To shoe or not to shoe?

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To shoe or not to shoe?

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    08-08-2011, 08:11 PM
Question To shoe or not to shoe?

Hi guys,

My mare somehow caused herself abit of an injury to her coronary band awhile back and as it has grown down it ended up becoming quite a large horizontal split on her hoof about half way down. I had my farrier coming out in 3 days time but she somehow managed to lose a chunk out of her hoof due to the split she had which is now exposing some of the capsule. We have had really wet weather here lately and I think with all the mud and water getting in this split it has caused the section of her hoof to come away. Anyway I got my farrier out right away thinking she would probably have to be shoed as a friend of mine who has alot of experience with horses believed she would need to be to help prevent the capsule getting punctured. However my farrier didn't believe she needed to be shoed and said that there was a possibility that the capsule could puncture but it shouldn't do, he just told me to apply a hoof toughener. He also said that it broke off the best way by being horizontal rather then vertical and within 3 months it should grow out. I don't know whether to take his word for it about the shoeing or whether I should get a second opinion or go ahead and get her shoed? She is turned out fulltime in a large paddock where there is a creek bed containing rocks and so on that her and the other horses travel through regularly, so I am concerned she will puncture it. What do you guys think?

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    08-08-2011, 08:21 PM
I forgot to add the missing chunk is on her right inner hoof.
    08-08-2011, 09:16 PM
If your farrier is saying leave her barefoot that is what I would do. I prefer to leave them barefoot unless it's absolutely necessary. If your farrier does shoes and is saying to leave her barefoot then I would do as he says as shoes would only make him more money so he doesn't benefit to advise you to leave her barefoot.
    08-08-2011, 09:42 PM
Agree with Rachel1786- I would leave barefoot especially if that's what your farrier is suggesting
    08-09-2011, 12:39 AM

Agree with others that IMO she's best unshod unless necessary, & I don't see how shoes would be necessary/helpful for this. Sounds like she may need protection for the face of the wall, but there's no reason to put anything on the ground surface.

The 'split' was an abscess that burst at the coronet, either due to a trauma(she bashed it or such) or possibly a laminitic episode(tho if it's just one small area, I'd say more likely the former). If the split were near ground level, especially if her walls were overlong at all, it may be purely that the horn below it was just under too much mechanical force, so broke off. Unfortunately, splits & such often go hand in hand with infection, which can eat away at surrounding tissue & weaken it, which is another possible reason for the breakage, which I think is more likely if it was still only half way down the capsule(which is a term for the outside/horn, not inside).

So I'd treat any infection, but if it's close/in live tissue, be careful of using too strong chemicals which can also cause tissue damage. If there is a substantial amount of wall missing that has left the inner foot exposed, then I would consider booting or such when riding, to protect her in case of kicking rocks or anything(or punctures). If she's kept in a regular pasture setup, then she may be fine without protection when at home, but you'll have to consider the rocky creek crossing & likelihood of stone bruises(far more likely than punctures IME). You might consider just a bell boot or such for a bit of added protection, as booting 24/7 is not generally a good move and you don't want to seal the area from the air because infection tends to thrive in anaerobic environments. If possible, I'd probably fence off the creek & give her water from a bucket for the next month or so if worried.

I wouldn't personally bother with 'hardeners' or other topicals. Hardeners often include formaldehyde which IMO doesn't belong anywhere near hooves... well, live ones at least. Hardening makes hooves brittle - therefore more likely to chip & split because they lose their plasticity. Chemicals such as formaldehyde also kill live tissue, so if there is any exposed or close to the surface it could be damaged. Other topicals, such as oil based 'moisturisers' are also not great for hooves IMO and in this situation would potentially just seal in any infection & make it worse.
    08-09-2011, 01:02 AM
For your information you can always wrap the crack part of the foot with equcast if you want to keep dirt out of the crack.

Equicast Hoof Care & Hoof Wear System from Laminitis and Lost Shoes to The Barefoot Horse is a website to see if there is a supplier in your area.

You can use it yourself or have a farrier put it on for you.

I have used it succesfully.
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    09-04-2011, 12:57 PM
I would shoes because it protect it from the rocks

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