When I got her, her feet were in rough shape and unshod. My farrier put a light plate on her and she moved ok but had trouble if she hit any sort of stone or rough ground ( the indoor I was using at the time had footing with lots of rocks, it's one reason I left that barn)
Next, my farrier put a heavier, thicker shoe on her to try and get her heals up. After this she progressively got worse. Her movement was horrible amd she looked so uncomfortable. Short, choppy stride, tucked her head in when she was real ouchie, wouldn't open her stride up, didn't want to canter etc.
Next we tried similar shoes and added pour in pads. No change at all. She also was pretty good at losing shoes, she didn't have a lot of foot to keep them on. She lost the pour on pads pretty quick and so we opted against them in the future since they didn't seem to help at all anyways.
Next few months we just kept plates on her and tried to get her to grow some foot. No improvement in her movement at all. Even on good, soft footing she just looked awful. At the end of last summer she pulled a shoe and tore her foot up too much to tack it back on so I was forced to leave her barefoot.
After losing the shoes she moved 100 times better (on good footing) than she had since I got her. She reached, she floated, she cantered happily and looked great! I couldn't quite believe it. So after getting some suggestions on here I decided to try a new farrier and started using a barefoot trimmer. I thought maybe she could benefit from casting but the trimmer didn't think so.
So she has been barefoot now for over 6 months. If the footing is perfect, she can and will move comfortably in it. But, she's otherwise still super ouchie and even has a hard time stepping out of her stall ( it has a small drop down) if her feet are packed with bedding. She is hesitant and sore walking on any sort of hard ground, gravel..anything not super soft. She is definitely not comfortable enough to be worked or ridden. So, while she moves better she is still far from good. I'm worried now that she's just going to be so susceptible to bruising and her feet are just getting worn down with how hard the ground a already is this summer.
The other day the farrier that the rest of the boarders at my barn use was
Out and took a look at her. He saw what we already know - that she has paper thin soles. He is one of the better, if not the best and most respected farrier in our area and I really respect his opinion- which is that she NEEDS shoes and possibly a pad to ever be workably sound. He said it's just a fact of life that some tb's have to have shoes especially in work to be comfortable.
So now Im leaning towards trying her with shoes again. My only hesitation is how poor her movement got before with shoes, they really didn't seem to help AT ALL. But, I wonder now if it was something about the way my old farrier was shoeing her...but he was also a very good, well respected farrier.
SO, long story short..I'm not sure what to do. Shoes didn't work before, but barefoot isn't working either. Boots would probably help her I'd imagine to be ridden, but she's just so uncomfortable all the time. Thoughts!? Opinions!.