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 Post subject: Going Barefoot
PostPosted: Sun Sep 13, 2015 3:57 am 
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Joined: Thu Dec 04, 2014 3:19 am
Posts: 82
Location: America
Rose just got her shoes pulled off (finally.) She used to be barefoot, but when she was diagnosed with naviculars, our vet had her put on corrective shoes on her front feet. My farrier just said that we can take them off, so now she's barefoot again! :yeah: Anyway, I think she's walking better now, because she used to land toe first, and now she lands flat-footed (like, her whole foot touches the ground at once). Hopefully in a bit she'll start landing heel-first. I think she's feeling better, too, because she's been trotting a lot more than she used to. Anyway, I was going to ask if anyone has ideas on how I can help her strengthen her feet/ help her start landing heel first? Any advise would be helpful. :D


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 Post subject: Re: Going Barefoot
PostPosted: Sun Sep 13, 2015 2:19 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jan 26, 2013 4:57 pm
Posts: 149
Great that Rose can walk barefoot again :) !

I think the best thing to strengthen the hooves is movement on different grounds.

For a landing with the heels first it is important that the leg has enough time to be stretched completely before the hoof touches the ground. Therefore, the toe must not be too long so that the hoof is able to leave the ground early again. A mustang roll can be helpful.


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 Post subject: Re: Going Barefoot
PostPosted: Mon Sep 14, 2015 9:28 pm 

Joined: Wed Nov 12, 2008 9:58 pm
Posts: 1620
Location: Western Cape, South Africa
Hi Rose (I know that's the horse name and not yours!) :)
The secret to going barefoot is threefold....correct ground and movement, correct nutrition and correct trimming.
The horses hoof must be trimmed correctly in order for the frog to make contact with the ground. This can be especially difficult with horses that have just had their shoes removed or have had difficult feet issues in the past. The feet start to get feeling back and the blood flow starts to move again and sometimes you will get an abcess due to the built up toxins from having the shoes and lack of blood circulation. The muscles and ligaments need time to adjust too and by trimming too radically at first it can create pain for the horse so you need to trim frequently and little until the horse has his frog in contact with the ground. You will see after just a few months that the foot will widen and the frog will get bigger as it starts to work as it should. Keep the old shoe as you will be amazed in a year just how much that foot shape has changed.
The foot itself will adapt to the ground it walks over. So horses that move on hard ground will have hard hooves and horses that live on sand might find the stony ground a liitle tough. This is where hoof boots can be invaluable. Especially at the start when the feet are adjusting to being without shoes. The more you can have her move over hard ground the better (of course let her decide where she wants to walk that is comfortable) as the hoof will adapt over time to the terrain it needs to work on.
Nutrition is key as the hoof needs it to grow good solid horn and laminae. If your horse is in good shape body wise and coat wise then it's probably getting what it needs. There are some supplements that are good like kelp powder etc for missing nutrients but a good diet close to what nature intended (ie try and minimise bagged processed feeds and stick to grass and hay as the main source of food).
If you can make these 3 things happen then she should be on the road to having healthy feet in 6 months to a years time. Chat to your farrier about trimming regularly (and in this case about evey three weeks) until she has something that resembles a proper barefoot shape (not a trim ready for shoes).
There are lots of good sites if you want to increase your knowledge on feet. Barefoot horse is a great site that has lots of pics so you can moniter what is happening. Great job on getting rid of those shoes :applause:

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Annette O'Sullivan

Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans. - John Lennon


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 Post subject: Re: Going Barefoot
PostPosted: Tue Sep 15, 2015 2:31 am 
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Joined: Thu Dec 04, 2014 3:19 am
Posts: 82
Location: America
Thanks for your reply! I've been a bit nervous about going barefoot again, because, remember, she got her shoes on after she was diagnosed with naviculars, which meant she actually got it when she was barefoot before. But, I have a different farrier now, and I think he's a bit better with barefoot trimming. Anyway, she still seems to feel better than before, so let's keep our fingers crossed... She's currently getting over 12 hours of field time right now. I wish I could come over more to work with her, but since school's started I've been hit with a wall of homework and can't always make it to the barn as much as I would like. She's mostly eating grass and hay, with some grain for the nutrients. She's also getting a joint/hoof supplement (MSM), since I want to protect her joints as she gets older (and maybe help with the naviculars a bit.) She's taking an anti-inflammatory drug (I know some of you don't like that, you prefer homeopathy, but honestly, when she's in pain, all I care about is helping her, no matter how I get that positive result) that's really helped her quite a bit. Her back feet, which have never had shoes on her entire life, look great right now. Her front frogs are already touching the ground, just after our first trim, but I think that's normal because it's not like my farrier trimmed down her heels a lot to get that. It's just her frogs are abnormally healthy for having not been in use for a bit over a year. :) Ultimately I trust my farrier, because he's been trained as a farrier and has years of experience, where I don't. ;) Anni, I'll talk to him about the mustang roll.


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