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Ok, so we have just had a month of misty damp, rainy weather and Phoenix has developed seedy toe in three hooves. I have had my hoof guy come and cut it all out. Fortunately I got onto it quickly so although Phoenny has a chunk missing out of three hooves it isn't too bad - she is not lame or anything. I treated the initial infection with a paste of vicks vapour rub and copper sulphate, the next day I washed her feet with iodine solution and am now applying Stockholm tar every day. I think I have the infection beat.

I have noticed though that there is a level of chalky brittleness between her hoof wall and the sole of her feet. Every time I ride her on gravel I have to scrape the gravel out and occasionaly larger pebbles get wedged in there too. Obviously this makes her more prone to seedy toe. I have her trimmed regularly and she has never been shod.

I am wondering if it is safe to shoe a horse that is prone to seedy toe? Will having a shoe over that hoof edge help prevent the chalkiness or am I going to end up with seedy toe under the shoe? I have no knowledge of the pros and cons of shoeing. I just want to know if shoeing a horse that gets seedy toe is sensible or a really bad idea!
 

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I'd rather not shoe in this instance, but your best bet is to get the opinions of a couple of farriers. Unless I have a hrose that is foot sore without shoes (like the current guy we've got) or is getting badly chipped hooves, I opt not to shoe. Shoeing is expensive, it makes the hooves more brital after having nails bashed into them every few weeks etc. Plus if you getting a chalkiness between the wall and the sole, the nails may end up causing more damage as they do weaken the hoof wall to an extent.
If you can keep a horse unshod, do it. Have a chat to the farrier though, I don't know what your horse's feet are like so can't really give a valid opinion.
 

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I'd rather not shoe in this instance, but your best bet is to get the opinions of a couple of farriers. Unless I have a hrose that is foot sore without shoes (like the current guy we've got) or is getting badly chipped hooves, I opt not to shoe. Shoeing is expensive, it makes the hooves more brital after having nails bashed into them every few weeks etc. Plus if you getting a chalkiness between the wall and the sole, the nails may end up causing more damage as they do weaken the hoof wall to an extent.
If you can keep a horse unshod, do it. Have a chat to the farrier though, I don't know what your horse's feet are like so can't really give a valid opinion.
Other then the expensive part I don't agree with any of this. Nails bashed into them evey few weeks??? 6 little nails driven into the white line very 8 weeks or 2 months is going to do nothing to the integrity of the hoof. It will not make the brittle or weaken the hoof wall.
I have horses that have never been without a shoe in thier 35 years without a problem.
Hot shoe the horse will actually help seal the hoof and protect the foot from getting gravel in the seedy toe.
I run about 1/2 the time barefoot and 1/2 the time shod, depending on the footing and the season.
I prefer barefoot but if the horse is compromised because of footing the shoes go on.
 

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I would try really hard to stay away from shoeing. Get a few farriers opinions, most of the time with proper trimming to make the hoof balanced and aligned, it helps alot. Certian products can help, but won't cure anything. Try the product Cleartrax. You will also need to dig out all of the infection.
 

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Talk to your farrier and let him/her make the call. I will say tho, hot shoe will kill the fungus in the seedy toe as Rio said
 

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Other then the expensive part I don't agree with any of this. Nails bashed into them evey few weeks??? 6 little nails driven into the white line very 8 weeks or 2 months is going to do nothing to the integrity of the hoof. It will not make the brittle or weaken the hoof wall.
I have horses that have never been without a shoe in thier 35 years without a problem.
Hot shoe the horse will actually help seal the hoof and protect the foot from getting gravel in the seedy toe.
I run about 1/2 the time barefoot and 1/2 the time shod, depending on the footing and the season.
I prefer barefoot but if the horse is compromised because of footing the shoes go on.
Depends on the horse. Are your horses hardly little QH's or similar? I've had a few Wb's and also tb's that couldn't live without shoes during summer but ended up with horribly brittle feet from just a few months of shoeing- yes my farrier is excellent, it isn't to do with the shoeing technique) and then in winter without shoes they would harder right up again and be tough as nails.
Speak to a few farriers, many will recomend (if they're not money hungry) that you leave shoes off if you can as you damage the hoof wall after repetive shoeings.

My horses are all shod because of the terrain and having very soft TB feet, however I would much prefer to leave them without.
 

