Hi, I have a Saddlebred mare that has been having some shoeing problems. I ride on trails with large rocks, protruding tree roots, etc., and I have had her for about 9 months. She came from a ranch that rode only on trails on their property, with 65 other horses. She is a nervous horse by nature, but when I first got her we had two other horses. The first time I had her shod, she was fine, although she was a little skittish. The second time, she started trying to kick the shoer. The times after that she was nearly impossible to shoe, and the past two times I have been unable to have them shoe her hind legs. However, it has become obvious that she needs all four shoes on, because she has gotten into the habit of going as far to one side on the trail as possible to avoid the worst of the rocks. Unfortunately, though, usually the rocks don't end on the side of the trail. I can tell the rocks hurt her hind legs, because occasionally she will jerk her hind leg as if in pain. I have rooted the problem as that she doesn't like to have her hooves tapped. She will tolerate trimming, however impatiently, but as soon as you try tapping on her hind hooves like you are going to drive nails into her hooves she really starts to protest; as in starting to try to kick. I think it might be either due to some leg problems, or due to that there are no longer any other horses here(we are going to get another horse this fall, but she'll need to be shod until then). Can anyone give me any advice as to what the problem might be, and if I should have the vet out?
It sounds to me like her feet hurt, and that the cause of it may have been an error on the part of the farrier. If a nail didn't place properly it could easily have hurt her and then continued to hurt as she walked on the shoes. Hence, her fear of banging on her feet. It could also be that she got a good bruise or has an abcess growing out. It really does sound like she got hurt or improperly trimmed or shod, but it could be other things too.
Did the farrier check her soles for pain? Are her hooves warm? Are there visible bruises? Lumps? Are the frogs firm or mooshy? Any smell? How does she stand? How is she in the field? How is she if you ride on gravel? on sand? on turf? If you can post a photo of her standing square and level, it may help people to give you ideas. Also, if you could get a photo of her feet from the side and then of the sole, somebody may see something.
Avoiding rocks, etc. and having pain doesn't mean she needs shoes. It means she needs attention -- for you to find out what's wrong and fix that.
You may need a vet or professional trimmer to come out to give you some advice.
Oh, I really don't see how this would have anything to do with how many horses she is with. Sounds completely physical to me.
My solution would be to not shoe her for a while and have a different farrier / trimmer help you. If your girl needs something on her feet invest in boots instead for when you're on the trails. Give her feet a rest. Let all that old hoof wall and sole grow out. She will be barefoot in the paddock and boots only on the trail. Her soles will harden up and hopefully if there was any damage, it will have a chance to heal and grow out. It may take quite a while, so be patient. Have a reputable trimmer do her feet for the time she is barefoot. If after several months you feel that going back to shoes is a better option for her, look at it again at that time. While she is barefoot, continue to work with her feet though -- when you know the pain is gone, pretend to shoe her -- gently at first then increasing the pressure.
Well, the main thing that is stumping me is that when she is out in the field, she is just fine. Her frogs are good and firm, although not brittle. She stands fine in the field, and walks fine in sand on turf, and on gravel.
However, I'd like to add, because this may be important, that in the field she is living in quite a bit of mud that goes up to her fetlocks. I have been very careful all winter about thrush, but she hasn't gotten it, and I always clean her feet out before and after a ride, and we usually go through deep puddles anyway.
The mud isn't all over the pasture, but in the area where she walks a lot, to get grain/hay. The main thing that I have noticed is that she tends to put more weight on the inside of her feet.
The only thing that I thought that might have been an error on the part of the farrier would be that I asked him to check for bruising on her hind legs one of the first times I got her, and he said that he found one on her right hind just inside of the white line(unfortunately he told me this after he put the shoe on).
That may have aggravated her feet, and since then she has not wanted anyone banging on her feet.
I have some pictures of her feet, but I'll get some more tomorrow, and I'll call the vet, so that he can come out in a week or two, depending on his schedule. I want to pinpoint what this is all about.
Also, I have known this for a while, but her heels are slightly low, and her feet were trimmed slightly asymmetrically. I'll get some more pictures tomorrow, to see if anyone can see anything.
Thanks for the advice so far!
I hope you can get some pics posted. If she is in mud a lot her soles may be a bit soft. Any bruising you see on the sole etc is old stuff that is growing out. If your farrier is trimming sole off then she will be tender on gravel also. I keep my horses barefoot and they are trimmed by a "barefoot" trimmer. There is often a big difference in a simple pasture trim(no shoe) done by a shoeing farrier than a true barefoot trim. I use boots too, but rarely need them on the hinds for riding and my rocks are vicious here.
Well, I had to have the vet out yesterday because she cut herself up pretty badly; she managed to spear herself on a stick(the only stick in the pasture which had fallen from a tree) and the vet came out and stitched her up and game me some anti-biotics. I talked to him about the problems she's been having, and asked him about the rings on all four feet. He said that she probably has road founder, because if it was from nutiritional problems, the rings would only be on the fronts. The rings aren't that bad, but they are there. I'm going to take some pictures today while I'm down there. Can someone tell me what I should do for road founder? Will she be able to ride on the trails as much anymore? What should I tell my farrier to do?
See if you can get a barefoot trimmer out rather than a standard farrier. Xrays will help to verify the position of the bone if you want to do that. You may have someone that specializes in your area.
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