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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So some people might no that our holiday is a no go due to her CT on the 8th and maybe surgery too. Katie was off work until end of august anyway at minimum. She's a 17.1hh irish draught X for anyone that doesn't know - to bear in mind her weight and the fact road work (to get to trails) and jumping will be a thing in her life once she's better.

Would now be a good time to give her feet a rest and take off her shoes? Putting on some boots as well ofc. Not sure about things like control shoe or megasus runner for example just yet. Paying out of my butt for this incoming vet bill would like to get that over with. It's hot, the dirt ground is hard. As far as I'm aware she's had all 4 shod for several years now without a rest.

Farrier comes every week on the regular to do the horses on rotation so easy to put back on fronts if she's super tender?

Thanks x

edit: and if this is the beginning of a barefoot transition, if she's up for it and can't ride her for a few then so be it. Any suggestions welcome!
 

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Since most of the horse's weight is on the front, I'd take of the back shoes first, for starters. The farrier can tell you whether the concavity of the hooves give her "soft parts" enough clearance. Most likely, she'll have to grow her hooves out a bit to deal with harsher terrain.

Her soles and frog are likely a bit softer than they would be in a barefoot horse, so that'd make her more ouchy for a while. It's like you stepping onto a pile of LEGO pieces vs. a member of a stone-age tribe in the Amazon.

So I'd get some observations about her hind feet - see if you can build up their strength with boots - while tapering off their usage - and that'll give you some experience for the front, which is more load bearing, thus more sensitive if you get it wrong.
 

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Yes, any time you can is a good time to give a horse a break from shoes. They should be given regular breaks as long as possible, not shod back to back to back. Shoes arent necessarily problematic, but leaving them on long term without respite is.

So i didnt get the first bit - what ct & surgery for?? But if she is off work, she should be fine bare. If she isnt fine just rocking around the paddock, means her feet are in a bad way (& i would NOT be putting shoes on her until theyre healthy). In that case she may also need padded boots.

Farrier should generally do minimal trimming when shoes are first removed and not pare frog or sole.

Do educate yourself as much as you can on hoof health & function. See links in my signature.

Couple of comment on what mmshiro said... Horses use their hinds differently and that is why theyre generally in healthier shape(which doesnt mean unhealthy fronts should be left shod), not that theyre less weighted, which isnt quite true anyway - depends what theyre doing as to how feet are weighted and hinds often cop more force.

She should NOT have 'soft parts'!! Her soles & frogs should not be soft & it indicates significant probs if they are. Theu will however likely be *thinner* than they should be, through lack of function & often farriers also pare sole & frog way too much.

And concavity for 'clearance' is not the issue
If the horse is living on yielding footing - regular paddock for eg - there isnt clearance anyway, regardless of concavity. And if a horse is working on hard ground then peripheral loading(be that shod or not) to the degree that frog & sole are suspended off the ground is NOT a good thing at all.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
@loosie the issue with her runny nostril has turned into two runny nostrils. She still hangs her head right and after three months of getting her teeth done on the re-check the vet said they were so worn again on one side it's if they hadn't been done at all! (And she did them herself so she knows she did it!) We think it's connected the old injury that has possibly displaced her jaw and maybe her sinuses as well. So much for my holiday - Katie is packing food in her mouth for comfort, which wasn't something she did before, so finding out she's deterioting in her stoic way we all agreed it way for the best to get her ct'd and sorted ASAP - HOLIDAY OUT THE WINDOW!

She is now off ridden and bridle work until I say much to instructors dismay (working livery) though I will continue to hand walk her around.

For her HOOVES: instructor looked at me like I was a mad woman when I said I want to take her shoes off next week. She heavily advised against having her front shoes off because of her thin soles. She gave me an even crazier look when I said "well if she has to be off until she heals then so be it". Like you know, she has flat feet and big frogs that just contacts the ground with shoes and yes there isn't a huge amount of concavity in the rest of the sole in all 4 feet actually. I wont lie I think anything hoof related is pretty intimidating. I worry that her heels are under-run because that is one big thing I've noticed change since I got her which has to be farrier related? But her soles and frog are mostly unchanged in terms of concavity/size etc.

I will maybe take off her hinds a week before the fronts. She never needed boots when I took off her hinds for the month period in Feb-ish. Is it acceptable to put boots on fronts only? I do anticipate she will be tender on her fronts initially after so many years of it being back-to-back.
 

