Originally Posted by DriftingShadow View Post
The grass hay is available in his private lot 24/7 and he is given a few scoops of alfalfa hay before every grain meal. He is fed grain 2x day right now. No more than 3lbs at each feeding. He is impossible to keep weight on without grain.
Sounds familiar - have I commented on this in another thread? Basically in cases I haven't, I'd be feeding the roughage WITH the grain not separately, if you absolutely need to feed grain, and splitting it into more smaller meals. If grain, oats would be my choice & any other type must be well processed(eg cooked, not just 'cracked'). There are generally many healthier alternatives for weight gain to grain tho & it's also possible it's the grain & how it's being fed that is causing him to be ulcer prone & a 'hard keeper'. That sort of diet can also contribute to hoof probs.
Drifter had always been in shoes his entire 8 years. We made the transition to bare feet back in late August or early September. Has been doing great until now.
How did you 'transition' him? How did you deem he was ready to go bare? Unless a horse's feet are extraordinarily strong & healthy, 5-6 months is not very long to expect any real changes & particularly if he's been shod his whole life, since way before maturity, he's likely(& obviously by the farrier's concerns) to have far less than great feet anyway to start with. For those reasons I would still be protecting him a while yet on rough/hard ground unless he was obviously comfortable, making heel first impacts, etc.
What is weird is that both spots on both fronts are horizontal cracks both an inch long about half an inch from his toe on the front of his hoof wall.
Oh there's something pics would have explained. When you said he's recently come down with abscesses at the toe, I imagined they were in the sole. Yes, your farrier is right that the damage would have happened at the coronet - this can be due to bashing the hoof or such but being in both feet, very likely either systemic, such as a laminitic 'event' or due to concussion - faster paces on hard ground, particularly if he's landing toe first due to weak heels.
That the abscesses only became evident recently, as your farrier has also said, are likely due to the mud & infection. If close enough to the ground they may be able to be trimmed out completely, but resecting/opening them up & cleaning out the diseased & necrotic tissue there, before treating the seedy toe will most likely be necessary.