) with Barefoot. First thing first tho, I think it's vital that you educate yourself on the principles of hoof function, soundness & rehab, so that you can make *informed* decisions, rather than just having to take the word of the 'experts' at hand. That being your vet's, farrier's, or us.... Study the pros & cons of all treatments. As previously mentioned, hoofrehab.com is one great place to start.
Originally Posted by sillybunny11486 View Post
ill post a photo after she gets trimmed. ....barefoot is an option, but not right now... as the ground is getting colder, if she transitions now I think it would cause her more pain then if I were to wait till early spring. Boots arent really an option, unless I use them just for riding... and I don't ride her. Part of her problems could be small feet, and contracted heals. But it mght be somewhat genetic (shes paint x qh) (her predisposal to hoof problems.)
We'll likely need more than one pic to tell you anything much. Front & side on from near ground level, and a couple of different angles of her sole, inc sighting down from heel, to get an idea of depth & heel height would be good.
Regarding barefoot & 'transitioning', I tend to agree with you, that if she's lame, the ground's hard, being bare may not give her the support & protection she needs, and she needs to at least start some rehabilitation before 'transitioning' will be an appropriate option. BUT I strongly disagree with metal shoes being the best(well, being any good) option in this problem, as they don't provide the necessary support and protection, and can prevent the hooves functioning properly.
Why aren't boots an option? Hopefully(& generally it's the case) boots are only necessary for riding, or exercising the horse on hard ground. If the horse is lame enough to warrant protection being needed 24/7 it is usually only in the short term. Especially if there is some prob specifically with boots, or with outlaying the money for them(I sure know that prob!), alternatives such as Vettec Sole Guard or Equicast are effective & also cheaper full time alternatives.
Regarding genetics, while of course genetic flaws are definitely possible, and genetics does govern hoof form to some degree, the biggest factor is management & exercise of horses from a young age. Of course, diet & regular *good* trimming are also imperative factors. Any hoof conformation is 'predisposed' to various hoof problems, given the wrong conditions.
i talked to my farrier and we both agreed that right now is not an optimal time to pull her shoes. The whole point is to get more circulation in her hoof. Farrier- "The only problem I see with taking shoes off now is with the ground hardening with winter she will wear down her feet to nothing and her foot wont grow with it being cold."
Regarding circulation, yes, removing the shoes should help there, but the main way to increase circulation is ensuring *correct* hoof function, ie heel first impacts, which will require the horse to have enough heel protection *& support* to want & be able to do that. Obviously the shoes can't do this, so whether or not you choose to keep her shod, I would advise pads with frog support.
Regarding her feet wearing down, this is generally unlikely, especially if you're not riding her a lot on hard surfaces. IME it might also be a question of perspective, as many farriers consider a healthy length of wall(at or near level with the sole plane) to be 'worn down to nothing'. The other thing is, if her feet are shod and quite contracted, as you already recognise, circulation is reduced, so therefore so is growth. Her feet should begin to grow quicker without them. Exercise/more good hoof function also increases growth, and also the more they're 'used', the more the hoof puts out. By the same token, if you don't 'use it, you lose it', which is likely why she may have little growth now. You're right tho that feed/protein also effects growth, so if you feel the need, increase her protein in winter - eg. Alfalfa hay.
Hard ground usually agrivates all horses with navicular, so I could definitely see her flaring up even more. She wont even walk up to the barn when she looses a shoe,
As previously stated, I agree that being left bare is possibly not best for her ATM. Especially in light of the above. I agree that hard ground is more painful to 'nav' horses. But that is an argument for protection & support for her heels/frogs, not an argument for keeping her shod. She is not getting protection with shoes, but it's likely they 'work' to reduce her discomfort, because when circulation is reduced, so is feeling. Get this horse padded for her comfort. Aside from the humane issue of having a horse in pain, she's not going to start improving until she can be comfortable using her feet properly.