Hoof problems.. - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 37 Old 05-19-2009, 09:06 PM Thread Starter
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Hoof problems..

I haven't been around much and I only have about five minutes but I have a really important question.

As some of you may know, Indy did not have the greatest feet when I got him. His back feet are about as close to perfect as you can get but his fronts are horrible. Each have a vertical crack from bottom to top. The right one (when facing him) has two. The farrier and vet have both said that they are nothing to worry about (not deep, do not go past the hoof, no heat [and i check that constantly], no bleeding, no swelling, no abnormalities) but I am starting to get worried. He is getting SmartPak Farrier's Formula Double Concentrate once a day and I the vet also recommended a cream to help keep them from drying out.

He has been getting the SmartPak for about... six months now. He lives outside and it is rather muddy on one half of his field but I clean out/clean the outer hoof wall everyday.

They have gotten better and better on a monthly basis. However, he had his feet done on Monday and yesterday/today I noticed two things. One, his back feet seem to have been trimmed shorter then usual. Last time he had his feet done he was sore for about a week from being trimmed too short all around. This time he is not sore or ouchy or anything but they still look short to me. They are also shorter then the fronts which I have never noticed before. The farrier did however put the shoes on farther back (as directed by the vet) to support the heel more.

The other thing is that he seems to have split open the crack on his right front (when facing him). It is wider and deeper then it was on Sunday before he was re-shod. Granted it is not horrible but I had the vet out and she said that I should just keep an eye on it and make sure it didn't get worse.

My question is, what should I do about the crack?

I have wanted to go barefoot with him for a while but the farrier has said that it is not a possibility at this time as his hoof walls are to weak.
I want to bring in a professional barefoot trimmer and see what they say because Indy has gone barefoot for up to two weeks before (at the longest stretch) and he seemed fine to me. Does anyone know of any barefoot farriers in western CT that they can recommend?

I am really worried about the crack... it was finally getting better and now it's worse then before...

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post #2 of 37 Old 05-19-2009, 09:53 PM
Join Date: Mar 2009
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Maybe you need a new farrier? When I got my horse, she had a huge chunk missing out of her front left hoof and I changed farriers, and she doesn't have a crack anymore. I don't know much about farrier work, she says she rounds her toes more than usual to keep pressure off of them to prevent more cracks, and she said something about her roll over or break over or whatever... and she also goes barefoot in the winter without a crack reoccurring.

I currently have her on Horseshoer's Secret and it's done WONDERS. It takes about 3 months before you see the new growth, but everyone I know who uses it absolutely swears by it. I've also heard that many hoof creams dry the hoof out as opposed to moisturizing it. I hear that Turpentine is better. Of course, that's just what I hear.

Can you get pictures?

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post #3 of 37 Old 05-19-2009, 10:05 PM
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Bring in the barefoot trimmer. Your current farrier isn't solving the problem, possibly never will and the walls will never develop the great natural strength of hooves until the shoes are taken off. Shoes WEAKEN the wall, not strengthen.
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post #4 of 37 Old 05-19-2009, 10:09 PM Thread Starter
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I can get pictures tomorrow. I have some before pictures from when I first got him that I will post as well. Thanks!
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post #5 of 37 Old 05-24-2009, 11:45 PM Thread Starter
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Alright so here are the pictures. If I can figure out how to do it... Sorry it took so long things have been crazy around here.

This was his hoof a couple weeks ago. For him, it was pretty darn good.

Same hoof [again]

Other side

Also the other side

Alright now these are from two days ago which was two days after he saw the farrier. Keep in mind there was NO heat, NO soreness on the outside or inside, and no reaction when I poked at his hooves. He trotted sound over pavement and w/t/c fine under saddle (about a fifteen minute ride to see how he was; I didn't want to over do it just in case).

This one was wet because I hosed off his legs

What do you guys think I should do? Again, he is getting a supplement in his feed, he is getting a cream to keep his feet from getting dried out (both prescribed by the vet). He does stand in mud when it rains as he lives outside. Half his pasture turns to mud and the other half stays dry but I usually find him in the mud. There is no way for me to change where he is because everywhere else is ALL mud. I'm trying to find a barefoot farrier but everyone I know who goes barefoot uses the same guy and just has him trim their horses. I went down the street and asked but none of the horses at the barn go barefoot.