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The only thing I can add to the discussion is that not all horses will have sensitivity when their shoes are removed. When we bought Harley, he had shoes on all fours, and the next time the trimmer came around, we discussed it and agreed it was worth a try to see if he could go barefoot. He didn't skip a beat. Now, like Katie, he's pretty stoic, and he did have a couple of abscesses, but after that, no issues. Never any lameness (even with the abscesses), no hint of soreness at all. Mind you, he hardly ever walks on pavement or rocks, really.

You probably need someone who has training in barefoot trimming to truly assess her though. In my limited experience, farriers want to put shoes on all horses, and trimmers never do (or almost never).
 

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Couple of comment on what mmshiro said... Horses use their hinds differently and that is why theyre generally in healthier shape(which doesnt mean unhealthy fronts should be left shod), not that theyre less weighted, which isnt quite true anyway - depends what theyre doing as to how feet are weighted and hinds often cop more force.

She should NOT have 'soft parts'!! Her soles & frogs should not be soft & it indicates significant probs if they are. Theu will however likely be *thinner* than they should be, through lack of function & often farriers also pare sole & frog way too much.

And concavity for 'clearance' is not the issue
If the horse is living on yielding footing - regular paddock for eg - there isnt clearance anyway, regardless of concavity. And if a horse is working on hard ground then peripheral loading(be that shod or not) to the degree that frog & sole are suspended off the ground is NOT a good thing at all.
- Weight distribution, given that the horse "walks" most of its time, especially without rider: A GREEN HORSE is a NATURAL, ECONOMICAL and ECO-FRIENDLY WAY to a HEALTHY HORSE: Natural Horse Gaits

- If it doesn't sound like a piece of wood (or "hard" horn) when I tap on it, it's "soft". If pieces flake off from a structure that I can bend like rubber, that structure is "soft". In the hoof mapping video that's been offered as "excellent advice" around here, farrier states that a shod hoof often gets trimmed to the "waxy" part of the sole - which is probably "softer" than the "hard" hoof wall. My farrier states the same: A barefoot sole gets trimmed less than a shod one, so you get less close to where it gets "waxy". Because if you cut down to far, you don't have enough resistance against sharp objects like small rocks pushing through to where the real "soft" (living") tissue is.

- If the horse is on yielding footing, she probably won't have a problem with removing the shoes either way, just as you would not have problems barefoot in the pasture. However, the hoof wall, if extending a bit beyond the sole like a shoe would, will take some contact force off the center when riding on unyielding, abrasive surfaces like tarmac, or stepping on stuff that's the horse's equivalent of LEGO pieces. To take the metaphor back to you, even the "soft" rubber sole on your slippers gives a lot of protection here, followed by socks, followed by toughened skin, followed by barefoot with a princess's feet. (OP states she has to hit the road to get to the trails, the rockiness of which is unknown.) Naturally, all of the bottom of the foot will hit the surface she's walking on - I mean, that's the point of an elastic, shock absorbing hoof, the question is with what intensity while the foot builds up resistance. Key (the OTTB I'm leasing for the summer), I did not take out on the trails right after trimming until he had the chance to regrow some hoof wall. And yes, he was more ouchy in the beginning, when I just started taking him again, than we was today, for example.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Funnily enough TODAY was the day the farrier was here. That is why she was in... and yet it is because she was in that she was attacked by those wasps! So no hoof pics today obviously... BUT just as a refresher these are some random, non-profile pics just for a gander to get an idea...
 

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Ummm... not getting into shoes on or off, the condition of hooves, yada, yada...
I'm not a farrier and that is horse specific and determined by the animal.

What I will say is...
Get hold of your vet and ask about the shoes being on for that scan.
She may need to "for medical reasons" have those shoes removed....you can have it done or they will do it their way at the testing location.:|
If it was me and they were "suggested" to be off on arrival, then the answer is made for you.
But before incurring the cost of new shoes...make a call and see what is needed, wanted, suggested.
just a thought...
:runninghorse2:....
jmo...
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Blimey... you always think of these things haha @horselovinguy....

I'm not sure I guess it depends what type of scanner they have. Will definitely ask though. So maybe it works out annnnnnnnnnyway :p As for hoof stuff don't worry, it is as migraine inducing as nutrition for me, still. Just as scary. I guess there is only one way to find out what is best and it's by actually seeing what Katie feels best... >.<
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
@mmshiro I did a whoops... in the short term, a month maybe two, she'll just be a field ornament until I am convinced she is well enough to be bitted again. I am not even happy to ride her bitless not because of training or whatnot but just because she is generally uncomfortable and it must be affecting her carriage with or without it. So for now she get's to live an easy life, minus more wasp attacks I hope and give her feet/joints a break, hopefully. There is a single dirt trail, flat rock in some places but mostly dirt, where I'll be taking her down the most in-hand.

