My farrier recently brought the idea of letting Drifter go barefoot to the table. He said that since he was not in heavy work (or work period since his injury), it would be a good time try it. We have been trying to correct SEVERELY constricted heels from a whack job by a previous farrier.
The first time I got my new farrier out, he shaped Drifter's angles and kept shoes on him (ones that are actually the right size..imagine that!), with a little more support in the back for his heels. Drifter had been losing shoes every 2 weeks with previous farrier's work. He managed to keep them all on up until the week he was due this time. He threw one of his fronts, and the hoof wall immediately cracked. When the farrier came out the next day he said he wasn't comfortable putting shoes back on Drifter, that we needed to address his hoof wall issues and that going barefoot would probably be the best option for him right now. I was majorly skeptical, because Drifter has NEVER been sound when going barefoot. Amazingly enough, this guy did it!
Drifter is perfectly sound out in his pasture and walks, trots, canters, etc with no problem (he was not even pasture sound the last time we tried to go barefoot. But have since discovered he was trimmed as if we were going to put shoes on,and then turned out barefoot and apparently that makes a huge difference). However, in order to toughen up his soles my farrier suggested I walk Drifter on the gravel/dirt road a distance of maybe 5 feet every day. He hates that. He trips, walks slow, very 'ouchy' ... will stop and refuse to move... and its gotten to where now its a fight to get him out of the gate from the barn onto that road because he knows what we're about to do. He walks, because he knows I'm going to make him, but I feel bad about it. He has not gotten any better, but I know its only been 2 weeks and this takes time ... I just wanted to make sure I'm not unintentionally torturing him? And If I am, please let me know! I trust this new farrier and Drifter's angles and heels are looking better and better, but will he ever be able to walk on a rock or hard packed ground and not look so depressed? Am I blindly trusting someone who is telling me to go about this the wrong way?
Just looking for other opinions/advice as always. Thanks all :)