Hi, I have a 6 year old OTTB gelding that I have had for a year now. When I got him he had shoes on just the front, but he ended up pulling one off about a month after I got him, so I had the other shoe removed and all four trimmed. Since then he has been barefoot.
Last year during rides rides I could feel him short stepping a bit the odd time during the trot. (Seemed fine in walk) Then other times he would be completely fine during rides.
This year he has seemed fine all spring/summer but recently he seems more tender. (Little less than two weeks ago) I noticed him limping a bit on his front just before he had a trim and it continued after. (No extra length/sole was trimmed than usual). So I thought it might be something with his legs so I checked them and didn't notice anything unusual.
So I gave him some time to rest in the paddock (softish dirt) and he didn't seem to be limping at all after a bit.
So yesterday I decided to take him for a ride. He didnt seem to be limping but on the way to the arena there is a bit of hard ground/gravel to walk on. It seemed that if he stepped on a rock he acted really sensitive and would try to "hop" off it with that foot. (Only seemed that it bothered his front hooves)
I thought it was just the gravel that was bothering him but after about 5 minutes into the ride he started short stepping a bit on his right-front. (Nothing huge that made him lame)(The arena is soft dirt with the occasional rock found here and there) So I kept it at the walk and cut our ride short.
So today I checked his hooves for bruises or anything abnormal but didn't seem to find anything. He has never been lame, just the rare limp or short step especially on gravel/rocks.
During the spring/early summer this year it rained a lot here so the paddocks were usually somewhat wet so that could have played a factor. So I'm just wondering if it could be sensitive/soft soles? And what to do? (Should I put front shoes back on? I've also heard of using Turpentine to harden soles)
Thanks so much!