This morning my mare got her feet trimmed by the farrier. It had been 6 weeks since her last trim and since I will be away the next 2-3 weeks when the farrier usually comes to my barn, I had her done a little early. After he had trimmed her, he said she had some toe bruising on her front two feet. He had me take a look, it didn't look too terrible, but it was some slight reddish coloring at her toe, by her white line. He told me it was no big deal, just to keep an eye on it.
This is my first horse and I don't know much about farriery or bruising and was wondering if there's anything I should look out for (besides obviously lameness) or anything I can do to help her out?
As a small history... She's a Percheron/Cleveland Bay/TB cross so she's a bit thick and drafty. She had front shoes on for several years, but we had them taken off in September after I moved her up to school with me and she started living outside 24/7. I was afraid she would pull off the shoes being outside all the time and the farrier had said she had a good, strong, hard hoof that would be fine without shoes. He also said this bruising could be just her still getting used to being barefoot. If that's the case, should I replace her shoes? Or will she get used to it and the bruising will go away?
Thanks for any help you can give. I did try to ask my farrier several of these questions, but my mare was kind of being a jerk about standing (not from the pain though, the horses in her paddock were fed while she was inside, and she was NOT happy about it!) so I had to put her back out and then when I came back he was very busy with another troublesome horse.
I would still give her some time without shoes. It could be from no longer having shoes, and walking a bit different now, but also if she's on hard/rocky ground, that will also cause some bruising. For now I would just leave them alone, especially if you are going to be gone and not working her anyways, and see what they look like when you get back.
Just to clarify, I'm going to be away the next 2-3 Thursdays when the farrier comes, but I will still be around to ride her. I just didn't want to have to pay an extra barn call fee to have the farrier come out on a special day just to see her. I have a lesson with her tomorrow and will ride her 1-2 times next week as I am only away for Thanksgiving/next weekend. She will have some time to rest since I will be very busy, but she will still be in work.
I am thinking as long as she is not showing signs of soreness or lameness, then I am ok? haha I just wanted to see if anyone had tips on how to help the bruising go away or harden the soles of her feet to keep bruising from happening.
You pulled her shoes in September?
That was not very long ago. Give her some more time to get used to being barefoot.
I would not worry about a little toe bruising if it is not bothering her. It could simply be from her stomping at flies.
Would anyone suggest using something to harden the soles of her feet a little to make them less sensitive? I have some venice turpentine that an old trainer gave me a while ago, and I know it's supposed to be used to harden soles. I was considering using it on her soles 1-2 times a week. I also use a moisturizer on her whole hoof (sole, frog and horn) when it is dry weather.
I have been using venice turpentine on my horse whose shoes I recently pulled for the winter.
Can you call your farrier and ask if he thinks it is necessary?
I think in this case less is more. If the horse is fine all natural I would leave them that way.
I would be carefull, my horse had what sounds like the same thing and it turned out the be the beginning of laminitis, we caught it early and he is improving. Although it may not be laminitis (seeing as she is not lame) I would still check for heat in the hoof, red, or expanded white line and a bounding digital pulse. If she has these, or begins to go lame, keep her in, no sugar (grain, beet pulpe, alfa alfa, etc.) and call your vet. It is probably just bruising from a shorter trim, or hard ground, just be carefull.
I have a basically different take on most opinions above. Being a hoof care practitioner, I see & hear all sorts, and without more information, I can only say that it may well be just minor, rather inconsequential bruising, but then it could be more serious. Sole bruising can also become abscessing, which can make for serious & painful setbacks. The bruising at any rate is an indication that her soles are thin and that she requires protection for her hooves, for the moment at least. That is not to say I think shoes are a good move for her for now, but hoof boots or such are generally a good & appropriate option for hoof protection when needed.
It's great that you've picked up on this now, rather than waiting, or not even noticing the problem until the horse is lame. Most serious lameness doesn't come 'out of the blue' and there are many signs & 'symptoms' that if we can learn to heed, can help us avoid causing lameness.
If your horse was previously kept cooped up a lot, her hooves had reduced function(therefore circulation & growth) through less stimulation/exercise, even more than paddocked horses. Shoes also can reduce function to some degree. Diet is also a very important component in hoof health and if she were getting high-carb feeds(eg. grain based, molassesed, etc), this would have also contributed to her feet becoming weaker & soles being thin. So, she may have thin soles due purely to lack of use(as with our own callouses, muscles, etc, if you don't use it, you lose it), or she may have other hoof issues that have caused problems including thin soles.
I am not personally dead against conventional shoes at all, but I do think that they are generally unhelpful and often detrimental to the rehab of unhealthy feet. They tend to have a palliative effect, that causes an unhealthy hoof to appear sound, as the animal doesn't appear to feel the damage, at least until the problems have become so chronic or severe, but they don't treat the problems themselves. Therefore I wouldn't generally consider their use unless/until a horse has developed healthy, strong feet.
It is up to you to learn as much as you can, so that you can make an informed decision on what you think best for your horse. If you would like further advice here, you're welcome to post hoof pics & more info(on diet, management, etc). There are a number of people here quite knowledgeable about hooves that can give you our opinions.
You need to have her trimmed more often. I keep my barefoot horses trimmed every 3-5 weeeks. 6 weeks is the longest you should go between trims. If your farrier can't come but every 8 weeks, then you need to have him show you how to touch up the trim at 4 weeks, or find a new farrier/trimmer.
I would also take some photos of this horse's feet so we can see if your farrier is balancing the hood properly. If the hoof isn't balanced right, then that can cause her to land toe-first, which could cause bruising.
Here's a good article on how to take proper pictures of your horse's feet for evaluation.
Good Hoof Photos - How to take Good Hoof Photos
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