
                                    Swim in the sea.
                                    Drink the wild air.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I think you will have trouble selling a horse that isn't reliably sound or that requires $500 worth of farrier care every 3-4 weeks to be sound. You probably wouldn't feel good about the sale either.

                                      I'm sure there is something I'm missing here, but I've used farriers in multiple areas and I'm just having trouble figuring out what exactly your farrier is doing that is costing $500 (or where on earth you are...is the horse being shod in downtown Manhattan?). Could be that I'm out of touch with reality .

                                      Anyway, this is one scenario where I might think twice about pulling the shoes, I might still do it, but I'd listen carefully to the vet first. If the diagnosis is uncertain, a period of t/o at a cheaper facility never hurts. Still, though, in this kind of situation the horse is going to continue to need frequent farrier care shod or barefoot.

                                      The other option is to give the horse away. He sounds nice enough that someone else might want to take a chance on him and try to get him sound.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Gotta agree here, $500 seems like a lot...

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