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lightning 06-21-2013 06:05 AM

Is Casting A Good Idea?

I am looking for some information on hoof casting. I am considering getting it done on my mare.

She is 20 years old and overweight with very sore feet. She recently went barefoot after a year of horrible shoeing.

She is uncomfortable and it seems her heels hurt her when she walks, as she will hit hard toe first digging her toes into the ground in the arena when unprotected. I have tried hoof boots and so far cannot find any that will stay on.

She moves so much better in boots. She stretches out her front legs and hits the ground flat at least instead of toe first. We did the Easy Boot Epics and even though the cable was properly tightened and the boot fit etc. It somehow came off when she was just starting to move and she wound up with the boot facing the wrong way but still with the Velcro closure together around the pastern. I have no idea how that happened. But when she landed she must have come down hard on the cable grip part of it because she took out a chunk of her frog.

I did have her trimmer help me with finding the right boots. We have also tried the glove, the Old Mac's, and the Easy Boot Trail as well as some cheaper store varieties. Nothing fits her or stays on her right.

She is getting worse and not better and I am very concerned about her lack of movement. I know she needs to move in order to lose weight and maintain some sort of sanity, which she is losing. It hurts her to walk and she gets fatter by the day. If I withhold any food from her, ie not leave her freedom feeder with hay, she will hurt herself while I am at work. She has destroyed her barn every night this week. She kicks until her rear leg is very swollen and then she switches to the other leg.

I am very frustrated and I know she is bored, but I have to work.. She doesn't want any horse friends. I have tried with her but she is too dangerous. She doesn't even react to other horses the way horses usually do. For example, There is a group of owned horses that will run in a herd sometimes and get spooky over something. I have even had one or two of them run up on her and she acts like they don't exist. The entire ranch can be spooking and she could care less.

I feel so bad for her because she is going stir crazy I think. I tried to leave her alone in the pasture for 30 minutes last week and when I got her she had cut her rear leg up, She wound up with a nasty infection and the entire leg swelled. I had her checked by the vet and she just finished up her antibiotics yesterday.

Keeping her at the house is not an option as it isn't my house. I am looking for a place that has a much larger area she can roam in, but it isn't easy to find so far.

I am getting her trimmed every 2 weeks. She has white line disease, recurrent thrush and no heals at all.

I am sorry I cannot post pictures of her feet right now.

Anyway, thoughts and ideas are appreciated.

Thank you

totalfreedom 06-22-2013 12:00 PM

I don't know much about hoof casting. But I think it's used as something to hold a hoof in shape for various reasons. IMO, it doesn't sound like hoof casting is the answer to the situation.

When she's in boots it sounds like she's landing heel first because her heels are cushioned from the impact. I would look at the reason for this and approach it that way. If you could get some pictures up then maybe some with more experience than I can help you out. Perhaps the pain in her heels is because she has too much sole or bar in the area that is just compressing and forcing itself up into the living tissues under the heel area. This is something I learned just recently and it is making a difference in an older horse I am looking after. In hindsight I feel like an idiot for not learning of this sooner. Or maybe there's deep thrush....or a combination of both. It could also just be from too much flaring.....too many variable really. But with some pictures it would be easier for those with lots of experience to help you out.

IMO, learn about hoof mapping and why/how compressed sole will cause pain. I didn't understand this and I thought I was doing well and had horses with healthy hooves, but they feel even better now since I learned about it. There's someone on youtube that I've been watching for a while and IMO, it's worth your time to learn from her. Her channel is thehappyhoof. She also has a yahoo group where it's dedicated to talking about the hoof, just google the happy hoof yahoo group. You will get more help over there especially if you get some pictures up.

That's all I got....take it with a grain of salt, as my education is evolving at the moment, but I feel that I'm on the right path.

Missy May 06-23-2013 11:25 AM

Like total, I don't know much about casting. However, I once had a mare that I had to boot 24/7 during a "transition". I cleaned them twice daily. They were old macs, no cable, just rubber.

If it were me, and this is just me....I would get her an easy boot along the lines of easy boot gloves or trails for 24/7 use, locate a competent farrier and devise a "plan" for rehab of her feet, take pictures to measure progress, and learn all I could about the hoof to be able to judge the plan itself and the progress....and immediately search for and find a place she can move easy. If she is okay w cows (doesn't run them), maybe a large pasture she can be queen w/o incident w another horse would help. When you are with her, consider exercising both her body and mind. Think of something she might enjoy "accomplishing" (e.g., go forward and back through a maze). I use clicker (on the ground only) to teach my horses important things - as well as just play. If she can't be ridden while she is "on the mend", it is a great way to engage their mind, give them some fun time, and teach them something.

I think a horse that remains calm is a real blessing, btw.

