How are her hooves? - Page 2 - The Horse Forum
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post #11 of 30 Old 03-17-2011, 05:34 PM
Green Broke
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I don't know why you would want to put shoes back on her...?? Barefoot is healthier and boots are cheaper than shoes in the long run. You can even learn from your trimmer/farrier how to trim your horse, so you can touch her up between visits.

She may be a bit tender when you first take her shoes off, but if she's trimmed properly, that should go away quickly. You can always invest in boots if she's ouchy on certain surfaces. I had good luck with Easy Boot Edge boots for my mare that had bad flares in her feet. They fit and stayed on better than some of the others I tried.

All of my horses are barefoot. Just two need boots for trail riding or for gravel roads. The asphalt roads don't bother them, and they actually do better than the shod horses at our barn. They slip less and stride out nicer.

A hoof supplement might help her feet grow out quicker, but only better farrier work will help them grow out properly. I really like Source Focus HF. I saw very good results with a mare that had some separation issues. Her feet grew about 50% faster than usual and the growth was very tight and "shiney".
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post #12 of 30 Old 03-17-2011, 07:16 PM
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As I've said, I think educating ourselves as owners on important topics such as this is SO important. I'd get yourself educated & make whatever decisions you feel are best for your HORSE, not the other 'people around here', because you'll find that 'people' are inclined to judge regardless what you do, regardless whether they have any good reason to or not. Dare to be different, if it's in the best interest of your horse. If you only go blindly on other's opinions, among other probs, you'll find this leads to huge confusion anyway, because there are a lot of conflicting opinions floating around!

In addition to the links in my signature, & are 2 more excellent sources to get you started.

Now for more of my opinions...

Firstly a couple more questions... diet, nutrition & management(living, environment, exercise, work, footing, etc) are very important factors for healthy hooves, so can you tell us more about those things?

With regard to your question of hoof supplements, yes, a good quality, complete(because hooves aren't out there alone) nutritional supp is generally a good idea, because horse's diets are generally lacking in a number of nutrients. is a fantastic service/program for diet/nutritional info & advice. is also a good site for some general info on diet as it relates to hoof health.

Yes, her feet are quite imbalanced laterally, quite high heeled, fronts are quite unhealthy. Backs appear more laterally imbalanced than in original pics, BUT I can't judge the farrier's work, because it appears she's been in those shoes for more than a few weeks, so don't know how much overgrowth, don't know just how bad her feet were when he last visited, don't know how unevenly she may or may not travel(she may need bodywork too).... etc.

I would however, whether you decide to keep him or otherwise, get her trimmed more frequently - especially in the state she's in, if you want them to get better, they are overdue & need to be worked on regularly to *keep* them in better shape, rather than being allowed to get further out of shape before being 'corrected'. That is one reason to do away with shoes, in the meantime at least, as you don't want to have to do shoe resets every 2-3 weeks, and her feet will also grow better, quicker, less deformed without. I definitely disagree with "It will go better if you keep her with shoes, but it'll take more time.", especially if you're intending to ride/work her on hard ground.

What's the go with that ridgy looking line around the coronet at the toes? Is it just wet periople, camera trick, or is it cracking/abscessing??

About the biggest single problem I see with conventional shoes is peripheral loading - they force the walls to take the entire load of the animal and provide no support for the base of the hoof. Effectively hanging the horse from the lamellar tissue that attaches walls to P3. This is not great for a healthy foot, especially on hard, flat surfaces, but when the lamellar connections have already broken down and the hooves are already weak/detached, it exacerbates & speeds the damage. Therefore, if you choose to keep her shod, I would definitely avoid roads & other hard surfaces, and don't to anything above a walk on them. This problem can be alleviated to some degree if you have her shod with dome pads or such though.

With regard to 'can you ever shoe again', well yes, once the hooves are healthy, I'm not sure(tho not sure it's not either) that shoeing is *necessarily* detrimental, if riding on yielding ground, but generally there is no good reason to and if your horse requires protection/support for some surfaces, there are many great boots on the market these days, which are generally a much better option.

...which brings me to another of your questions; "So will there be a risk of her going lame or should she be ok?" Yes, there is definitely a big risk, IME, that she will go lame if kept shod, especially if ridden on hard ground. If she is kept bare and well trimmed and other factors(such as diet, management) taken care of, she should be sound and also start to develop strong, healthy feet. People often just blunder into 'barefoot' like they blunder into shoes - they have little if any knowledge on the subject & just expect to pull the shoes & continue on their happy way... so disclaim it as 'didn't work' if their horse is 'ouchy'. There's more to it than that, to keep a horse healthy, be it having shoes or not.

Horses can't feel their feet very well when shod, so will tend to just blunder along on anything, whereas bare(even strong & healthy feet) can feel what they're walking on(even feel what they're about to walk on!), so adjust their stride accordingly, to prevent damage. Therefore, walking on sharp rocks, they tend to '***** foot'.... just as you or I would if bare, even though not 'lame'.

BUT they can also '*****foot' because of tender feet of course, or otherwise wear away too much hoof when bare, and comfort is also very important to the way a horse moves/lands & the way a horse uses their feet is very important to good hoof function and therefore development, healing, circulation, etc. Therefore it is always a good idea to protect/support their feet with boots or such where/when necessary, to allow comfortable movement. Also, even bare hooves can cop too much peripheral loading on hard, flat surfaces, so if you do a lot of road work, even if booted, pads can be a good idea too.
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post #13 of 30 Old 03-18-2011, 06:40 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the great advice ! Yep she is due to have her feet done. The farrier will be out next week..

She lives outside 24/7..Right now the ground is very mucky and horrible..But it seems to be drying out a bit.