I don't even know what I'm seeing when I look at those pictures. I only know that her heels have "moved". Everything I thought was correct in a hoof is proving more wrong each day... just hoping I learn quick enough for her.

edit: and I just want to make clear I am not against shoeing at all. This isn't my attempt to go bare or nothing! I do think it's reasonable to give her feet and joints a break though and let her see how she feels without them.
 

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edit: and I just want to make clear I am not against shoeing at all. This isn't my attempt to go bare or nothing! I do think it's reasonable to give her feet and joints a break though and let her see how she feels without them.
Oh, I know that. I think we're both talking about making the transitional and adjustment period as little cumbersome for her as possible. If she'll spend her days on grass for a few weeks, I see no risk in taking the shoes off all at once.
 

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edit: and I just want to make clear I am not against shoeing at all. This isn't my attempt to go bare or nothing! I do think it's reasonable to give her feet and joints a break though and let her see how she feels without them.
Similarly, I am not against shoes at all either! We happened to stumble upon a great trimmer who believes in barefoot. Given that our horses have decent hooves, and given that they mostly walk on grass and sand, it's worked well for us. But every horse is different. Do what works for Katie! But also, sometimes, you have to make choices based on the availability and preferences of the relevant expert. It dose not sound like your farrier is keen on shoes. In the end, there are many factors that can influence these decisions. I know you will make the best possible choice.
 

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You sound... testy in your reply mm. Sorry if you took my post badly - I didnt mean to sound argumentative or such in the least...

- Weight distribution, given that the horse "walks" most of its time,
Yes, at a walk they are usually 'front heavy'. I dont believe i bothered with details, think i just said it depends, and its not all about weight distribution.

- If it doesn't sound like a piece of wood (or "hard" horn) when I tap on it, it's "soft". If pieces flake off from a structure that I can bend like rubber,
I wouĺdnt say the sound is a definite indicator at all & i wouldnt want frog sounding like horn or being inflexible anyway. But yes, absoĺutely, if sole can be(remotely) 'bent like rubber' :eek_color: that is... very not a good thing!

I have only experienced *soft* sole a couple of times before, both times after pedal bone penetration & not sure whether it was true sole material that grew over it (dr bowker said he didnt think proper sole could regenerate over a penetration, but on further evidence, we thought the diff betwwen those that cant & can is about using chems that retard growth)

I have, unfortunately not that rarely, dealt with horses yhat were so thin soled they yielded to my thumb pressure tho. Thats bad too, but not end of world. I wouldnt say their soles were soft, just so thin they were flexible. Perhaps (i hope) thats what you mean by soft soles.

Neither of the above are necessarily a problem of shoes v's bare though.

states that a shod hoof often gets trimmed to the "waxy" part of the sole - which is probably "softer" than the "hard" hoof wall.
.

Yeah regardless of whether they shoe or not, farriers very often over prune the bottom surfaces. :-( Live frog is definitely soft. Sole, regardless of live or dead is also softer than wall horn. Ime old sole is not nec. Harder than live sole tho & sometomes hhe opposite - you can scrape it off with a hoofpick even.

just as you would not have problems in the pasture. However, the hoof wall, if extending a bit beyond the sole like a shoe would, will take some contact force off the center when riding on unyielding, abrasive surfaces like tarmac, or stepping on stuff that's the horse's equivalent of LEGO
Quoted that first bit above because you're talking to someone who can comfortably run down a gravel rd barefoot... yet a couple of my horses need boots to keep up with me on that. :p

And the next bit - yes im well aware that peripheral loading can indeed be a great *palliative* but this ime is by far the most damaging effect of shoes (or bare with long, strong walls or very concave feet on hard, flat surfaçes). I think raising what Dog put on the bottom of the horses feet so theyre out of commission is definitely contra-indicated.

They may well need artificial protection *& support* if sole & frog are too weak to use properly though.

Ime the only time ive found horses to benefit from *relief* underneath (assuming they not too far gone for anything but palliative only) is when sole is ULTRA thin such as severe founder, when a crescent may need to be cut out of thick pads to relieve the tip of p3, unt enough can grow back.

(OP states she has to hit the road to get to the trails,
Op also stated horse is not in work for some time. ;-) Even thin soled horses *generally* find paved surfaces fine when bare tho.
 
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