Newly barefoot with very soft hooves, advice needed please

raggydoll

Hattie & Bimble
May 16, 2005
1,483
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North Lincolnshire
Hi - i haven't been on here in quite a long time but could really do with a bit of advice from all you barefoot converts please!

My mare has had laminitis at some point in her life and has really poor quality hooves as a result. This combined with her age and time of year has started to cause problems lately. Basically the farrier has had to repeatedly nail into the same place so it has become really weak. Last time he came a week ago we agreed to try taking her shoes off to give her feet chance to recover over the winter while she is not being ridden very much. I have just started her on formula 4 feet and she is also having cornucrescine put on daily and keratex hoof hardener daily at the moment but according to the instructions should be 3 times a week form next week. She seems to be perfectly sound on soft ground but very sore on gravelly surface and somewhere inbetween on flat concrete. My conern is that because her feet are so soft and crumbly she has already worn them down just being in a muddy field. They are level most of the way round with the sole but the fronts are chipped right back shorter than the sole. Is this normal or will it be causing her pain? Is there anything else i should look out for? What should i expect over the next few weeks? When do i say enough is enough and put shoes back on? When should i start to see some signs of improvement? and finally am i doing all the right things and is there anything else i could/should be doing??

ETA - also should i avoid taking her out on hard ground/riding her or will short trips out help to encourage hoof growth??

Thanks in advance!
 
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Y

Yann

Guest
Wall level with the sole and chipping above that level (especially around the nail holes and at the toe) is normal and nothing to worry about. I would personally get her some hoof boots and comfort pads and protect her from anything she's uncomfortable on for the time being, and if she's happy then take her for walks or maybe even ride her on a soft surface in them. Sound over stones can take an awful long time for some long time shod horses, but you should see an improvement on concrete relatively quickly, certainly within 6-8 weeks. Once you're at that stage I'd personally ride as much as possible within her comfort zone, the more work the hooves are doing the better.

What are you feeding? Daft as it sounds that can make a difference too.
 

Palomino Mare

New Member
Jan 22, 2007
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i've turned my horse away for the winter and have been advised it could take a good year to get him sound barefoot.

what your doing sounds similar to me - i'm feeding f4f and using naf hoof&sole (like you are the keratex) to harden and help kill off the white line disease/thrush that he has.

how lame is she in the field? my horse is lame in the field but crippled in mud or hard ground so being on grass is the best for him until his feet get a bit better - then i assume i can build him up on other surfaces but you may already be at this point.

If you search my threads you will see pics of his feet and the crumbling etc you is describe is normal.

one of nr's great barefoot gurus may correct what ive just said but im still learning:eek::D
 

raggydoll

Hattie & Bimble
May 16, 2005
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North Lincolnshire
Hi thanks for the replies :)

She is currently being fed speedi beet and alpha a lite. I struggle with her as she doesn't hold her weight well any more but has had lami in the past. She also has garlic and cortaflex.

She's not lame in the field at all as the ground is very soft.

Was already thinking hoof boots may be the way to go. Will measure her up tomorrow for some i think.
 
Y

Yann

Guest
Old Macs (Original or G2) depending on hoof shape are usually a good bet for horses straight out of shoes. Diet doesn't sound a problem, and grass shouldn't be as troublesome at this time of year.
 

Ashlea

New Member
Sep 18, 2008
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Cornwall
Keratex!!
Its about £20 a bottle, and lasts quite a while - it really helps to toughen up poor/soft/brittle feet...and is quite good for the barefoot hoof in general! It toughens up the hoof wall/horn, and also toughens up the frog/sole :D

I rub baby oil into my fillies hooves to keep them shiny and help keep a more consistant moisture balance too!

Stockholms tar is quite useful too - I put it in nicks etc as at it helps to encourage good regrowth of the horn- I also put it in small scrapes on the skin - its an antisceptic, stops anything from getting in/out of the wound and also encourages hair regrowth :D
 

wundahoss

New Member
May 7, 2008
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Victoria, Australia
Hi,

Great that you've decided to give her a break. There was a time that the majority of horses would have a barefoot 'spell' at least a couple of months each year, but these days it seems that many vets & farriers have forgotten the benefit of this. It seems that your horse's feet are hardly growing? Shoes can reduce growth & strength by reducing circulation. This is usually more of a problem in horses who's feet are also contracted - arguably another problem commonly caused by shoes. Diet - & metabolic disturbances such as laminitis also have a part in determining hoof growth.

As Yann has said, the length of her feet aren't a prob. They wouldn't have worn off on soft ground, but rather the excess length has broken off. If she's foundered before, chances are her toes are stretched forward of where they should be & that's why there's more pressure/breaking off there. If you took a rasp & rounded the outer edges off('mustang roll'), this should reduce or eliminate the chipping. If your farrier left the walls substantially(more than 1/8") longer than the sole, especially if she's foundered, I suspect the quality/method of trimming is having a bearing on your problems. The principles and frequency of trimming have a huge bearing on the health of hooves.