She was being ridden 2 or 3 times a week in a sand arena. She has not been out on the road yet but I was planning to take her out during summer.

When she is outside she gets access to hay 24/7 and the grass is starting to grow back in so she is liking that a bit more now. She also gets cool mix and chaff along with carron oil, feed Xcell supplement, superSound ( For her joints ) And Apple Cider Vinegar.

When the farrier came out last time he said she was wearing her hooves down a lot herself so he took hardly anything off them..Her back hooves have not been touched by a farrier at all since I have had her.Do they look ok or should I have them trimmed?
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post #14 of 30 Old 03-18-2011, 07:57 AM
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Just if you get the shoes off of her, watch your farrier and make sure he doesnt take off sole or frog. Only take of flaky frog and sole. Cause if he takes more off your horse will sure be sore when she doesnt have shoes on.
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post #15 of 30 Old 03-18-2011, 08:10 AM
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Her front hooves definitely need to be trimmed and reshaped. I agree that there doesn't appear to be a need to have shoes on her. Likely he will do simply maintenance on the rear hooves. Not much, but some minor flaring is evident. Normal.

As for not trimming sole and frog -- that depends. I used to listen to that religiously and found it is not always necessarily the case. It depends on the horse, depends on the conditions. By the time I waited for the sole on my one mare to be flaky, it had overgrown substantially. Took some doing for me to learn that because it had been drilled into my head not to trim toe callus. So, if he does, don't panic. Definitely talk with him though so you are informed about what he is doing.
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post #16 of 30 Old 03-18-2011, 08:40 AM
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Sand arena should be fine for her without boots or anything.

Re her back feet, yeah, they look like they could be pretty reasonable, superficially. The imbalance may be a body issue & don't think there were any sole shots to consider(?) but the flaring (obvious in the pic I attached) and the apparent high heels look in need of attention at least.

Re feed & supps, unfortunately there are a number of feeds called 'cool mix' so don't know which one. If the Xcell supp is as well balanced as it's advertised to be, you shouldn't need to double up giving supersound, or the added calcium in the carron oil(tho cold pressed oil such as linseed is good). If you don't know about these things, I'd get onto or such and work out what & how much of what you need.
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post #17 of 30 Old 03-18-2011, 08:42 AM
Green Broke
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I agree with Loosie and Lovestoride. Both of my horses are barefoot but my former horse had shoes and would be tender after shoeing and I always wanted to take him barefoot. Barefoot is better for them. God sent them here barefoot!

As for going over the asphalt - metal shoes are actually harder on their feet because of the vibrations of the metal. I have been studying barefoot trimming here lately...had a barefoot trimmer come out to the barn and give us a clinic which was wonderful. The sites Loosey gave you have wonderful information.

This is an aside on vibrations of metal...when we went to pick Biscuit up it was dark...long story short...he came flying out of the Brenderup trailer fast and the lead rope was coming through hubby's open hands. The end of it whipped around and grabbed his two middle fingers of this right hand and bent them all the way back. Ouch! My cousin is a nurse and told him that night they may be broke and he should go to the dr and have them xrayed. He didn't. Now 5 months later they still hurt and are still FAT looking.

He is a golfer. Every time he has tried to play it is painful. He said hitting the ball with his steel shafted clubs is torture and the vibrations hurt too bad. Hitting with the graphite shafts aren't near as painful. He is going to have the hand xrayed and they will probably have to rebreak and set his can not live without golf in his world. But it made me think about the vibrations of shoes on a horses hoof. Gaaa...

Horses can't feel their feet when shod. Their feet are kind of numb. Once the shoes are off the feeling starts coming back and yeah...they are sometimes ouchie. With proper trimming and a little time the feet should be fine.

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post #18 of 30 Old 03-19-2011, 04:25 AM
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Originally Posted by QOS View Post
As for going over the asphalt - metal shoes are actually harder on their feet because of the vibrations of the metal.
Yeah, bit of a toss up whether the peripheral loading or the vibrations are worse I reckon, and they both depend - on how the horse is shod, what speed, etc, etc. But I think peripheral loading is worse because on hard, flat ground it effects the horse even standing still. But on the subject of vibrations, I recently heard that jackhammer workers develop reduced sensation in their hands due to the vibrations causing nerve damage(& nerve cells generally don't regenerate!)... and they've measured the 'shock' levels and found that jackhammer vibrations are nothing compared to that of a shod hoof!

two middle fingers of this right hand and bent them all the way back. Ouch! My cousin is a nurse and told him that night they may be broke and he should go to the dr and have them xrayed. He didn't. Now 5 months later they still hurt and are still FAT looking.
Hmmm, came off my horse about 6 months ago & landed on my fingers, causing the same sort of thing.... my attitude then was 'she'll be right', but in hind sight.... they still hurt sometimes & I don't think I'll ever get my rings off those fingers without cutting them!
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post #19 of 30 Old 03-19-2011, 07:09 PM
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As in nature, if you ride in sand it will act like an emery board for your nails and she'll self trim. My one horse that wore shoes prior to my getting him is the only one that's had hoof troubles caused by wearing shoes. The St. Louis mounted patrol has pulled the shoes off their horses and the horses are actually healthier because the blood circulates better in the hoof.
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post #20 of 30 Old 03-20-2011, 03:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Saddlebag View Post
As in nature, if you ride in sand it will act like an emery board for your nails and she'll self trim.
Sorry, but from what I've seen 'in nature', that doesn't generally hold up. Depends how hard the surface, etc. The brumbies of Fraser Island(Queensland sand island) and also of South Western Australia(sand country) that I've seen tend to have quite overgrown, flared feet.
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