Hoof bruise and hoof input wanted :) - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 06-09-2012, 02:36 PM Thread Starter
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Question Hoof bruise and hoof input wanted :)

For those who wish to skip the novel, scroll down to the bold paragraph before the pics for the pertinent info.

I bought Digby last fall and he had a new set of shoes on him at the time. The previous owners always kept their horses shod because in KY where they live everything is paved/blacktopped. Their farrier (Amish) said he had great hooves and there have been are no previous problems.
Digby is a Rocky Mountain gelding and his hooves have been kept in regular shoes.

When it was time for the first trim/reset I discussed the options with my new farrier and my desire to take him from being a shod horse to keeping him barefoot. My farm and surrounding areas are mostly grass or packed dirt. The trails are average and there is not much in the way of things being rocky or rough. Paved riding areas are minimal. I don’t want to keep him shod unless it is actually necessary.

We are now 6 months into the transition of Digby being barefoot and things have seem to go smoothly so far. Well, yesterday the farrier was here for trims on everyone and found a bruise in his right hind hoof. When he hit it, Digby flinched a little and then there was some blood. He said it was only a bruise and not an abscess. He said it would bleed for a few minutes then stop and he would be just fine. He was happy to hold him while I looked at it and again he told me it was nothing to worry about.(Despite my worried face)
There was no pocket, cavity, or hole, just a depression where the blood oozed from. The farrier said his other hooves were fine.

My farrier said he sees this often at this time of year because when the horse kicks out at a horsefly sometimes they hit a fence post or it can be from stomping at flies.
I had no idea the bruise was there until the farrier found it as he never took an off step or gave any indication.

I do keep my horse and donkeys sprayed for flies and he doesn’t do much stomping, but we do have the big green horseflies in my area that love to get up in the flank and sheath area to bite. No amount/type of spray/cream/roll on seems to keep them away. They are the mean ones that will bite you (humans) right through your clothes. I swear when they see the bottle of spray they stand in line to take a bath in the stuff…

So anyway, about 30 minutes after the farrier left Digby seemed a little tender or “ouchie” on that hoof. He is not lame or limping and will walk out fine when led, but on his own is acting ginger on it. He's keeping it cocked up quite a bit and is hesitant to pivot on it.

It is obvious that either A- he is a wimp or B- it is bothering him.
If I touch the spot on the sole he will flinch and say “Ouch! Quit touching it!”

A few hours after the bleeding stopped the spot was still damp and ouchie. At feed time last night it was a tiny bit damp and still ouchie.
This morning it is dry, but still ouchie.

After looking through my reference books and materials and doing some online research all I keep coming up with is “Give the bruise some time off to heal.”
Well, ok ….that is kind of a given, but for the life of me I cannot remember having dealt with a hoof bruise that ever bothered a horse before. What little I could find indicated soaking wasn’t needed and I did find mention of a few products to apply to the hoof sole to toughen it, yet until this happened he has never indicated any tenderness at all.

I took some pictures of the hoof and bruise yesterday and would really appreciate any feedback. (Sorry I didn’t clean them first… wasn‘t thinking.)
While I was snapping those I thought it would be a good time to get a few of his other hooves too.

So far I’m satisfied with my new farrier and have no reason to doubt him. He is also taking care of my new rescue donkeys that came in with horrendous hooves. (A whole n’other story)
But for some reason, I forgot everything I used to know about horse hooves in my years away from horses and really don‘t know what I‘m looking at anymore, besides that it is a horse hoof, not an alpaca toenail nor a goat hoof.

In the interest of learning anything I can about my horses hooves (along with the new hoof books I ordered) I welcome any feedback on the other hooves as well as on the bruise.

Condensed version-
7 yro RMH that I bought in Nov.
We are 6 months into the transition from being an always plain shod horse to being a barefoot horse.
Farrier found a bruise in right hind yesterday. Said it was nothing to worry about- common this time of year. There was a little bleeding right away, a damp spot a few hours later at feed time, dry this morning, but it is still tender to touch.
Feedback wanted on the bruise, and any comments on the other hooves are greatly appreciated. I hope the pics are the right angles, if not please let me know what you would like to see.

Last fall. Still has on shoes under all that mud and yes, he is standing downhill.


May 2012 with quite the hay belly going on

May 2012.jpg

Right hind

rt hind bottom.jpg

rt hind tip.jpg

rt hind back.jpg
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post #2 of 7 Old 06-09-2012, 02:42 PM Thread Starter
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post #3 of 7 Old 06-09-2012, 11:48 PM
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Since you gave the choice, I did only read the bits in bold...
Check out link in signature - better pics would help.

Hmm, from what can be seen there, it appears the horse has flat(likely thin) soles, the toe half at least & stretched toes that need to be dealt with & protected effectively. You don't say whether you use hoof boots or such? I would be protecting these feet, until they're healthy at least.

He's got quite contracted, weak & thrushy looking heels, so he'll be 'tippy toeing', which is also evidenced by the wear at the toe & will be adding to the leverage that is a/the reason for the separation & tearing - I suspect it's that rather than a simple bruise, especially if it actually bled.