I too would be using hoofboots. Exercise on firm ground is also one of the most important factors for rehabilitation - the more the better - but obviously you don't want to make her uncomfy doing it. Chances are, her heels are also very sensitive, and even with a good trim, may be too weak at present to allow her to land heel first without boots. This is very important, as toe first landings cause & exacerbate many issues. If there's a way of getting her to exercise in the paddock(Google 'paddock paradise' if needing ideas), that would be great, as she can get some without relying on you.

Ensure that as well as a 'low-GI' diet, she's getting all the required nutrients in correct balance, and that she is getting her rations in many small feeds per day, rather than only a few. If you're unsure of a balanced nutrition &/or feed in only 2-3 meals per day, this can have a negative effect on weight as well as hoof health.

I don't actually think there's much point in keratex & the likes. The reasons for a horse being tender are rarely if ever because horn is not hard enough. It is generally the thickness - or lack of - of the sole, &/or weak heels & digital cushions. That will improve with good diet, hoofcare and lifestyle, when she will be able to grow stronger hoof.

Above all, I think it's imperative you learn about the principles of hoof mechanics & care that are vital for soundness. For one, farriery - hoof trimming - is only one important factor. Secondly, you will learn what you need to be able to find & basically evaluate a trimmer, so that you will have some idea of whether they're good, bad, indifferent. Thirdly, as with most things in life, there are a few different approaches, so it's up to you to learn the pros & cons of each before choosing which one you'll go with.

www.hoofrehab.com , www.barefoothorse.com , www.naturalhorsetrim.com are 3 good sites to start with. BTW, I don't personally agree with all the details from the last site, but it's a great learning resource anyway. Happy journeys!
 

dappy

New Member
Jul 6, 2008
23
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Lincolnshire
I would echo the others, exercise as much as poss but not when / where she is uncomfortable. Oil will make the feet softer, cornucresine will help outer wall growth, but thats not so much what is needed - you need inner wall for strength and that comes with exercise. Mind you being constantly wet won't help, can you get her somewhere dry(er) for part of the day? even a stable is better than being on a waterlogged field 24/7

Have you checked for infection? Thats important.
 

raggydoll

Hattie & Bimble
May 16, 2005
1,483
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38
North Lincolnshire
Thanks for the replies.
I don't have a stable so unfortunately there is nowhere drier to put her.
How would i check for infection?? The farrier hasn't mentioned anything i presume he will have picked up on it if there was anything there?
 

bensmum

New Member
Nov 20, 2008
20
0
0
Sussex
I decided to go barefoot with my clydesdale eight months ago because he was tripping. Because of the size of his feet, the shoes he wore were very heavy, and I wondered if it might help him and I have to say it was the best thing I coould have done.
At first he was very sore and his feet crumbly.. He hopped on the road and couldnt bear walking on rough ground at all. His feet were treated with keratex and stockholm tar on the bottom, lindseed oil in his feed and vaseline in any cracks ( of which there were plenty.) As well as helping with general nutrition and hoof growth, oil can help to gain and maintain weight, but you would need to check if it is ok to feed to laminitic ponies.He is trimmed every six weeks which is now going down to eight weeks.
He is now able to be ridden on the road about three times a week, with trotting and his feet now make a clip clop sound rather than a pad pad, as they have hardened up.
He stands around the yard without being tied up, and the other day decided to go for a wander...straight over a huge pile of bricks that had been deposited on the ground, and you would have thought he was walking on grass.
It does take time, but I would say persevere. The best thing you can do for a lamanitic horse is to get the shoes off and I am sure six months down the line you will be pleased you did. My farrier actually told me it takes about a year to get the feet properly hardened.
 
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old_woman

a VERY senior citizen
Thanks for the replies.
I don't have a stable so unfortunately there is nowhere drier to put her.

I've been in that situation. You don't need a stable - you need somewhere that is drier underfoot than the rest of your field, and at the same time comfortable. What you might be able to do is find a sheltered patch of field which is reasonably well-drained, get railway sleepers delivered, arrange them in a large rectangle, about 15ft x 20ft or whatever you can manage with the sleepers you get, and 'fill up' the space with bark chippings, sand or whatever you can get in quantity which will drain through and be comfortable underfoot. Of course it's best if you can fence off around the sleepers to contain your horse there when you want. Electric would be fine. Now you have a drier place for him to stand while he is fed, groomed, tacked up, left for an hour with some hay while you poo-pick ... etc etc. However much it rains, this area should still be drier underfoot than a normal field on low-lying ground.

Hope that helps.
 

landcruiser

New Member
May 19, 2008
142
0
0
Wiltshire
Yes, I have a section in my field behind my shelter (where they stand if it's blowy or wet) which has fieldguard mats down. It's not perfect, but they are out of the mud. My EP says NO to keratex (AFTER I bought some!) and no to anything else painted on the hooves too. She reckons oil makes the hooves soggy, Keratex makes them brittle and non functional - they are designed to flex. My advice would be to get the hooves assessed by a good Equine Podiatrist - there's a lot to learn and you need support.
 
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