If you know Hoofs-please read-(LONG)

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If you know Hoofs-please read-(LONG)

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  • Short hoofs

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    10-18-2010, 08:12 AM
If you know Hoofs-please read-(LONG)

I have a problem.....I bought a 9 year old mare last spring, she is a Big and Broad TWH. We rode her all spring in rough terrain. Up and down hills with lots of rocks. SHE DID GREAT!! Here in the South (Georgia) we take the summer off and don't ride. So the horses were just in the pasture and we only fed them enough to keep them coming to the barn when we called. To say she is a easy keeper is a huge understatement! She got fat over the summer (the other horses didn't).

About 5 weeks ago we had the trail horses shod, her feet were not real good. They were short and chipped. The farrier had to trim her close and more upright than I would liked to have. But I understood he had to work with what was there.

ANYWAY... When we went on our first trailride I expected the horses to be out of shape so we took it easy with lots of breaks. She was about 100-150 lbs overweight so I worked her but gave her plenty of rest and breaks. On the level areas and the uphill trails she did fine, exactly like I would expect. But on the downhill she was horrible. She stumbled and on the second weekend we rode she fell to her knees and I came off. We were on a old loggin road that was going slightly downhill with some gravel on it. I started noticing that on all the downhill trails she was extremely tenderfooted. I thought perhaps it was because she was overweight, carrying me (a big girl myself) and had short hoofs with not much toe. That was 5 weeks ago and she has not gotten better, maybe worse. On the flat and uphill she is just fine. Going down hill she is extremely tender footed (I think just on the front) and she zig zags on the downhill. I kept thinking that as her foot grew it would get better but it has not.

My hubby has a buddy that thought she might be foundering(sp??) because of the weight and short toe, thought the shoe might causing it. He came by and he doesn't think that is it.... I am wondering if anyone has any good ideas. I have a call into my farrier and will talk with him, but I am now becoming concerned.

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    10-19-2010, 01:02 AM

First & foremost, to get some good info out of us lot, you really need to give us hoof pics at least, showing a range of angles, and as much detail as possible. I've attached an example of the angles that give the best idea.

Secondly, it really pays to do your own homework & educate yourself on the principles of hoof health & function, as there are many factors that are down to you, not to mention many substandard 'experts' out there. If you don't understand the principles you won't be able to take the necessary measures to help your horses grow the best feet, or know whether your 'expert' of choice is actually doing a good job. Of course with so little info, I am not willing to make judgements on your farrier at all, but will say that 'trimming her close' and 'more upright' rang alarm bells & would cause me to analyse his skills & knowledge carefully. Hoofrehab.com is one of many great resources to begin your learning.

As for her downhill problem, to start with, having 'stood her up', you've likely worn high heels before, so can imagine how unstable & uncomfortable you'd be going down a steep hill in them? The other thing is, depending on what 'trim close' meant, he may have pared or rasped into her sole, which has therefore thinned it and left a lot less protection under the tip of her coffin bone. Therefore she may be more sensitive & also prone to stone bruising. I would be protecting her soles to keep her comfortable & prevent bruising which often progresses to abscesses.

Another point is that if she's been out of work & out of shape for a while, particularly if she's in softish, wettish environment, her feet would have lost any condition they had and become softer, tenderer generally. Especially going downhill, horses tend to impact more on their heels(that is good), so if heels are tender, even without the toes being sheared off, she'd likely be 'tippy toeing' to avoid further discomfort.

The last point is about her weight & possibility of founder. Yes, horses are more susceptible to laminitis, which can lead to founder, when they're fat. It is also something that like diabetes in people, once they have developed the sensitivity, is incurable, so must be carefully managed for life. Therefore I would strive not to allow the horse to become overweight, and I would be careful of how much rich grass your horses get & make sure they are adequately supplemented for balanced nutrition, as that also plays a part in susceptibility. Based on your info, there is nothing to say her problems are because of founder tho. Of course there's not enough info to say it's not either...

I would personally get her shoes off first & foremost and use hoof boots, Vettec Sole Guard or such, to provide protection & support for her feet until they can become strong & sound. If you wish to keep her shod, I would ensure she had pads under her shoes at least, to provide some protection.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg hoofpics angles.JPG (28.4 KB, 97 views)
    10-19-2010, 07:55 AM
Thank you for replying.

My farrier came out yesterday evening.(He is not the farrier we used to put these current shoes on, he was out of town) He checked her over throughly and said her hoofs were great. There was plenty of hoof there and there was no founder. He said the angle was perfect. We walked her we checked her foot everywhich way except x-ray and he could not find anything wrong with her foot.

He will come back on Saturday and shoe both horses. He is going to use some type of foaming gell stuff (cannot remember the name) that goes in under the shoe and it will not allow rocks/dirt etc.. .to get under the shoe but will cushion it some, he is also going to use the grinder and grind out alittle of the shoe to on the inside so it won't press against the sole at all. (I have not seen this so I'm not positive I'm telling it correctly)

Now it seems that I just need to put her on a diet. Any help out there???

