Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Hoof walls, clips and cheating

Cibolo, modeling his bad hoof wall:

I mentioned in my previous posts that our horses had to have their rear shoes taken off and left off. I didn't quite say why.

The photo above may give you an idea. Both their hoof walls are crumbling. I don't like that my horse was in shoes with clips, and now I like it even less. Yes, after 7 weeks he'd lose his shoe, and I gather that's why you put clips on, but the place where the clip was has crushed the wall of his hoof! (Lily, on the other hand, is just plain old cracking.)

This crushing of the hoof wall seems bad to me, but maybe it's to be expected. Still, I wish I'd known about the risk of this happening... I'd rather have to reset a shoe than have this!

I have switched farriers temporarily (I got tired of hauling and the price for the farrier to come to our place is just unaffordable right now). I feel guilty switching farriers. I'm a loyalist, but at over $100 per horse, and an hour drive each way, my budget needed a break. Getting a new farrier is a nerve wracking process. Remember the last time? Yesh. It was awful. I ended up in the middle of chiro vs farrier vs vet. I came out of that more confused than ever.

I'm thinking of moving them to barefoot and getting them some boa boots for days we are on rocky terrain.

Also I'll be getting them back on platinum plus that I had stopped buying (because I can only get it at the vet and I'm just never in that part of town).

Fortunately the new farrier has done great work in correcting the overstriding of the BO's arab, so I figured she was worth a try. She takes her time (seems to me the good ones always take 90 minutes to shoe a horse), and is all about the horse's welfare. She's not so determined to get shoes on a horse that she'll do anything. I like that a lot. (She was also concerned how close the nails were to the cuticle area (I believe she used that term so I'd understand what she was saying - despite reading all these shoeing blogs, I still can't seem to "get" it) and wanted to give both horses a month to grow out some healthy hoof.)

So, at risk of starting a horse shoe fight... Any advice, farriers? barefooters? Bueller?


Mrs Mom said...

Let me mull this over today Breathe, and I'll post from a barefoot perspective, if thats OK with you. If you want, shoot me an email, and we can chat about it too.

Wolfie said...

I am new at this, but I am grateful that Gem is barefoot; always has been. I have to say his feet are beautiful and he has never had a problem. He has never had thrush, which I understand is quite common, or been lame for any reason. I think there are some horses that really benefit from having shoes. For example, I know of one horse that suffered some sort of trauma as a youngster that left her with a large crack that starts at the coronary band right down the front of her hoof. Wearing shoes literally holds her hoof together. There is another horse that has a bit of a balance issue and shoes helped correct it and ease some pain he was experiencing. But for me and Gem, barefoot is the way to go.

Life at Star's Rest said...

We are completely barefoot and the mustangs never need shoes. They don't need trimming either as they self-trim on our rocky terrain. The domestics we have brought in quickly adapted to barefoot and at most, needed boots when ridden.

My personal favorites are renegades and easyboot gloves. Both are easy to fit and easy to put on and take off.


PS...Mike is enrolled for the same Mark Rashid weekend as you so we will be there to cheer you on! We couldn't afford us both and he has never gotten to do anything like this before so he got the ride. So you will get to see what a completely natural, never trimmed, healthy horsehoof *should* look like.

Stephanie said...

All my horses that "show" have shoes. But when they are done showing for the year - the shoes come off. I've done trails and all sorts of riding barefoot - I think its great. During those times most of my horses feet have never looked better.

But I know it's not for all horses - its not - and no amount barefoot lecturing is going to convince me as my experience says otherwise.

Give it a try and see if it helps - I would defer to Mrs Mom's advice if she says otherwise....

Susan said...

I'm all for bare feet except when necessary, and have realized that horses can do well barefoot on rough ground. It depends on how much they are ridden. For those weak hooves I would feed kelp. I would bet your horses are suffering from a deficiency of mineral(s). Feeding kelp assures that all of an animals mineral needs are being satisfied. You'll probably see other benefits besides stronger hooves as well.

SprinklerBandit said...

My mare goes barefoot and is fabulous for now, even including trail riding (on rocks in mountains). I'd say hack it if you can. It's cheaper and some barefoot trimmers seem to really know their stuff... maybe just around where I live, though. Dunno.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Oooh! Those feet look horrible. I'd be worried, too.
Looks like they need a break from shoes for a while.
I remember as a child I went everwhere barefoot and never gimped or limped, not even on sharp rocks or hot sand.

As an adult I rarely ever go barefoot and if I even try to step outside for a moment without my shoes, my feet are just too tender and soft.

It will take time, but with the proper conditioning, trims and diet your horses should go well barefoot.
They sure deserve a chance at it.
Was Cibolo's feet that bad when you first bought him?
How about Lily?

My heart broke when Baby Doll's new owners told me they planned to put shoes on her so they could ride her out on the trails.

Nothing I said would convince them that shoes weren't necessary for Baby Doll.
It took me two years to turn her feet into hooves of stone, solid and strong. She could move quickly over gravel without missing a beat. I rode her up and down the mountains and ridges and she was never ever ouchy, tender or sore.

I tell ya, it breaks my heart. They will probably end up ruining her feet.
I suggested using hoof boots on her instead, and they looked at me like I had grown horns and an extra eyeball. "No, not those clunky things"

See, fashion for the rider over comfort for the horse. Not fair.
Oh...don't get me going. It really upsets me just thinking about it.

I hope I can get Apache to the same place as Baby Doll was with her feet. She has a long way to go. Her frogs are shriveled and thin, while Baby Doll's frogs were fat and wide. I want to see the same for my Apache one day, though.

There's got to be another way.

Oh! And my farrier is not an advocate of shoes, especially for healthy feet. He says they will eventually break down the hoof and cause other musculature issues in the horse.

He comes to my house and only charges me $30 for a barefoot trim and he's rathe quick, too. Takes less than 20 minutes. Of course I think that has a lot to do with whether the horse is just having maintenance done or needs to have The Works.

Good luck!


AareneX said...

Okay, I'll be the spanner in the sauce and say out loud that it ain't necessarily the SHOES that are impairing your horses' feet.

I'd take a good long look at your FARRIER, though.


I ride my horses on at least hundred miles of rocky, muddy terrain each month. The shoes don't come off, without clips. My horses have big, wide, healthy frogs, lovely, sturdy heels, and strong, healthy walls. Shoes are not evil. They may not be necessary for all horses in all conditions, but they are not inherently evil.

A good trim is a good trim. A good set of shoes is a good set of shoes. A decent farrier should be able to do both. If your farrier is setting shoes that crush hoof tissue and require clips to stay on, I'd start seriously shopping for a new farrier.

Yes, it's a pain. Yes, a good farrier is worth gold. Or more. Yes, it's worth the effort!!!

I'm a new reader, and eager to read more!