Anyway, inspect a pasture for any "stuff" that might cause injury. Don't let a one time incident stop you from turning her out in a safe environment.

I hope whatever you decide on - it all goes well for her.

Trinity3205 06-23-2013 11:37 AM

How bad is her thrush? Lets see her feet currently. Casting is a great easy option, sometimes. You do not cover up infection however.

lightning 06-27-2013 07:04 AM


I am waiting on my trimmer to send me the pictures she has been taking of the hooves. My horse won't let me take pictures myself and with my broken phone as my only camera, it just won't work.

My trimmer is pleased with her hooves. She said there is no thrush any more and that her feet have made some great changes and that this last trim was a really big corner she turned.

She also thinks she is suffering from some laminitis currently. Probably due to the fresh green evening grass she got into the other night. Or maybe that I have been letting her graze "a little". every day.

She put casts on the front hooves today. We were able to get the easy boot outback gloves to fit well on her back hooves with a 6mm pad inside. The front feet were hard to fit into anything that would stay on and not rotate or cause a sore. She wound up getting a pastern sore from the easy boot trails, and they would rotate. She said that she didn't "need" the casting but it would make her more comfortable and allow her to get more activity as she has been to sore to do very much lately.

So far she seems to feel much better with the casts on the fronts. My trimmer also used a thick pad with the casting and also a dental impression material so that the frog will get circulation. The casts are to stay on for 3 weeks and I am to do apple cider vinegar soaks twice a week to prevent thrush.

I hope this works. She was way more comfortable even without the boots on the backs, but I will put them on her when she is active.

I have to cut out any treats or snacks, only give her the Bermuda in the freedom feeder, the Bermuda pellets, aloe vera juice, herbal supplements, sea salt, flax, probiotics, bioten, and a couple of lbs of alfalfa. We'll see how that works.

I put up a fencing so she can no longer stick her neck through and graze on the grass areas that are outside her corral.

I am actively looking for a very large dry lot type thing to board her. I would like to get her on at least an acre. But with her not liking other horses it may be tough to find out here.

I'll post pictures as soon as I get them.

princessfluffybritches 06-27-2013 05:14 PM

Hi. I've done a bunch of reading about casting because I wondered if it was an option. It's okay for temporary use, but not long term. The hoof can't breathe and can start to rot. The other thing is that it does not allow the hoof to expand like it should.

So, I'm back to looking at boots.

lightning 06-28-2013 03:43 AM


Yes, it is a temporary fix while she grows enough hoof to get her heels off the ground. They will be replaced in 3 weeks, or if I can find some boots that will stay on, I will leave them off.

My horse has very little hoof left, and has flare ups of laminitis that make her very sore. I really have only done this casting as a last resort sort of thing.

I just want to get her moving again.

As for the boots, I am pretty frustrated with trying to find a pair that will fit.

Trinity3205 06-28-2013 09:20 PM

casting is for rehab or temporary issues. I will only cast twice in a row without a break on a foot that has no infection present. You never cast over white line as it will make it worse. Once the hoof form is regained, you should be able to find boots. Casting will give a laminitic foot some needed support allowing the upper wall to reconnect solidly provided you deal with the trigger of the laminitus. Never allow a casted foot to stand in wet all the time. Never cast way up the wall. I try to keep it on the bottom 2/3 and I always cure it with the hoof fully weighted.

lightning 06-29-2013 02:02 AM


Thank you for the advice.

So, got to the ranch this morning before work and she already had one of the casts off. It was in one piece and didn't look damaged. So, I would figure it came off fairly easy. Now she is walking around with one cast on and one cast off. Great.

The trimmer will be at the ranch in the morning. She told me not to remove the other cast.

I tried to duct tape it on this evening so I could get her at the very least some hand walking around the arena. Yeah, the duct tape didn't work very well at all.

I am getting very frustrated with everything. Not to the point of nailing shoes back on, but still frustrated.

She did let the cast cure with the foot loaded as she had me pick up the opposite foot while it cured. She did however do the casts up the entire hoof wall.

She doesn't stand in water. She is on rubber stall mats with mini flake shavings on them in her barn and outside I have DG and then mini flake as well as regular flake shavings on top of a shavings bed she likes to lie down on.

The day we did the casting she was acting strange. Laying down lateral on her shavings bed outside. It was really super hot out. Around 100* and while her head was lateral on the ground she was whinnying. I have never seen her do that before. She let me walk right up to her and even pat her neck while she was laying down. That is very odd behavior for her. She did eventually get up when I encouraged her to.

So, for now I guess I am just waiting for the morning to try to figure out what to do with her now.

Thank you again for the help.

Trinity3205 06-29-2013 11:44 AM

you can use glue to help keep them on or small screws on the side of each heel and wrap the casting over it as an anchor. they do tend to come off easily if the horse clips the back of the cast. bell boots can also help.

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