Spot the Nail! (my mare hates farriers)
Well, I had my mare shod three weeks ago, and on Friday she was dead lame. By some weird coincidence, the vet was coming that morning to do xrays for a chronic, low-level lameness problem she has (possible ringbone). Because of her variable lameness, I thought she was just having a bad day, but the vet rang me in the afternoon and said to get her shoes pulled asap, there's a badly placed nail that showed up on the xrays.
Sure enough, the next morning she had swollen fetlocks and digital pulse. The farrier said he'd be out in the afternoon, but night fell and no such luck. So on Sunday morning I tried to take the shoes off myself. I filed off the nail clinches, wondering vaguely why there were only 5 in the lame hoof as opposed to 6 in the other one. But I couldn't get the shoe even a tiny bit loose. Any pulling or levering is painful for her so she wasn't very relaxed about things (plus she doesn't like her feet messed with at the best of times. She planted her hind hoof firmly in the farrier's backside when he was shoeing her - anticipatory revenge, I think?!). Then, on a closer investigation, I discovered the missing nail: 3 or 4 cm up the hoof wall. No wonder she's lame! I took a photo and sent it to the farrier with a sharp comment, and got a promise to come later and remove the offending item.... But as I write, my poor, sore mare is still firmly shod. :-(
All this makes me BOIL. Plus I feel guilty about having decided to shoe her in the first place. She has contracted heels (thanks to hoof neglect by her previous owner) and I know she's better off barefoot. But I let myself be convinced in a weak moment . Round here barefoot is seen merely as a lack of shoes, not as a positive condition and even less as therapeutic. «If she's lame, she's got sore feet. You need to shoe her.» It's hard to keep the courage of your convictions when all those horsey machos treat you as a harmless idiot!
I guess I need a bit of positive input and, yes, I'd love some advice on correct trimming for her feet once the shoes are off. I'll post xrays r when I get them from the vet, and photos too.
Hey, I feel better already after that little rant! Hoping to catch me a farrier this morning....
Not only is that an extremely poorly driven nail (which the farrier should have noticed, redone, and warned you that it may result in lameness) but those feet are way long! Time for a new farrier!
Agree, if the farrier never mentioned he drove the nail that high up, then I would not trust him with my horse's feet again. And the hooves are waaaaaayy too long to be shod anyway..
Call a different farrier to help you get her shoe-less!
This is a burning example of why it's so important for owners to educate themselves on hoofcare & other management factors that affect health. *Not judging you for it BTW - you can't know what you don't know, especially if the 'experts' don't give any clues either.
Learning the theory & principles of good hoof function & care would allow you to recognise things like quite apart from that nail, that is a terrible job, acres too much toe & no wonder the horse is lame, shod or not. So you will have a good idea of whether your 'expert' of choice is going to do a good job or not.
I don't personally think conventional shoes are all bad at all, but wouldn't shoe a foot like that. *Not that I think this horse will cope with being ridden bare either, with feet like that, at least for a while. Boots with frog support or such may be necessary. If you're going to get a horse shod tho, I consider the least practical knowledge you should have is to be able to remove a shoe in case of emergency. Especially with a lame horse, I'd be cutting the nail clenches and using pliers(assuming no nail pullers) to pull each nail individually, rather than trying to lever the shoe off.
And it is not acceptable that the farrier is yet to turn up, when he's caused a (further) severe problem, not least because he's told you he would & hasn't. I would hold him accountable for further vets bills to remove the shoe(NOW) and treat infection.
If you can look at the link in my signature to learn how to take good hoof/horse pics for critique, and post them when you post the xrays, we will be able to give you an idea of the specifics that may be required. Including info on diet & environment, etc will also be helpful.
In the meantime, Equine Lameness Prevention Organization Mayfield Barehoof Care Centre Home Page & Bare Foot Horse are some good sites to start learning more from.
If you can and have the tools you can probably get that shoe off yourself this morning. Instead of trying to leverage the whole shoe off and crack it off with the nails all at once take each nail out individually one by one. This will require less brute force for you, put less pressure on your mares foot, and do less damage when the shoe comes off. In fact everyone should remove shoes this way even though you see most farriers just rip them off.
I agree that a farrier who leaves a nail like that need to be replaced.
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I wouldn't even have the farrier back to remove the shoes if it were my horse. Looks like its time to find a farrier who actually knows what they are doing. Maybe your vet can recommend someone.
"Crack" it off? Can you show me what you mean by that?
tinylilly- So I will try to explain what I meant.
This is what I was taught at shoeing school and what I see a lot of people do: After either folding back the clinches or filing them off take the pull-offs and wedge them between the hoof and the shoe. Starting at the heel work the pull-offs back and forth until they are firmly around the shoe closed as best you can then use the fulcrum and leverage of the tool by quickly thrusting the handle forward to the toe. This essentially lifts the shoe off of the hoof and draws the nails out. Then you move the pull offs to the other heel and then closer to the nails. This "cracking" method will remove the shoe with all the nails still in the nail holes of the shoe. It means that all the nails are pulled out at once from the hoof. I guess a called it "cracking" because it takes a bit of strength to get the leverage. But nothing actually cracks, hopefully.
It works fine but can cause more damage to the hoof wall if the nails were set at different angles and there for arn't going to be removed parallel. What can happen is that the nails crack or chip etc. It also puts a lot more pressure on the hoof. With the same tool you can remove each nail one by one which takes a few more minutes but it easier if you don't have a lot of strength and IMO is better for the hoof.
FIRE THAT FARRIER. Seriously, he sucks. I would not let him within a thousand miles of my horse after that ordeal. Not only is that nail horrifically misplaced, the foot is just badly cared for (by the farrier, not you). I would also expect the farrier to pay all vet bills, and compensate you for the time that you will spend rehabbing the mare. I hope she gets better, and good luck!
If the farrier still hasn't shown up, I would be calling a different farrier ASAP, which it seems you need anyway.
Any good farrier should be able to get the shoe off for you, even if you're not sure which one you want to hire (or keep) to take care of your horse.
I also agree with what Loosie said...one of the very best things a horse owner can do for their horse's hoof health is to educate themselves on hooves. We all have to start somewhere and learn though, so good on you for having the gumption to press the issue for a resolve.
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