Maintaining a Barefoot Horse..?
 
 

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Maintaining a Barefoot Horse..?

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  • Durasol horse
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    08-26-2010, 11:48 AM
  #1
Foal
Maintaining a Barefoot Horse..?

I just recently bought an 11 year old Shire/Morgan gelding. According to his previous owners, he has been barefoot for the past 7 years (with a natural barefoot trimmer).. When they bought him as a 4 year old, his feet had pretty much been neglected. The man did his own trimming, but apparently not very often or very well, so he developed a crack in one hoof I've already asked about on here. The crack has not caused any problems since I've had him, so I'm no longer worried about that as long as his hooves are maintained.

Anyway, I recently had my (traditional) farrier out to put shoes on my horses since we're going trail riding over Labor Day Weekend and the terrain is a lot more rocky than at home. I didn't think to mention how large Doc's feet are and it ended up that my farrier didn't have shoes or nails in the correct size for him.. He said that he has good feet and it probably wouldn't be an issue at all to keep him barefoot.. He still wasn't due for a trim yet, so I didn't have that done since I wasn't getting shoes.

Anyway, I was just wondering about maintaining him. Getting him used to rockier terrain and such. He gets a little gimpy over gravel occasionally, but nothing like my mare. We only occasionally go riding on different terrain (mostly we just ride the ditches, hit the occasional gravel road, or do dirt paths), so is it even possible to keep them barefoot without them getting sore when we do go?

I've been curious about going barefoot for a while (or at least keeping Doc barefoot), but I don't even know where to start finding good information, so if you have any suggested links or reading, I'd appreciate it.. Keeping barefoot horses is not the norm where I am (my own farrier scoffs at it), so I guess I don't even know where to start.

Here's some pictures from the day I bought him.









And here are some that I just ran out to take. Sorry for the shadows covering everything.. ha





     
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    08-26-2010, 11:53 AM
  #2
Weanling
Maybe its just me.. but that crack seems to be getting wider? And your lucky to have the terrain you have, where I'm at- the ground is so WET that the horses are tender when they walk on the limestone road... and a lot of their hooves are so soft its crazy!
     
    08-26-2010, 12:18 PM
  #3
Foal
A bit towards the bottom, yes, but its been 4 weeks since his last trim. He typically goes 6 weeks according to his former farrier, who also said it tends to grow out (widen towards the bottom) more between trims.. Its been his "norm" for the past 7 years according to both the past owner and farrier and I suppose I would make sense for it to behave that way, because it does cause problems when allowed to go too long between trims. He's no more gimpy on that foot though, so I don't think we'll have any real problems caused by his cracked hoof.

Ha ha It was wet here for quite some time actually, and we were suffering for it, but its been better and its business as usual again. Hopefully it dries out where you are! Soft feet are not fun to deal with..
     
    08-26-2010, 01:52 PM
  #4
Green Broke
I would want more breakover at his toes, so when his foot is on flat ground, that crack doesn't touch the ground at all. That will help the crack grow out, but you have to maintain that breakover. Your farrier can show you how to touch it up between trims. The other front foot should be done the same, for your horse's comfort.

To keep his feet tough, use Durasol on the bottoms 3-4 times a week (every other day) and work him more on those gravel roads. When he stops gimping on the gravel roads, you can quit the durasol and just keep working him over gravel at least once a week, preferably twice.

Trotting on pavement also helps toughen feet. Five to ten minutes of trotting on roads 2-3 times a week will help compact the hooves and toughen the soles.
     
    08-26-2010, 04:51 PM
  #5
Weanling
Its constantly wet down here from what I understand. (North Florida) I guess its been an issue for quite a while.
     
    09-02-2010, 04:17 PM
  #6
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by luvs2ride1979    
I would want more breakover at his toes, so when his foot is on flat ground, that crack doesn't touch the ground at all. That will help the crack grow out, but you have to maintain that breakover. Your farrier can show you how to touch it up between trims. The other front foot should be done the same, for your horse's comfort.

To keep his feet tough, use Durasol on the bottoms 3-4 times a week (every other day) and work him more on those gravel roads. When he stops gimping on the gravel roads, you can quit the durasol and just keep working him over gravel at least once a week, preferably twice.

Trotting on pavement also helps toughen feet. Five to ten minutes of trotting on roads 2-3 times a week will help compact the hooves and toughen the soles.

Thanks for the suggestions.. I could not get in any earlier with my farrier (I'm scheduled for next week though), but I will be talking with him about how he is trimmed at that time.

The Durasole has been working wonders.. When I went in to pick some up, my tack shop owner spoke very highly of it, so that definitely helped me decide it was a good decision. Sorry I haven't had time to post about that until now. He's no longer gimping over gravel.. I've been trotting some over pavement, but I don't know if its helping as I'm sure the Durasole is, but thanks again, for these suggestions.

In the meantime, I've been looking for a barefoot trimmer. My own farrier seems to want to put shoes on next week, but with as well as he's doing, I don't know if I want to.
     

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