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The very wet, damp weather that seems to covered a lot of the U.S. this year causes a lot of hoof problems. Rather than worry about shod v. barefoot, I would concentrate on special hoof care while it is so wet. Many old timers around here use iodine or ACV every day to ward off any of the myriad of bacterial and fungal problems horses get when their feet are wet all the time.
 

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I prefer barefoot. Why? Because its healthier for the horse and safer for the human. If you get an ironshod hoof in your head, you might die, but if the horse is shoeless, it dont want to be that big damage if he desides to kick. Healthier because the hoof is breathing and develops itself over time. And you learn a lot about food and training if u have a barefoothorse, cause you have to have more respect for what the horse need... :)
 

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And you learn a lot about food and training if u have a barefoothorse, cause you have to have more respect for what the horse need... :)
I don't understand that at all. My first mare, a morgan pony, had hard feet. Trimmed every 3-4 months, no shoes all year round. I sold her to get somthing bigger. My ne horse, a BSP gelding, has very short feet from neclect for months and has to be shoed for a while.
 

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you learn a lot about food and training if u have a barefoothorse, cause you have to have more respect for what the horse need... :)
How is going barefoot going to teach me about FOOD??
Instead of RESPECT don't you mean Compromise???

Can't ride here because my horse is too tender for all that rock??
Can't ride there because it snowed last night forming ice and I will slip??
NOthing but compromises.
 

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I am dealing with a similar situation. I can't seem to keep the wall to be able to grow down before it starts peeling back and breaking off again. This started happening for my horse in September. We were diligent about trimmings and seemed to be doing great .. barefoot. However, 2 days ago he is starting to really tear them apart again. My farrier is coming this week to re-assess him.

I think in my situaion I will either shorten my trimming cycles to every 4 weeks, or some type of GLUE ON shoe. Might my pricey but I will not put nails in his hooves with the way they are now, the whole hoof might just fall apart. So I will discuss my situaion with my farrier but it may be an option for you aswell. Best of luck.

-Kristin
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for your input everyone. I have been finding this a very frustrating subject because there are two very distinct camps. I have a barefoot guy I have used for years, I really like his trims, generally I would say he does good work. Ofcourse he firmly believes that shoeing my horse will create more problems. In my region there is one farrier that comes highly recommended who I have spoken to and ofcourse HE firmly believes that shoeing will fix my problem. I just want whats best for my horse.

Maybe I should look at this as a seasonal issue. At the moment we are coming into summer, the ground is hardening up. The tracks that I ride on are becoming rock hard and I have to take Phoenix down a gravel road at the start of each ride. I had been considering shoeing her anyway simply because we do have to spend time on a gravel road and the stones are very sharp. I actually never ride her and prefer to lead her on this particular road. I am wondering if having her barefoot on such sharp stones has been the start of the problem as the stones are so sharp they get wedged between the wall and sole of her feet. Maybe this could be contributing to the chalkiness.

As I said I am pretty on top of the seedy toe infection, it has been treated with copper sulphate, iodine and I am applying stockholm tar everyday. The farrier I would use to shoe will hot shoe, maybe it is worth doing just to see what happens. I can have the shoes removed if it causes more problems right?
 

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Thanks for your input everyone. I have been finding this a very frustrating subject because there are two very distinct camps. I have a barefoot guy I have used for years, I really like his trims, generally I would say he does good work. Ofcourse he firmly believes that shoeing my horse will create more problems. In my region there is one farrier that comes highly recommended who I have spoken to and ofcourse HE firmly believes that shoeing will fix my problem. I just want whats best for my horse.

Maybe I should look at this as a seasonal issue. At the moment we are coming into summer, the ground is hardening up. The tracks that I ride on are becoming rock hard and I have to take Phoenix down a gravel road at the start of each ride. I had been considering shoeing her anyway simply because we do have to spend time on a gravel road and the stones are very sharp. I actually never ride her and prefer to lead her on this particular road. I am wondering if having her barefoot on such sharp stones has been the start of the problem as the stones are so sharp they get wedged between the wall and sole of her feet. Maybe this could be contributing to the chalkiness.