If you know of anyone in CT or in NY near CT please PM me and I can give a tiny bit more information about my location.

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post #6 of 37 Old 05-25-2009, 08:06 AM
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Get the shoes off! They are causing the problem. The hoof can not expand and contract with it on. Get the book Making natural hoof care work for you by Pete Ramey. The back hooves look good because they are not shod. With a shoe a hoof has no rounded natural break over. A natural trim is different from a barefoot trim by a regular farrier. My Quarter horse had a deep quarter crack and the vets recommended bar shoes with pads which I did and was the worst thing to do! Get this book it will change every thing for you. google Pete Ramey and Jaime Jackson for their websites it will show pics of how a hoof should be trimmed - no flares or long toes. My AQHA now has the best looking hooves no cracks - they look like smooth stone and as strong nothing causes him to be ouchy anymore!
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post #7 of 37 Old 05-25-2009, 08:18 AM
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In the 2nd to last pic, it looks like the crack has extended into a horizontal coronary problem. Does he have WLD? Would be interesting to see the bottom of his feet, though we probably won't be able to see the white line much. Also a side view.

I know I'm a barefoot nut, but just LOOK at what the shoes are doing -- everywhere there is a nail there is a crack or damage and side clips have been added to hold the shoes on. If there is any good wall, let's just put another nail in there and weaken the wall another inch higher. This ISN'T working! Time for a new tactic.

There is nothing wrong at all with being in a dry environment. Hooves are designed for that. I would avoid the cream -- it may be making things worse rather than better, unless the cream is only being applied to the coronary band.

These cracks are all fixable by going barefoot. It will take time. Period. Those cracks have to grow out and there is no other fix. It will be 6 months to a year depending on how fast his hooves grow before the cracks will be gone.

It would be nice for Barefoothooves to have a go at that one pic with the crack maybe going across the coronary band. I have no experience with that. Barefoothooves are you out there?

Ask around more and try the internet to find a barefoot trimmer / advocate near you. Seriously -- this horse is just screaming to go without shoes in my opinion.
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post #8 of 37 Old 05-25-2009, 09:42 AM Thread Starter
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Chella: Don't mean to sound snippy (so please don't take it the wrong way!), but he is shod on his backs. I am not sure why the backs are better then the fronts, I would be interested in finding that out. Do you do your horses feet yourself?

northernmama: If he had WLD would the farrier have said something? As I mentioned in an earlier post I have never felt any heat (before or after being worked) in any part of his hooves, he is not lame, he is not sore, does not have any problems with hoof testers, no flattening of the sole or dishing anywhere, and no hollow sound when tapped with numerous items. The hoof actually feels pretty solid (despite all the cracks) and I understand that is probably hard to believe considering what they look like.

I am only applying the cream to the coronary band.

Thank you for all the help!

Is it okay to ride him when his feet are in this condition?

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post #9 of 37 Old 05-25-2009, 10:03 AM
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can you get a profile pic of his feet with the coronary band and pasterns? I know you're focused on the cracks, but that may not be the worst of the trouble.

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post #10 of 37 Old 05-25-2009, 11:30 AM
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I agree, shoes need to GO! Those fronts need lower heals, backed up toes, and the front edge should be rounded to take ALL of the pressure off of it when he walks. My mare gets cracks up the front too, and this type of trimming works to help them grow out and prevent them from getting worse.

Having him barefoot will help his walls grow in stronger. Use some Durasole on the bottoms of his feet to toughen them up and keep him from getting ouchy. Apply it every other day for 2-3 weeks, then two to three times a week after that. STOP use creams. All they do is make the hoof look nicer. If he's getting proper nutrition, you don't need them. I would add some flax to his diet, Omega Horseshine or GrandCoat, or switch the hoof supplement to a double dose of BioFlax. I use a custom blend from horsetech.com of BioFlax plus extra flax. It works very well!

Try to find a barefoot trimmer in your area, one that uses a Ramey-type method if possible.
Pete Ramey hoof care heals founder in horse’s navicular disease farrier
American Hoof Association

Or you can learn how to do it yourself. I do my own horses (with checks from a professional once or twice a year) and find it every rewarding. I learned on my own from a local trimmer plus Ramey's books and other online resources. Ramey recommends this school if you can afford it and it's not too far from you.
The Equine Sciences Academy
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