Barefoot and Thrush

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Barefoot and Thrush

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  • Barefoot horse tenderness
  • Barefoot trim thrush

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    07-10-2008, 02:31 PM
Barefoot and Thrush

We have been having our horses trimmed with a barefoot trim for awhile now. Farriers in the past have always knifed off the sole and frog, doing a regular pasture trim. Now that we have a wonderful barefoot farrier we rarely knife the frog. I've noticed that we have less problems with thrush when the frog is not knifed. Anyone else doing a true barefoot trim notice this or am I alone? I just wondered if there have been any studys done on the incidence of thrush being lessened with a barefoot trim. It makes sense to me that if the frog isn't knifed off and left to harden and callous in a natural way that thrush may not be as able to get a foot hold so to speak
I just had a new farrier out who severly knifed my poor girls frogs and soles with a pasture trim. I'll be interested to see if thrush starts to set in now. Barefoot you better hurry up and have that baby. My girls miss you :(
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    07-10-2008, 04:28 PM
I have never had a horse with shoes, so I can't compare completely, but here's what I know. Two horses I have taken in arrived with thrush and they were both shod. I pulled the shoes, got rid of the thrush and I have never had thrush begin at my place with any horse. I don't trim the frog a whole lot, just the "hangies" on a regular basis.
    07-10-2008, 08:26 PM
I rarely knife the sole or frogs of our mares and they have never had thrush. I do ride them on asphalt roads a lot and that abrasiveness really keeps them cleaned up all by themselves.

BTW, before I started trimming them myself, our farrier said that using the knife was mainly remove bacteria that can cause thrush.
    07-11-2008, 02:49 AM
Take a look at as I'm sure Pete has an article about this - at least about frog trimming anyway. I know that he rarely trims the frog and I'm sure there was something about infections & frog trimming.

I think it's a lot to do with the overall health of the foot & the environment they live on. If the horse is in a damp environment, I think thrush would be more likely regardless of the trim.
    07-11-2008, 07:05 AM
I don't think taking off the frog is a good idea. Frog absorbs shock, so it's just healthier to have it. Although I've seen the farrier cutting off the frog. I never did it when I was trimming myself (except the chipped off parts), neither does my current farrier.
    07-11-2008, 07:13 AM
After he left I picked up Vidas foot and her frog was sort of pinkish if that tells you anything I wanted to ask him to not trim much off the sole and frog but I had just talked to a friend who goes barefoot. She told me she tried to tell a farrier how to do the trim and the guy butchered the hooves. I was a little afraid to tell the guy how to do his job. Male farriers can be a little testy sometimes and this guy was no exception. He actually took his rasp handle and punched it into Shiloh when she leaned on him. She was terrified.
    07-11-2008, 08:19 AM

Oh, that stinks! And their feet were looking great last time I was out there. DO have your boots, right?

Well, I'll be back to work ASAP...have heard a lot of gripes about the farriers cutting up "my" horses' soles and causing some tenderness. It's almost like a vendictive issue for them to "correct" my barefoot trims, and it's not just he men! Even some of the other so-called barefoot trimmers that have sprung up in the area are butchering them.

Just want to use it as a case in point of really checking out the farrier/trimmer you use. And I'm not picking at you, Vidaloco, just using that as prime example of why horse owners should check into the reputations of anyone who will work on their horses. I guess it's been a sore spot for me lately to hear about so many of the barefoot horses that were doing so well are all ouchy now thanks to careless trimming by local farriers that are filling in while I'm pregnant. Not much professional curteousy around here, either. Most have been rude about taking referrals since I'm a "Natural" trimmer, and I'm not FROM here and I'm sure my being a woman has a little to do with it. :roll:

Okay, back on topic...yes the trimming of frogs is justitified by farriers as being "hygenic" and that is what you are taught in farrier school. And yes, if you have a lot of infected tissue, some trimming of it will get rid of it, like you would cut off an gangrenous leg. But, if you get toenail fungus, do you cut off the whole toe to keep it more sanitary? No. But keeping your nails short and letting air hit them more will provide less of an environment for the fungus, right? So the farriers that whittle the frog, usually are well-intentioned, but mis-guided. Shoes, in themeselves are enablers for thrush. The mechanics of them simply make it easier to trap dirt in the hoof instead of letting it flip out as the horse walks.

Another reason farriers tend to shave the frog down, is the they are taught it SHOULDN'T touch the ground, because it's too sensitive (well, if it's been thrushy or trimmed to prevent thrush, it has no protective callous, and yes, is temporarily tender on the ground). So they cut it out of weight bearing contact with the ground, and it it looks better trimmed up, so it's a little cosmetic, as well.

I like to leave the frog intact. It will thicken and callous. The tenderness goes away and the action of being used stimulates circuation, that helps fight infections, plus the bigger healthier frog helps to shed the manure/mud that gets trapped and causes thrush in the first place. The frog helps absorb shock as well as traction for the foot. I do sometimes trim little "flappy-dos", to keep them from hiding mud/manure and breeding germs, but really don't bother with it much in the dry season, just depends.

Cutting into frog makes it more vulnerable to any infections and tenderness. Ever get a blister that pops, and that outer layer of skin falls off, the fresh stuff underneath is healthy, but ouchy, right? Well, with a frog, the ouchyness is enough to cause some horses to NOT use the back of the foot, so the frog isn't stimulated, and is more susceptable to infection because of the slower circulation, thus the cycle begins. At least, that's the potential effects.
    07-11-2008, 08:27 AM
We (hubby and I) decided after ranting at each other for an hour, that farrier schools need to come into the modern age and start teaching a barefoot trim as well as the forge and anvel stuff.
I found this farrier via my vet so figured it would be ok :(
Back to the boots
    07-11-2008, 11:15 AM
Originally Posted by Vidaloco
After he left I picked up Vidas foot and her frog was sort of pinkish if that tells you anything I wanted to ask him to not trim much off the sole and frog but I had just talked to a friend who goes barefoot. She told me she tried to tell a farrier how to do the trim and the guy butchered the hooves. I was a little afraid to tell the guy how to do his job. Male farriers can be a little testy sometimes and this guy was no exception. He actually took his rasp handle and punched it into Shiloh when she leaned on him. She was terrified.
This is exactly why I decided to start trimming my own horse's feet back in November. My farrier would not listen to little old female me...and I literally had to call the vet (who the farrier knows well and respects...of course the vet is a man) and then the vet had to call the farrier to tell him to take off the shoes.

We don't really get any thrush along the frog since going barefoot. We do get some around the white line though? Is that from our move in climate areas...dry to humid? I ordered a soaking boot and we were going to do some regular soaks of the ACV mixture...think that would help Barefoot?

(sorry I think I just hijacked the thread )
    07-11-2008, 11:45 AM
The ACV won't hurt anything, that's for sure. If it's really a white line infection, it depends on how bad it is whether or not you'll need something a bit more stout to treat that. WLD can be a toughie, but many times what's called WLD is just stretched laminae that willl grow out and down if you keep the trim right (anywhere you can see flare in the wall above, that's stretched white line that will appear funky once it's at ground level, doesn't necessarily mean infection, though).

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