As I said I am pretty on top of the seedy toe infection, it has been treated with copper sulphate, iodine and I am applying stockholm tar everyday. The farrier I would use to shoe will hot shoe, maybe it is worth doing just to see what happens. I can have the shoes removed if it causes more problems right?
Anyway you could post some pictures of the hooves?
 

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I would stay away from shoeing as much as possible. Not that there is anything wrong with it, but it is not only more economical, but it also allows your horse to keep a more natural hoof and in a lot of instances makes it stronger as well.
 

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How is going barefoot going to teach me about FOOD??
Instead of RESPECT don't you mean Compromise???

Can't ride here because my horse is too tender for all that rock??
Can't ride there because it snowed last night forming ice and I will slip??
NOthing but compromises.
I'd have to disagree with this statement, but first off I have to say that I am neither for or against shoeing. It varies from horse to horse and is not a black and white issue. However, having shoes does not mean that a rock will not wedge itself in the grooves along the frog when riding on rocky ground, so it is not advisable to do so even with shoes. Also, barefoot horses will build up ice rims on their feet which actually gives them better grip on the ice than a shod horse. There are some horses at the barn where I work that have normal shoes on right now and I am always afraid that they are going to cripple themselves someday in the paddock or coming in to the barn where it is all ice. Of course, you can always go the borium or stud root, but I am guessing that you are still not going to want to risk riding your horse over ice. Also, there are drawbacks to these methods such as the added damage that a horse can do to another horse or a human with studs in their feet, and the possibility of injury if the shoe provides too much grip that it strains a tendon while the horse is playing outside.

To the OP, is it a possibility that you could move the horse to a drier paddock? It seems like fixing the root cause would be the best solution. Maybe even ordering a load of stonedust and creating a dry area in the paddock that the horse can stand on would give him escape from the moisture and allow his hooves to firm up. Also, I would suggest that you talk to a reliable farrier that does BOTH barefoot and shod trims that way the opinion is not biased. Getting as many opinions as you can is also a sound piece of advice for a situation like this.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Pics of Phoenix's feet. Hopefully they will give you all something to work with.
 

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after looking at the pictures I would definitely get the horse shod. It also looks like it is overdue for a trim.
All farrier trim as well as shoe and probably half the horses on his books are barefoot.
 

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Also, barefoot horses will build up ice rims on their feet which actually gives them better grip on the ice than a shod horse. There are some horses at the barn where I work that have normal shoes on right now and I am always afraid that they are going to cripple themselves someday in the paddock or coming in to the barn where it is all ice. .
No horse should be shod with plain steel shoes in the winter. All shod horses require either borim, drill tec or studs along with rim pads or full pads. A properly shod horse can run over anything.
I live in snow country and for 4 months we have snow and ice, lots of ice. Some of the best riding is running over groomed snowmobile trails. They are covered in ice because they are packed and have lots of ice, glare at times and properly shod you can maintain a sharp trot or laid back lope over slick ice with NO problems. So far I have never had a horse go down on ice.
Just putting the barefoot horses out mornings is a chore and risky from the way they try to keep their footing. Our stud went down hard last year while being led into the barn while I have never seen one of the shod horses fall, never.


As for the added traction of borium or studs harming a tendon better get yourself a tougher horse.
 

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How is going barefoot going to teach me about FOOD??
Instead of RESPECT don't you mean Compromise???

Can't ride here because my horse is too tender for all that rock??
Can't ride there because it snowed last night forming ice and I will slip??
NOthing but compromises.
If ur horse gets food who has a lot of sugar in it, you might see he gets sore if he is barefoot. but that will not shows if he is shod. just an example. Im not good at writing english, but i try. :lol:
 

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after looking at the pictures I would definitely get the horse shod. It also looks like it is overdue for a trim.
All farrier trim as well as shoe and probably half the horses on his books are barefoot.
I disagree with this comment.

I mean that you can have the horse without shoe if you get an educated barefoottrimmer to trim his feet. I you look at the shape, you will see that the hooves are wide and round, just as a barefoothoof should be (at least the front feets). I see also cracks at the bottom on the hoof, but that is because the horse has started to trim his feet by himself.

My best advice for you to get a well-functioning barefoothorse is to gravel up a paddock or a fencing and let the horse walk on this to stimulate the blood circulation in the hoof. Then you will see that the sole are getting more concave over time and he will be usable on all substrates.
 
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