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Horse Sore after Removing Front Shoes

1344 Views 2 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  loosie
My 12yr old TB threw her left shoe and seemed fine so I decided to remove the other one to see how she did. She was off work for a few weeks due to unrelated issues so this seemed like a good time to try her barefoot.

She's only had shoes on for about 8 months. Even though she never had shoes since coming off the track, we decided to put them on because she was a little sore in her front right when I started consistently working her. The shoes helped and she was moving really well.

It's now been 3 weeks since the shoes came off and although she's toughened up so that she's not tip toeing on hard gravel anymore, she is stepping funny when I try to work her. She won't extend her strides and stumbles. Looks almost like stiffness, and seems to improve if I loosen her up with stretching or more movement. She moves fine at the canter. I'm worried though because it has been a while since the shoes were removed and short strides/stumbling may be signs of navicular?

She is only used for riding in a soft sand arena and on occasional trail rides, but if shoes are required I'll put them back on. However I'd like to try to find the underlying issue rather than just slapping a shoe on to cover it.

Does this sound like something that can be fixed over time? I will upload pics soon. Any advice is appreciated!
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· Super Moderator
18,523 Posts
Sounds more like you need to have a vet do some xrays of the feet to rule out physical changes....
Bruising, abscesses starting, bone changes are all possibilities...without looking inside you are guessing at what-ifs...
My Thoroughbred is barefoot and floats over the ground when he wants...
He also was the biggest baby and let me know it when he had a bruise sole bottom...

Find why the horse is limping and short striding then address the shoe issue.
If comfortable and only needing protection during trail rides maybe hoof boots would be a option to explore.

· Premium Member
24,143 Posts
So ha've you recently acquired the horse from racing? I second a vet, if she hasn't seen one. And a chiropractor. It is likely she has some issues from her racing days, hoof wise or other reasons. Yes, due to diet & management, OT horses commonly have terrible feet, including long toes & low heels associated with 'navicular'.

As she is still youngish, it will hopefully be possible to address them early, rather than wait for other 'real' problems. That goes for hooves/'navicular' too. Learn all you can about hoof anatomy & function, and there's a good chance, with good management, you can correct any issues she may have with her feet, to grow them strong & sound.

In the meantime, sounds like she needs hoof protection. Hoof boots when needed are generally a great option, to protect & support thin soles & heels. Check out the links in my signature. One is for taking good hoof pics for critique - angles are important for accurate ideas.

Good, we'll balanced regular trimming is important, so hopefully you have a good farrier/trimmer on hand. Good diet & nutrition are vital for good feet, as well as the rest of the horse, so read up on that too to consider what changes/supps may be appropriate.

*sorry, missed that she's been ok bare in past. So maybe not recent horse? Many farriers 'scalp' the sole & frog - pare it unnecessarily & remove material thhathat protects the foot. As conventional rims can reduce feeling, she may be apparently ok when shod but be too thin soled to protect the underlying foot.
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