Sore foot - Bruise, tender or call the ferrier/vet?
I'm a new horse owner, my gelding is 17 and had been a pasture ornament for at least a year. He has great feet and we've been doing a lot of riding. He seemed a little "tender" at times when on gravel, but I had the ferrier look at him and he said he wasn't tender, just finding his footing and even with shoes we'd experience that.
I took him for a trail ride last Monday for a couple hours, all on gravel roads though I tried to keep him off gravel whenever possible. He had only been on soft sand and pasture. I had him trimmed Monday after our ride, but it was very minimal, just shaping and I wanted his hooves looked at because we had SO much rain and horses were coming up with abscesses and thrush like crazy due to the fact it would not STOP raining all month.
I can still ride Whiskey in the arena and he does fine, no sign of tenderness and perfectly willing to do all gaits, but walking across the yard on the driveway on the gravel he seems very tender on his right front hoof. I've been careful when picking it out, but he does try to pull that one away from me, there is no odor or heat and everything looks perfectly normal. My question then is:
1. Could he have a bruise?
2. Does he just need time to toughen up his feet or should I consider shoes?
3. At what point do I get someone back out there? What should I be looking for?
I am going through something very similiar. Might want to read my original post first, it is on this forum. Anyways Thursday is when it started, I soaked his hoof for about 20 min in epsom salts, and kept him in his stall (thunder/lightning storms) and now he is by himself in a small paddock with stall access, then Friday I soaked it again, when I got to the barn he was still slightly limping but noticeably better. My vet was on vacation but my farrier told me to keep soaking it alternatively with the epsom salts and straight apple cider viniger, so I did the salts in morning and viniger last night. It must have felt good because he never moved that sore foot while soaking at all. Farrier also suggested picking up some Arnica at a heatlh food store which I did. She suggested pellets and giving 5-6 pellets orally or the gel. I ended up getting the ointment and kind of packing it in the hole. She said not to dig at the hole.
Before I even soak his foot I clean it up by putting it in a bucket of water and kind of washing it off.
I am with you as far as thinking the tenderness is from the trim and now think maybe the rock is secondary. Anyways he was no longer limping sat morning but I went ahead and soaked twice that day anyways and will again today. You might find some helpful comments on my post.
Also yes I do think he could have a bruise and yes to his feet may need time to toughen up. Can't answer the last question, I was really worried about my boy and is doing so much better now, he also had no heat. Good luck!
Plus he may have thrush? Does he have thrush? This can be painful as well.
He needs time to toughen his feet for sure. Don't make an effort to keep him OFF the gravel, you want to work him slowly up to be comfortable on gravel. He needs daily walks on gravel. Start with leading and short walks. Work him up to longer walks on gravel until he no longer has to "find his footing" on it. Then walk him under saddle on gravel.
As for his one foot that seems to be more tender than the others: it sounds like he is sensitive only when you are picking his that foot, not when you pick up the other front foot. If so, try to pinpoint an area where he flinches when you tap with the hoof pick. There might well be a bruise there. If you can't find one particular area, it might be thrush.
As for getting someone out -- You could call your farrier and ask him if he can remember anything particular that might be causing your horse some pain. Also, confirm whether (s)he thinks your horse has thrush.
You could post some pics of your horse and his feet. There may be other issues as well. So hard to know from a few words.
Something you may want to consider when you find out what may be causing your horse to be sore, is maybe try putting some Equi Pack on his feet. It may be best to wait till your farrier cleans and trims his feet again, but this stuff will provide cushion and it also fills in the whole bottom of the foot keeping dirt and wetness from becoming trapped in your horses feet. It helps with thrush, if that is the problem. Just an idea I thought I'd suggest.
There isn't any thrush, the ferrier checked for that. He also didn't take anything off the front hooves when he trimmed, just rasped and shaped them as he didn't need it.
I can find the one spot he's tender on the right front with the pick. When I touch it with the pick he tries to pull away and throws his head. I soaked that foot today, and cleaned it very well and had the trainers at the barn look at it and no one can see anything out of the ordinary, so I can probably assume it's just bruised.
We'll just take it easy and one day at a time. And work on more gravel when he's feeling a little better. We can't avoid it around where the barn is, he has to walk on it up to the outdoor arena and back, I just feel so bad for him because it seems really uncomfortable when we do.
Just keep an eye on it for heat... just in case. But sounds like it's just a bruise and he'll need a bit of time for that to heal. :)
A properly fit set of shoes can make a tremendous difference in comfort and performance levels, particularly over difficult terrain (e.g. gravel, hard pack, etc)
Not all barefoot horses can comfortably carry a rider over gravel. It's a common and appropriate reason for shoeing.
If you only ever went barefoot on shagpile carpet, then occasionally tried to piggyback someone over gravel with bare feet, do you think 'finding your feet' would be the most appropriate description of how you felt??:lol::wink:
If he lives in a soft, cushy environment, it may not be just a matter of riding him more over gravel in order to toughen him up. He may or may not also have thin soles & other hoof problems that need addressing first, or working on gravel bare will exacerbate. I don't think it's helpful for rehab/strengthening to force a horse to work when they're hurting, not to mention it's not nice for them. If/when he appear up to that, then starting gradually, doing only as much as he can be reasonably comfortable for is how I go about it.
Yes, your horse could have bruised feet & bruises can become abscesses. While crossing driveways without a rider should be OK - let him '***** foot' if necessary to avoid injury - I would definitely be wanting to protect those feet. He may or may not be a good 'barefoot prospect' down the track with the right management, but he isn't right now. I reckon hoof boots are generally a much better alternative to shoes(generally cheaper in the long run too), as they aren't fixed to the walls and provide protection to the entire base of the foot. EasyCare Inc. | The Leader in Hoof Boots and Natural Hoof Care is one good source of boots & heaps of info on them.
You have all been so helpful! Thank you so much.
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