My awfully lame - newly barefoot mare has swollen legs.
She was unshoed in Tuesday. She barely walked, looked like she has laminitis in all four legs...
In Thursday it seemed it's slightly better, of course awful when she has to walk over the gravel road (to get in stall + I picked all stones, so it's just large sand), but she was much better on soft grass. Yesterday (Saturday) she was trotting and cantering on soft grass (by herself), she wasn't lame. She didn't trot that much, about 100 feet three times. Still very lame when crossing the road.
Today all 4 lower legs are swollen. Not much, but noticeable. She is awfuly lame on the ground where no grass grows (she was only slightly lame there yesterday), awfully lame crossing the road (5 steps, and she stops for each step), but she's normal on soft grass.
Do you think her legs are swollen because of being barefoot? I have no other idea why.
She was grazing a bit longer yesterday (1 hour more), but it's fall and grass isn't that dangerous right now + she never had laminitis problems. (also no pulse or hot hooves). She ate few apples more than usual, but I would expect diarrhea or colic if this was the problem, not swelling. Got half a cup beet pulp more than usual, but again, I don't know why she would swell because of it.
Maybe she ate something that's not good for her? But she always grazes there without problems...
I have few crappy pics of her hooves, but the sunlight was bad. I'll try again in the evening.
(And I don't have the before pics, when I came from school farrier was already there...)
Pics with visible hooves: :-|
Now remember her hooves have problems. As farrier said: "One of her front hoof was in size of half an orange." (And the other was normal size). They are still not completly same, but it's much much better.
Keep the shoes off! She will adjust and her feet will get used to being barefoot. When the blacksmith returns make sure he only trims the outter hoof wall and NOT the soul or frog! You will see after a few months neither foot will look different. They will turn natural and she will be able to run on gravel even with you on her. the clefs in her heels will open up too which is a good thing!
Could it be that she is moving around less and it thus stocked up? Have you had unseasonably hot weather?
Let's be realistic here. I am "pro barefoot" too. But I don't run my horses barefoot on gravel. And even if I could, I don't think it's wise. :shock:
I agree that only the hoof wall should be trimmed, not the sole at all, and not the frog unless there are ragged pieces that need cleaning up.
Were the soles trimmed up at all when the shoes were taken off? Taking ANY sole off a barefoot horse is playing with fire in regards to them being comfortable. I trim my own horses and have learned this the hard way. The only sole I take off is sole that is flaking and peeling off on it's own. If for some reason I feel I have to trim a little sole, then I know I will have to ride in hoof boots for quite a while until the feet grow out again.
If it were me, I think I would be inclined to shoe the horse another cycle to let the feet grow out, then pull the shoes and not trim the feet at all at first. So she has some protection while adjusting to barefoot. Then in another month or so after pulling the shoes, have her feet trimmed. No sole at all taken out when they are trimmed.
If she is noticeably sore just walking around without a rider, that is not a good thing. If she is gimpy like she is laminitic or standing in an unusual stance, I would put the shoes back on and try again when the feet are longer and/or the ground is softer. But it isn't fair to keep the horse suffering in the name of barefoot if she isn't even comfortable standing still.
Assuming she is eventually running around fine barefoot without a rider, then you can get a set of hoof boots (usually the fronts are all that is needed) if she is tender footed being ridden. Then if all goes well, she should be able to be ridden in most places without boots at all over time.
(I can ride my horses barefoot most places now, but still use the boots when the terrain is mostly rocky or if I have been riding long and hard and their feet are wearing short).
But if the horse isn't even comfortable walking around it's environment, then it's unfair to leave the horse hurting. That's my opinion anyway.
If your farrier took out some sole, then I would try again after another shoeing cycle. I would let the feet grow, pull the shoes, not trim them at all except perhaps to roll the hoof wall, and then wait another month or so for an actual trim.
If the farrier did nothing but pull the shoes, then I would wait until the ground is soft before trying again. Like try letting her go barefoot over a muddy winter so she can adjust before she has to deal with walking on hard ground. But she should at least be able to walk around normally without a rider. If she isn't, then I would be concerned about leaving her barefoot right now. That isn't to say you can't try again later, but the horse should be okay just walking around without shoes.
I re-read your post and maybe things aren't so dire. I guess I went on a bit of a tangent. :lol:
If she's comfortable on soft ground, that is good. I would stick with it for a while and see if she continues to get better.
My guys were very tender on gravel roads when I pulled their shoes too. And still, many years later, if they get tender footed, it is on gravel roads. I think it is because the surface is so hard and then there are loose rocks on top. Bad combination for horse feet!