While there aren't obvious major rings on his feet at all, I'd also consider laminitis a possibility. Do some studying into 'low grade' or 'sub clinical' laminitis & insulin resistance. Interesting that it doesn't look so on the front, but it appears there may be other areas in that RH laminae, right round into the quarters that are pink?

What did the farrier have to say? Of course, with only these few pics, may be off the mark, not to mention I don't know how these feet were before the last trim, how you manage him, etc, but if my observations are correct, I'd be concerned that a number of things need to change, probably starting with diet, good trimming & protecting his feet if you haven't been already.
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post #4 of 7 Old 06-10-2012, 01:06 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for your feedback Loosie.
I’m down with a serious sprain myself and cannot ride for a little while, but before that it was just light and pleasure riding on dirt and grass. No work or competing.

The farrier does not say much about his hooves. He will answer any question I ask, but otherwise says his hooves are ok.
I did specifically ask about his heels as they seemed NQR (not quite right) to me. He said they were ok.

I also asked (and have asked at every trim) how things look and if there is any sign of thrush or problems. I’m always worried I’m going to miss something as I run a very busy farm and don‘t have time to groom him daily. He has always said no, no thrush and that things look good.

Digby did have a diet change when I bought him. At the farm in KY he was kept on pasture with a large herd and very little grain (according to the old owner) and supplemented with round bales. He was an easy keeper there and used for light to moderate work and kept shod. They did not have out mineral or salt blocks which was very evident when he arrived here and nearly sucked mine down in about 10 minutes. I had to take it away, break it up into pieces and dole it out slowly. I use the brown mineral horse salt bricks and he is now fine with them and just licks them a little bit as desired.

After I bought him, I transitioned him to SafeChoice Original pellets by Nutrena which is their low starch formula. He was getting only a cup twice day and it was mostly to have something to give him with his other goodies and keep him happy. I researched ration balancers and he is now on Buckeye Grow and Win ration balancer for a grass based forage diet. It is comparable to Purina’s Enrich 32. He only gets 1 cup twice a day, or less than a pound. He also gets flaxseed, a teaspoon of organic kelp meal, and a handful of calf manna until I decide what horse based vitamin supplement he needs to round out the program.

My pasture is Bluegrass and Orchard grass based and his hay is also a bluegrass, orchard, timothy mix with a bit of clover and wee bit of alfalfa which is common here. Our soils are selenium and copper deficient in western PA too.

I have not used any boots on him and until the bruise he hasn’t taken an off step.

I realize he hasn’t been on my diet long enough to see a real change in his hooves, but I’m open to any diet suggestions too.
I’ll check out the links.
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post #5 of 7 Old 06-10-2012, 07:19 PM
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Yeah, not in the least saying he is laminitic & there're actually no obvious signs of it on the walls, just throwing in the possibility due to the look of his soles & that separation that I'm presuming is present on every foot, not just the 2 you showed. It could well be due purely to mechanical stress though.

Re diet, I'm no nutritionist, not to mention unfamiliar with your particular grasses & soil, so the best advice I could give there is to get your pasture/hay tested if possible, &/or use a service such as feedxl.com or consult an equine nutritionist(who is independent of feed co's). I'm unfamiliar with calf manna but would consider that if it's made for young calves, may not be appropriate for a horse, esp an easykeeper. Also seaweed meal is very rich in iodine, so I'd only feed it if there was an iodine deficiency in the diet(I do).
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post #6 of 7 Old 06-10-2012, 08:47 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Calf Manna. This stuff has been around forever (like Clovite) and was indeed originally made for bovines. But some time back it reached out to all farm animals/livestock and is now made, labeled and used for darn near everything. I always keep it around the farm, especially for the lactating moms. The directions call for quite a bit for horses, but I only give him a smidge and it is more for the extra brewer’s yeast and vitamins.
Here is a link if you want to see the nutritional label and info…

I do know about the iodine in kelp and is why he gets only a teaspoon as opposed to the one ounce called for with horses. (I use it in my garden beds too. )
I’ve had some soil and forage testing done a few years ago, but it was targeted towards my small ruminants so I will have to see if I can decode the info as it applies to horses.

So I was standing and just watching him mosey around today and he kicked out at a green horsefly (armor covered flies mentioned in the novel portion of my original post.) He came down hard on the toe tip of the other hind foot. For whatever reason I mentally connected the fact that in general his hoof walls grow faster than his soles to his stomp style on the toe and had an “Ah-Hah!” moment.
Could that be considered a mechanical stress? Or would that really be more of how he moves and is put together?

Will try to get better pics this week and I do have a very short video of him gaiting while shod on a road. He is doing a stepping pace as the saddle the guy was using was too big.
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post #7 of 7 Old 06-13-2012, 11:36 PM Thread Starter
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No new pics of his hooves yet, but his ouchie-ness on the hind hoof was gone by Monday and he isn't bothered when I poke at he bruised spot anymore. Yay!
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