My daughter's appendix made has terrible feet and this summers weather is not helping. We've had very hot days with thundershowers that produce about an inch of rain at night. The cycle of wet / dry seems to be wreaking havoc on her feet. She is barefoot in a fairly soft field, ridden 2-3 times a week mainly in the field and once a week in lessons in a sand arena. Her walls are thin and her soles are a bit tender. She has never been overtly lame, but is heavy on the forehand and quite flat under saddle. My daughters riding coach suggested front shoes, if they would stay on. We have her trimmed on a regular schedule about every 5-7 weeks and she is on quality grass with some supplement containing Biotin and fit A and D. It seems we are always playing catch up at her trims as her feet begin to crack and break one or two days before the farrier arrives, no matter if it has been 5 weeks or 7 weeks. The farrier was out again yesterday and this is the program we have her on to improve the quality of her hoof walls. Any feedback or further suggestions would be appreciated.
1. More frequent trims (aiming for every 4-5 weeks instead of 5-7). The farrier said he trimmed her and left her soles a little lower to distribute the weight a little better and take some stress off the walls of her feet. Does this male sense?
2. Increase the amount of Biotin she gets, and add some flax to her diet. (her mane and coat are already very healthy and glossy)
3. Paint the coronet band with Cornucrescin ointment daily to encourage hoof growth (recommended by the coach)
4. Paint her hoof wall and soles (not the frog) with Tuff Stuff every other day to help prevent these areas from absorbing excess water.
5. Use hoof boots ( Cavallo's) when she is ridden to give her hooves a little more protection and cushioning.
6. We discussed front shoes, but her walls are so thin and soft that the nails pull out. The farrier said he could. Try finer nails and lighter shoes, but was hesitant to recommend standard showing. He also said he would look into glue-on shoes. He says they work well for stabled horses, but wasn't sure about pastured horses. In the meantime we are going to try the hoof boots and see if we cannot improve the quality of her hooves without shoeing.
We have had this mare for over 5 years and her feet have always been a problem. We have tried various things in the past with varying success. With this summer's weather however, we are trying a more aggressive, mulltifaceted approach. Does this make sense? Is there anything I have described that seems unreasonable, or anything I have overlooked?