If she is comfortable on a soft surface and improving, you are probably doing okay. :-)
I don't know about the stocking up. My guys only stock up if they are ridden hard and then stand in a small area overnight. My guys are also older (in their late teens) so I think age also has a bit to do with it. I don't recall them stocking up just because their shoes were pulled.
PS. Her feet don't look too bad. I have certainly seen worse. The frog in the one is really sunk into the hoof, either from thrush or because the foot is contracted from being shod. That should improve with her being barefoot. But I don't see any glaring hoof problems that would cause her to be lame.
It looks like the frog was trimmed, too much. Poor baby. She'll grow out of it. Can you take her for a walk in the indoor sand arena? I think she probably is stocked up. WAlking helps in that case.
Last year I had issues getting my guy barefoot. He only had front shoes, so we pulled them. He was so lame, I could not stand to watch it, and after 2 weeks of Venice turpentine and every other thing we could think of, the shoes went back on. He was also in training, and time was $$. In the fall, he came home, and a new farrier in Va recommended that I let the feet grow until the shoes basically fall off. Then just rasp the rough edges (hooves don't grow much here in winter), and trim as needed a couple weeks after and he was fine. A little ouchy on stones, but fully rideable, and never missed a day. If I ever have another with shoes, this is exactly what I will do. IT has worked well for me, and his feet are great-he is fine on stones (not sharp ones they have in some areas, but rounded ones).
In fact, when I just sent him to the trainer for reining training, I told them I would NOT agree to front shoes. THey can put sliders on, but no fronts. I do not want to go thru that again!
It does seem like yours is abit stocked up, but really minimal, and I am wondering if it is just from less activity.
I agree with keeping the shoes off, not trimming sole or frog *unless they need it*, which is generally very little & infrequent. With the right treatment, the horse should improve on hard/rough ground, but it depends on how long her feet have been compromised for, diet, environment, management, etc, as to how much they may improve.
I agree with others that it sounds likely the swelling is 'stocking up' due to lack of movement. Have you called a vet Manca? Does the swelling go down if you walk her around a bit? She obviously has quite compromised feet, which she can now feel without the shoes. Don't know if there was also a lot of thrush that meant the need for such severe frog paring, but that would also leave her overly sensitive.
Firstly Manca, let me say those are pretty reasonable hoof pics for critique purposes! It looks to me like she has very flat soles around the toe and rings - albeit quite minor looking - on her feet which indicate she could be laminitic - whether it's a current 'attack' or not - and may have little thickness of sole covering the internal structures. Therefore I'd be careful to protect her feet where/when necessary to allow her to move comfortably without risk of stone bruising, etc. I do not believe in forcing a horse to just go bare & 'adjust', because aside from it not being nice for them, I don't think it's helpful for rehab & developing healthy, strong feet, as there is risk of further injury and also the horse will not be using her feet properly.
You speak about her being OK in the grassy paddock & sand stall, which is great. I would not lock her up at all if poss, but keep her in the paddock & encourage her to exercise as much as possible *so long as she's comfortable* hopefully she can do that bare, but if it takes boots & pads, that's what I'd do. If she does require protection even in the paddock, this is not *generally* a long-term thing.
As her heels are a bit high & frogs recessed, I would be using frog support pads in the boots, to give them more support & stimulation until the heels can become more level with them. It appears that there is little if any more heel height that can be removed now - you don't want to trim into live sole - but with time this may change & also unpared frogs will grow fuller.
As for the farriery, in so much as I can gather from the pics, I would have possibly 'scooped' the quarters a little and would have rolled the walls, especially around the toes, that's about it. Oh and not pared the frogs at all, except in the case of removing flaps & overhangs & opening up the central sulci, *IF* they were thrushy. On that note, whether the farrier pared because of thrush or just... because, I'd be spraying her frogs daily with apple cider vinegar or such, to discourage infection while they grow back.
As for the odd feet, it depends on why they're like that & how long as to whether they may change. That left could be more upright naturally, due to injury, posture, heel pain, etc. If it's due to heel pain that can be resolved, and other injuries may be resolved with bodywork, but she may always have odd feet & either way, I think it's important not to force the issue but to work with the feet that she's got to keep them *well maintained* & they'll change over time themselves, if they're going to.
Oh btw, it depends on a number of things, including the weather as to whether grass is 'dangerous' with regard to lami. It's usually spring & autumn when horses are most at risk, but can be any time. Is your horse overweight?
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