Hoof Care Share
I thought I would share some progress on one of my personal horses.
Comments and helpful critiques are welcome. FYI - THIS IS A WORK IN PROGRESS. The feet are not "finished" yet. I don't want the horse to become sore or lame so I have been working very gradually.
Gus is a 15 yr old grade paint gelding we got in June. When we got him he had shoes on all four feet and his feet were too long an unbalanced. His previous owner thought he had a club foot, but I don't think so. I am a believer in barefoot so I have been transitioning him off of the shoes. I expect it will take about a year for the feet to "recover" from being shod and for him to become 100% tough barefoot.
When I first removed his shoes and did the initial trim he was super sound and not tender. This lasted until the end of August. We got 2 weeks of solid rain and I couldn't get the horses on dry ground at all. They were in standing water or mud- but there wasn't anything I could do. After that Gus became very tender on rocks (probably a coincidence but either way).
He now is the proud owner of some Easy Boots but two weeks ago I did 11 miles on him without them and he was 100% solid. If we ride on hard or rocky surfaces he still gets his boots though.
My method of approach was that I felt the hoof was over long in general, very upright and too high of a heel. He started out with a long narrow frog and deep thrush from contracted heels. His heels also had signs of bruising in the wall and sole.
On the first trim I took off his shoes and led him up and down a gravel road a bit to see what the feet would do. I followed the pattern of wear and chipping the showed from that took off a little length and added a huge mustang roll to the feet.
From there I worked on him every week, then two week and now about four weeks. I try to evaluate how the foot is changing between trims and let the foot "speak to me."
His sole is still very concave but he has built a nice toe callous and I hope by June (like I said) the hoof will be more where it should be.
From here I think that overall the length is still perhaps a bit long, especially in the heel which is where I need to focus my attention. I think when I get the heel down we will be in good shape. I am also still fighting the thrush but only on the back feet.
He hasn't shown any bruising any more and he also steps heel first now. Throughout this he has been sound never lame just tender at some points. He is mostly a trail horse but I did some cow work on him a month ago and he was so sure footed and awesome. Several people commented on his barefootedness.
I wanted to share this for any one who wanted more info on transitioning a horse to barefoot. And for any one to comment because there are people on here who know far more than I do about this.
I know this is just one angle and not the best to critique but here is a simple before and after on his front feet.
Left photos are immediately after removing the shoes. Right was from today.
Thanks for reading.
a handy tool is the hoof measure , it is shaped like a horse shoe with a level on the front, shows the angle of the hoof.
Those feet look SO much better now!
They're starting to look nice. Need more pics to tell you more than that the toe is too long tho! ;-)
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Like I said they are a work in progress. I need to bring back the toe and I am still waiting on the frog to spread out. :)
Yes looking better. I think you can easily take the toes back quite a bit without any detriment. A before and after sole shot would be interesting.
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I will start working on the toes! I think I got preoccupied with the heels lol.
I will see if I can find a before shot of the sole.
Thanks for the encouragement everyone :)
Yeah, if he's gone 15 years with hooves like that, you might be hoping for more than is possible for his heels to widen much, but getting the toes back should help & providing frog supports in boots or such will help stimulate & 'grow' his heels as much as he's able.
my thoughts on this? gus is a lucky horse! looking good!
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