We are going barefoot!

Mary Poppins

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Oct 10, 2004
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#41
Can you explain more on the artificial way the farrier trimmed the backs? Isn't this actually the bottom line of your issues, nothing to do with working from behind and dressage, but simply an unbalanced artificially shaped hoof that's gone on for a such a long time, it's now caused all the tightness and the horse is off balance?
Any farrier or trimmer using whatever method should shape the hoof to the shape the hoof is, never alter the natural shape. You do not need to be touching an unshod hoof every six weeks and if the farrier has found something to fiddle with, he's been taking off foot that Ben has needed.
My lass has one hoof that's slightly bigger than her other, it grows slightly different. We never force that hoof to match the other one.

If he's arthritic he might stay 1/10 lame. I don't follow the need for a gait analysis to be honest. You can film him yourself and slow it down to show the gait. Unless I am missing something. His backs need time to adjust to be allowed to grow as they need to.

I don't want to be at the stage where mine hasn't seen the farrier for three years. If your horse goes lame the first thing the insurance company and vet ask is when did you see the farrier. I like my farrier to pop out and look her over, level if necessary. I am not a farrier and I still value his professional input.
I have parted company with the farrier who trimmed his hind feet so can't really discuss his approach. To be honest I just let him get on with it with the view that he was a professional and was doing a good job. Yes, his stifle injury could have been caused by an incorrect trim which left his feet too boxy and upright. Or, this could be his natural confirmation and it would have happened anyway. Or it could have been the dressage that caused the stifle injury which caused him to move in a certain way which resulted in his hind feet becoming too boxy. I never used to speak to my farrier and I had no idea that his feet were not in a good way. If I had, perhaps the lameness would have been avoided?

The plan now is to leave the feet well alone and see what natural shape they fall into. My farrier and vet are working together to closely monitor him. The aim isn't to suddenly ditch the farrier, it is a case of working with him to achieve the desired outcome, which is a completely sound horse.

The gait analysis is part of a barefoot clinic I am going to which is being run by Rockley Farm. This will look at exactly how he lands on his feet at the moment which may provide some answers regarding his lameness.

For me, the result will not be what his feet looks like or what shape they are, it will be in how he moves. If we can shake off the remaining lameness and get him moving better, that is what success looks like. I have no idea if it will work or not, I am not saying that the self-trimming method is the only way for barefoot. All I am saying is that this is the path I have chosen to take for now. I respect all the different methods of feet care and I appreciate that this may not work out and we may be back in shoes within the month. But if I don't try, I won't know.
 

Mary Poppins

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#42
Billy was barefoot when I bought him. I don't think he was ever shod by his previous owners either. I'm amazed in 2½ years I have never had his feet even trimmed. I got the farrier to look at them the other day and he's happy and says there's nothing to trim.
This is exactly what I am aiming for. It is good to hear that it is possible.
 

newforest

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Mar 15, 2008
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#43
If you are worried about people commenting what his feet look like this is our crack. She's not lame but she does flare if not checked. But I don't consider checking this as trimming as such as any more than snipping a split on my nails is a manicure.
Her way of going for us means she wears down her insides more than her outsides. My footwear looks similar probably. :D

Before and after barely a difference, but underneath I simply shaped the excess.
Chicken and an egg though scenario, does the crack cause the flare because it's weaker or the flare cause the crack.

PicsArt_06-25-05.09.25.jpg
 

Flipo's Mum

Heavy owner of a Heavy
Aug 17, 2009
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#44
@newforest that crack gives me shivers, but it’s only because I’ve had an experience with a hoof crack that caused 7months of boxrest and 7.5k of vet and other associated bills which I’m still paying off a year and a half later.

@Mary Poppins i will watch this with interest, from a heavier horse point of view.
My lad came to me barefoot and stayed as such until he went lame and had to have fronts on. At that point my own vet and those at the hospital agreed that bigger hooves don’t have any more concavity than smaller and it can lead to issues. I stay away from road work as much as possible and only trot if absolutely necessary on hard ground. I was out running last night and thought what a lovely route I was on, but sadly the stoney path would still be too much for my lad. I am constantly aware of joints as well as feet quality, shod or not.
 
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Jessey

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#46
I have to say I would be doing more than keeping my eyes on a crack like that, having watched dissections of feet with cracks that appear similar to that and seeing the damage they do to the internal foot I would def be treating for infection and looking for the trim to address the imbalances causing it, I appreciate that you say her conformation predisposes her to flaring but I personally wouldn't be letting it get to that stage, though I know you will have sought advise from your vet and farrier on it so perhaps there's more to it then those pics show :)
 

newforest

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#47
It looks worse because she just chipped off a piece at the bottom. Usually it's a line.
Vet and farrier seen it because she did it originally climbing on the rocks in the field. It was bruised for months, but that was two years ago.
Now the flare appears to start by the crack everytime. You can't just rasp the outside because that makes it too thin, so you are left with checking that it's tight underneath and not stretched and balanced.
 

Prjsmk

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#48
I meant trimming actual cutting hoof off... I just do a slight rasp, no major crAcks or breaks, but on stoney tracks if he does hit a stone or rock it sometimes takes a bit out, hes got good feet in general according to the farrier, always been barefoot, il show u an example of the breaks

my fave products to use to keep his feet looking ok are red horse sole clense, hasnt had even a tiny bit of thrush since i have been using that! And kevin bacons hoof stuff. All seems well with the feets :)

sorry to dive in mid discussion havent been on since my last post and its all moved on since lol
 

Mary Poppins

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#51
Hi all,

The barefoot is going very well so far, thanks for asking. His feet look quite messy as they have cracked up to where the old nail holes were. However, the new hoof wall growing down is really strong and he is moving really well. He hasn't been at all footsore and we have been hacking out daily for an hour each time. He happily goes over all sorts of surfaces. I have noticed that his soles on his front feet are softer than on the back feet (which have never worn shoes), and occasionally stones have got stuck in the sole. I feel like I am always picking out his feet to check them for stones.

The vet saw him last week and was really pleased with how his feet are looking. He is developing a medial imbalance (I think that is the correct term) in both his front feet, so they basically flare slightly to the inside. But this is exactly the point to this approach, his feet will not look symmetrical and will shape themselves in a way that will enable himself to support his body. My vet doesn't want the farrier to see him at all at this point. His frogs are spreading out and becoming more weight bearing. Despite the cracks due to the old nail holes, his feet look amazingly healthy and strong. I love the fact that he no longer slips on tarmac and he doesn't slip coming off the lorry. His feet are so much more grippy without the shoes.

He is now on equabalance equivita supplement (I may have the name slightly wrong). This is supposed to contain everything that he needs for a healthy foot, although I still have to add extra salt and magnesium to his diet. I can already see that the new hoof wall growing down is tighter and there is a ring at the top of the hoof which indicates a change in diet. It will be interesting to see if there is a big difference in his hoof wall as a result of the supplement, but this will take several months to see.

So overall, so far so good. I am really pleased that the shoes are gone, it has been a good move so far.