How long do I wait before I put shoes back on? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 09-29-2010, 04:58 PM Thread Starter
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How long do I wait before I put shoes back on?


I recently purchased a 2 year old OTTB filly. Her feet were in bad shape, so long, the lady I got her from wasn't sure the last time she was shod. She only has shoes on her front feet.

I am not a big believer in riding 2 year olds. After discussing with my farrier, we decided to have her be barefoot for the winter, and if we need to, put shoes on when she begins being riding more in the spring. He thought her feet looked good other than length. Our facilities have large run ins where the horses spend the night, and big grass pastures during the day. Nothing tough as far as footing goes.

Her shoes were pulled Saturday, and she was ouchie until Tuesday. She also was stocked up Sunday and yesterday, I'm guessing from her feet hurting and not wanting to move.

She was much better today, legs looked better, still a little puffy. I hand walked her for 15 minutes, and she seems fine, except a ouchie step occasionally. Her legs went down after the walk - which is why I think she was just stocked up.

My question is, do I give up and put shoes back on? The involvement of her legs make me nervous. Plus I want to be about to pony/ long rein her- she is supposed to be in training. Is it worth it to have her go through all this if she is just going to need shoes when her work picks up?

I have researched alot online, and have read a ton about horseshoes being the devil, I just don't buy that. I want to do whatever makes her sound, happy, and comfortable.

Thanks so much for your opinion.
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post #2 of 5 Old 09-30-2010, 01:18 AM
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Firstly, I'm a hoof care practitioner & my opinion is very much along the 'natural' lines(tho the 'natural' lable grates, can't think of better). I also do not buy that shoes are necessarily 'evil' either. I am not adverse to horses being shod, assuming of course it is well done, the horse is well managed, etc, etc.

However I do think they are *generally*(there are exceptions) unhelpful & often detrimental to unhealthy feet. I do believe that shoes only mask problems(can elaborate on why later if you like). Just because this horse may have walked out OK with shoes & was only 'lame' when deshod, doesn't mean the shoes were helping her, except in a palliative fashion. In fact, especially as she seems to have such serious probs & is still only a baby, IME effectively 'ignoring' the issue by masking it with shoes, I would expect her to be chronically lame even with shoes before long.

Therefore I would personally advise that it is better to keep a horse in this condition unshod. *That is not to say she should necessarily be left barefoot tho*. So in answer to your question, I would wait until her feet are healthy & strong before considering putting shoes on her. There are other, generally appropriate & far better methods of protecting feet when necessary these days.

Some hoof pics would be helpful, to get a better idea of the state of her feet & what may be required. Also info on diet & management. Diet is one of the single biggest factors in hoof health, and unfortunately, intensively kept & fed equine athletes generally have pretty unhealthy diet & feed regimes. Eg. starchy or sugary feeds are generally bad for horses, and laminitis is one regular problem that this sort of diet causes(through something called 'hind gut acidosis' and also insulin resistance). Large, infrequent meals also add to the problems, for horses designed to be 'trickle feeders'.

So, without further info, of course I don't know, but from experience, I imagine that diet, management and being shod at such a young age are the big parts to her problem. I imagine she's a 'typical' flat footed, weak heeled TB? If she is so sore just in your soft paddock, then it would seem she has quite serious problems and I would advise not leaving her bare, but using boots, pads, Vettec SoleGuard or such, to provide the protection & support she needs to the bottom of her feet. It is not usual for a horse, even with severely compromised feet to require 24/7 protection/support for too long tho, so long as they get the right care. It is usually a matter of weeks before a horse will be comfortable at least in their paddock. It will depend on many factors tho as to whether she may continue to need boots or such for work, or for certain situations.
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post #3 of 5 Old 09-30-2010, 02:40 AM
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Ring your farrier and discuss it with him/her. They have seen the feet and also have access to hoof testers. He will be able to assess if something else is going on.
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post #4 of 5 Old 09-30-2010, 06:15 AM
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I tried my guy without shoes for a couple of weeks this summer...I finally caved and put them back on after 2 weeks. I couldn't stand to see him hurt, plus he was in training, and I was losing time there......I may try again in winter. I do think next time I will use boots to help. I also have been told that Venice turpentine helps harden them and they will be less sore.
Good luck.....

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post #5 of 5 Old 09-30-2010, 06:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Gluey33 View Post
Ring your farrier and discuss it with him/her. They have seen the feet and also have access to hoof testers. He will be able to assess if something else is going on.
Great advice.
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