Barefoot vs. Shod...two weeks off shoes...
I have recently been reading articles and speaking to different farriers in regards to no shoes vs. shoes. I want to become more knowledgeable and make healthy decisions for my horse that are going to have a positive long term affect. I have been around horses all of my life and I have really, honestly, not been very 'involved' in the shoeing of my horses. Oftentimes, leaving it up to the farrier or trainer and trusting their 'expertise'. But now, I want to know more about what is being done to my horse which has prompted me to write this thread. After asking questions and getting involved I have discovered that a lot of people don't really know the whys, dos and don'ts about shoeing. After some recent shoeing problems I had my geldings shoes pulled and now would like to find out who else out there is having success with barefoot hooves! Trainers at my barn give me mixed reviews and express concern for my gelding going barefoot while my new farrier tells me to 'hang in there'.
The Situation: I have a coming 4 year old quarter horse and removed all four shoes almost 3 weeks ago due to some past farrier concerns. I have been owned by my horse since he was a yearling :lol: and he has been barefoot until he turned 3. He wore shoes for 9 months until recently. Currently, he is stabled where the footing is pretty abrasive and dry. He is lightly ridden or lounged 4-5 times a week. My gelding was pretty tender over rock and in the arena the days after pulling shoes. I have been putting iodine on his soles to harden the bottoms. It has now been almost 3 weeks since his shoes were removed and he is much more confident in his gaits. I am posting pictures of his feet as of today and am hoping to get feedback on what your barefoot horse looks like. I am concerned about the wall separation from the sole...? Does this look normal and will it become tight again after a while? Let me know anything you notice! (you will notice that his front right hoof has more sole on the outside which was part of the past concern)
I see the separation you're talking about. Is it possible to have his feet trimmed more frequently while that grows out, to rasp them a bit yourself, or at least have the toes rolled to reduce the force/leverage the extra hoof wall is exerting? It doesn't look too bad to me, though certainly something to watch. My guy has some hoof flare that will do that, so my farrier is working on it to reduce the white line stretching he had from having his feet go a while between trims before I got him.
Can't really help you with your question, as I am not an expert!
But I have a few links that I have found to be helpful.
Pete Ramey makes healthy hooves on barefoot horses heals founder in horses
Untitled Document This link is a very good one.
www.ironfreehoof.com they too have some great info.
Thank you both for your comments and references. I think keeping up on his trimming as it grows out will help the separation concern. It is reassuring that it doesn't look alarming to others on the forum. I enjoyed the articles and am finding a lot of information in them. :-)
What you see probably isn't separation...they look like they're just long to me.
That will work itself out easily with proper trimming. If you have a rasp, have your farrier show you how to maintain the mustang roll between trims. Just keep knocking that hoof wall flare down as it tries to grow down and separate. Your horse has very nice wide frogs already which is a good sign of a healthy hoof. Wish my horse's feet looked like that on day 1!
Good for you(& your horse) that you're striving to get yourself educated rather than just trusting to whatever 'expert' is at hand!
Yes, there is a fair bit of separation, but only seeing a foot from those angles, don't know whether it's reasonably superficial & just related to the excessive hoof wall, or otherwise. Check out the links in my signature & one has some good tips for photo taking for critique.
While assuming the farriery was good & the horse's feet were in decent shape, 9 months of shoeing shouldn't really affect too much IMO, immature feet being shod will potentially do more damage & prevent further development. It does depend on the environment too, as to how much the peripheral loading effects function & therefore form. For eg. if he's predominantly on hard footing, the extra height the sole's off the ground, with either a shoe or currently, the long hoof walls, this will put more leverage on the laminae and can also allow the unsupported sole to become lower/thinner.
The biggest thing I see with these pics is that it appears the horse has very thin soles. This is evidenced mainly by the lack of depth of the collateral groove at the apex of the frog and the ridge of sole around it that continues from the bars. If you're working your horse on hard/rough footing, he doesn't need iodine to just make his soles a bit harder, they need to *grow thicker* to provide enough protection. If not, he's at risk of stone bruise abscessing. Therefore I'd be providing protection for him in the form of hoof boots or such, until his soles can grow healthy & thick.
Thanks again for all your responses as it has been very helpful getting others eyes on his feet! I will post more pictures after I try some of the strategies I read from your website loosie. I also spoke with my farrier and she is coming back this week to check in on him again. She has also recommended boots for him and I think I will order some tonight....I have never had a horse wear boots....do you do all four? or the front two? Also, I found these....does anyone out there have experience with them?
Cavallo Sport Hoof Boots - Statelinetack.com
I have the Cavallo Sport Boots. They are kind of clunky and can cause rubs on the heel bulbs if left on too long. The are great, however, for sticking a nice comfy pad into the boot and turning the horse out in them for a few hours a day to encourage the heel first landing that is so important to a healthy hoof. I use Renegades for riding and the padded Cavallo for giving my horse's frogs some extra stimulation.
No idea why it's underlining everything from now... I'm not trying to shout...:wink:
Depends what his back feet are like as to whether he needs 4. Generally speaking back feet are a bit healthier than fores & can often go without. As for the type of boot, Cavellos aren't among my favourites but the main factor is whether the boot fits the horse properly, so Cavellos may be good for your horse. Another factor to consider about high profile boots is how much riding & what terrain - they are more for light riding & can be problematic if used for more than say 25km/week or per ride. Check out EasyCare Inc. | The Leader in Hoof Boots and Natural Hoof Care for info on their range of boots & more info. Whether or not you choose one of theirs, there is a heap of info on their site to help you choose the most appropriate boot and fit it properly.
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