How long for feet to toughen up?

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How long for feet to toughen up?

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    06-13-2010, 10:25 PM
How long for feet to toughen up?

Have read some of the other old thread about horses who have had their shoes removed and been tenderfooted-nothing says how long it usually takes for the feet to toughen up? Ballpark time frame is fine. My newer guy has wonderful feet. Hard, never chip, etc, just beautiful, and he has only been shod in the front since he was trail ridden in TN prior to my purchasing him. The rocks there are very large and sharp, so he had front shoes. I decided this week to pull them and try him without.We have a few small stones, but pretty soft footing in general. He is now (naturally) very tender, especially on the left, and especially on the stones, but really even in the soft indoor. Wondering how long it may take for him to get better-he is in training, so don't want to lose much time. Trainer got hurt (on another horse) last week, and I am pretty sure he won't be riding this week. Or-should I just have the shoes put back on tomorrow and toughen him another time? Would Venice Turpentine help? Yukky stuff, but I have heard it works. Thanks so much.
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    06-14-2010, 04:58 AM
Have you though of trying hoof boots?
    06-14-2010, 07:28 AM
Yeah-but frankly I have yet to meet a person who really thinks they stay on, and don't irritate the pasterns/coronets. Plus, by the time I mail order them, fit them, etc, I am thinking he may be ok?
    06-14-2010, 02:25 PM
They make some boots with gators that I've read stay on pretty good. I actually did a search for hoof boots here last night and there were a few people that used em consistently for trail riding through mud and water and rocks etc... And they noted which model they preferred that would stay on through all of it.

I have the regular easyboots and in the winter they would fall off. And I think it was from the rear hoof coming up and stepping on the back of the boot and causing it to pop off. But gators are said to stop that from happening.

And your horse will transition quicker with boots and pads. Don't forget the pads, they're the magical bit that makes it work so much quicker.

But it's hard to say how long it'll be before your horses feet toughen up. It could be a couple weeks or it could be a couple months or even a year. And it all depends on the current condition of your horses hooves and wether or not you use boots and pads. But with boots and pads you can ride on gravel from the first day typically, so you won't have any down time.

Another thing is movement. Lack of movement with proper heel first landings will cause it to take much longer. But lots of movement WITH heel first landings will cause the process to go so much quicker. It's this that will cause them to grow a stronger foot quick. But it's imperative that they are having heel first landings.

And with you saying that even with soft footing your horse seems sore causes me to wanna ask....thrush?

Another thing with your horse being sore in soft footing is possibly the heels contracted while in the shoes and now the frogs are small and withered?

A paddock paradise will allow your horse to get lots of movement which will also speed up the transition period. They'll just be out there all day walking around. This is much healthier for em compared to just standing in the field.

Proper trimming and proper movement, "heel first landings", are what will speed up the transition.

Do you have any professional barefoot trimmers in your area? They can take a look at the hoof and have a good idea what's going on. Here's a site with a, "trimmers list", link on the left side where you can see if there's someone in your area.

The Horse's Hoof, News for Barefoot Hoofcare

But it's hard to answer your question without lots of details. Though I can confidently say that your horse will transition much quicker with boots and pads than without em.
    06-14-2010, 02:51 PM
I used the plain easyboots while transitioning a horse to barefoot. With the little rubber grip protector thingees taken off, they stayed on all the time. I would reccomend hoof boots, for sure. Seems like it took about 3 months for that horse's feet to toughen up. . . He was a TB with thin, funky feet that had always been shod. . . And I live where it is very rocky, so hopefully your horse would progress faster. Good luck!
    06-14-2010, 08:21 PM
There are so many different boot types out there nowadays.

If you want something to stay on whiel he is turned out and for a few days, you can try the easyboot glue ons - They don't sit over the coronet either.

Easyboot gloves and I believe epics have gaitors and don't sit on the coronet - Gloves are widely used by endurance riders so need to be pretty tough and stay on well.

Old macs do sit over the coronet but stay on very well, unless you ride through wet sand as this compromises the velcro.
    06-14-2010, 09:10 PM
I really do not want to do boots. Honestly, it makes NO sense to me how this could help toughen his feet -yes, it would make him rideable during the process. I liken it to me in the summer. I go all winter wearing shoes, and in summer I go barefoot all the time. It takes me a couple weeks before the stones do not hurt. Is the horse different?
If the horse needs to go back in his shoes, then so be it, but for now, I am going to give him a couple of weeks, and see what happens. We do not have any specific barefoot trimmers. I (as well as most of my friends) use the same farrier and he is very good. We all do know that he does have a tendency to trim too short now and then, and we remind him not to. However, last month, this horse was off-just for one day-on one of the fronts-even tho the shoes were replaced! So, not too sure what is going on.

Yes-he is sore even in the indoor on the sand/rubber mix. He does not have thrush. Of that I am sure.
I go out every day, do a little ground work at a walk. He will be SO desensitized by the time this is over I will be able to do anything! He was wearing a hula hoop on his head today, while walking across a tarp, carrying a bag on cans on his back! Lol! Poor thing! :))
    06-14-2010, 09:27 PM
Yep, it is different - Shoes compromise the circulation in the foot and make it impossible for the 'landing gear' to do it's job absorbing the impact of the hoof hitting the ground. With reduced circulation the frog contracts and the sole thins. Circulation and function have to be restored for the horse to work comfortably barefoot.

Boots help for many reasons. The main issue with horses coming out of shoes is that the frog doesn't touch the ground/hasn't been touching the ground, which means that the horse has been landing toe first - this means that the 'landing gear' (The combination of the frog and digital cushion) can't do it's job - Absorbing the shock - So the shock travels straight up the hoof wall and into the joints which aren't equipped to deal with it. Another consequence is that due to lack of use the landing gear can't facilitate circulation (When in use it converts the concussion into heat energy in the blood and pumps the blood around the foot) which means the frog and sole grow very slowly.

Boots can be used in the interim while proper trimming works towards getting the frog back on the ground (Which is essential for barefoot performance). You would use properly padded boots so that the frog and the digital cushion are actually absorbing the impact - this will help to re establish circulation, which facilitates growth of the frog and sole, which will mean the foot can be brought back into the correct parameters quicker. In this phase, boots aren't so much for protection as they are for re-establishing the function of the hoof. Once the function is re-established, the sole will grow quicker and thicker, therefore getting rid of the ouchiness.

How do your horses feet look? How long has he been shod? Is his frog anywhere near touching the ground?
    06-14-2010, 10:36 PM
Originally Posted by franknbeans    
If the horse needs to go back in his shoes, then so be it, but for now, I am going to give him a couple of weeks, and see what happens. We do not have any specific barefoot trimmers. I (as well as most of my friends) use the same farrier and he is very good. We all do know that he does have a tendency to trim too short now and then, and we remind him not to.
I think you're just going to have to play it by ear and see how fast he toughens up, and stay on top of not being trimmed too short. Even a horse that has been barefoot for years can be ouchy on soft ground if too much sole is taken off the toe.
    06-14-2010, 10:44 PM
I was told at the clinic I went to on the weekend that we should never touch the sole in the toe area - Only a small amount beside the frog and the bars and into the heel corners of needed.

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