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. B2.jpg
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