What I am planning at this point and what we have done for the last few days is... for 24 hours I am putting her in a stall with small amt of feed and small amt of hay. Then the next 24 hours turn her out. Repeat. She seems to have lost some weight already but I am NOT a good jugdge of that. My hubby thinks she has lost a little. I am going to e-mail her former owner and talk to them about her. I know they had told me she was an easy keeper and they had a problem with weight.. I anyone knows a better way to get the weight off please let me know.

    10-19-2010, 06:37 PM
You may be asking for trouble with your new feed schedule. It might be better to even her intake out - eliminate the grain and give her a good amount of hay and/or turn out on a daily basis. By basically withholding all but minimal feed one day and turning her out the next, you could be heading for colic...
    10-19-2010, 09:59 PM
Originally Posted by RhondaLynn    
He checked her over throughly and said her hoofs were great.
Then did he give an explanation of why she's having difficulty, if everything's so perfect? Why is he grinding out the shoe & using foam if there's nothing wrong?? Sorry, but without more info, your report doesn't give me any reason to believe what your farrier seems to.

grind out alittle of the shoe to on the inside so it won't press against the sole at all.
It is very possible, by the sound of it(without more info & pix only educated guess tho), that she does indeed need protection for her feet, not just shoes. But forcing the walls to support the entire horse, rather than spreading the load & allowing the soles to also play a part in support as they are meant to, is generally problematic. Of course there are exceptions; if the horse were foundered or otherwise needed the toe sole to be relieved temporarily, or if the other guy did indeed thin the sole there...

Now it seems that I just need to put her on a diet. Any help out there???
Sorry again to sound negative, but agree with dee - your diet plan for her is not a good one!

Horses are best not locked up at all, so avoid this if possible & try to find an alternative. Of course I appreciate it is sometimes the only option tho. Googling 'paddock paradise' will give you some better ideas that you may be able to implement. If you do need to lock her up part time to keep her from rich grass, it's best to keep her off the grass during the day & let her out at night, as sunlight & photosynthesis is what produces the sugars in grass, so it's lower at night. Also if she's kept locked up, you need to take her out for lots of exercise.

Horses have evolved to be 'trickle feeders', eating little & often & it's not healthy for them to go hungry for many hrs. This causes stomach ulcers, colic, etc. Therefore I would leave her with free choice hay, BUT if you put it in a small holed or doubled hay net, or some other form of 'slow feeder', she'll have to work to get little bits & won't be able to gorge on it. Therefore she'll eat less, but won't be left to go hungry. If she doesn't lose weight with this, then you can progress to soaking her hay, to leach out more of the sugars. Regardless of their size, it is not healthy for a horse to drop or gain a lot of weight suddenly either. It is best done gradually.

What is the other 'feed' she's getting? I wouldn't advise giving her any, aside from a vit & min supp to ensure she gets balanced nutrition. If you are going to keep feeding her, ensure it's a very low-cal feed with no grains or sugar(molasses) in it.

Safergrass.org feedxl.com and many other good sites will give you more info on healthy feeding practices. Barehoofcare.com (also explains when shoes may be beneficial or not) is another good site to learn about hoof care. Do your homework asap & you will learn what is required for good management, health & feeding of a horse.
    10-20-2010, 08:15 AM
My farrier said her hoofs are great. Angle was good. He is only going to put the gel stuff because we cannot figure out anything else.(my hubby suggested it and the farrier said it would not hurt anything) He is not positive he is going to drill the inside part of the shoe but that is a consideration. NOT because we can find anything wrong but just trying to help. So far these things are not set in stone, it is just possibilities that we are considering. We cannot find anything else wrong. The only thing different this fall compared to last spring is her weight and slighly shorter toe.
All my horses (4) are in a pasture and stay out 24/7. This summer the only "feed" they got was some pelleted grain mixture, and we only gave them enough to make them "think" they were getting fed in order to keep them coming to the barn when we called. I have ordered a grazing muzzle it should be here this week. It is so dry here that there is just not much grass in the pasture now compare to the great grass we have had most of the summer. I hate putting horses in a stall other than for a few hours. I agree 100% that it causes problems, but I felt that we needed to get a jump on the weight. She is not starving in the stall, there is a small amt. Of hay given 2x during that 24 hours. But, like I said I have ordered a muzzle and that way she can be out in the pasture moving around.

Thank you to everyone who has responded.

    10-20-2010, 09:53 AM
With equipak they NEED to deep seat the shoe to help hold it in.. that is normal when dealing with equipak

I would LOVE to see good pics of her hooves
    10-20-2010, 09:56 AM
The sugars in the grass may be high because it is stressed.. I ahve been in your shoes and it stinks big time.

Put 15lbs of hay in a hay bag then put another hay bag over it or buy a nibble net type of hay bag...

Be sure she is getting the nutrition she needs diet does not mean deprive her of the needed nutrition it mean limit her calories.

No grains at all no corn, oats or barely aloowed, no rice bran or alfalfa pellets

What I do with my girl is weigh her hay daily ... I keep track of everything she eats (I wish somebody would do this for ME and my diet)

She is in shoes and pads or pak year round
    10-20-2010, 06:29 PM
If you would like any more specific info, you need to give us some hoof pics at least.

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