Friday, September 12, 2014

Feet. Always Feet.

He is the best at remembering
No foot, no horse.

For want of a nail, the shoe was lost...

And so on.

You know why so much colloquial equine wisdom is lamenting shitty feet?

Because they are the worst thing ever.

Ugh. Courage actually has decent-ish feet. He has heels on all four and the shape isn't terrible. He hasn't lost a lot of shoes and hasn't really presented any soundness issues thus far.

But this summer has been absolute hell on his poor feet. Despite all the other horses in the barn being COMPLETELY FINE, he isn't. His feet cannot handle the wet/dry cycle of (GET THIS) a little bit of dew on the grass in the morning.

Put it on thick
Yeah. That. At his last farrier appointment, his feet were flared and chipped out and all manner of awful above his still-attached shoes and he hadn't even grown very much hoof. I tried moving his turnout time back a little combined with adding bag balm to his hoof walls every single morning to act as a moisture barrier and only turning him out on the field with grass that was quite short to minimize potential dampness.

And yeah, apparently that got us nowhere. Homeboy is trying to completely disintegrate his feet again. Like 4 weeks out from his last shoe job. Sooooooo.

No benefit other than looking shiny.
New plan. Courage spends the first few hours of turnout on a drylot with some hay. When the grass in the fields is well and truly dry, then and only then, he may go out.

It's such a frustrating balance to strike. I really do believe strongly in turnout for horses' brains and bodies, and I cannot spend all of my management energy on making the farrier perfectly happy, BUT I have to take good care of his feet or there's no point in having a horse in the first place.

Maybe I should have gotten a draftie.


  1. Ugh. If there's one thing I hate, it's foot problems!! It's weird that the little bit of wet dew is bothering his feet like that. Do you think it's maybe diet related? I know my fingernails flake and chip like crazy when my diet isn't very good.

  2. Blah, what a PITA. Have you used any of the Keretex products? When I first got Dino he had a really tough time adjusting to a more rocky turnout area and frozen ground, and the Keretex really helped. They make a gel that's supposed to help with moisture changes.

  3. I've known a few people with dew related hoof troubles...bleh no fun!

  4. Yup that's a major problem here. Mine go out at night and that's non-negotiable so when I bring them inside in the morning I put Kopertox on their feet. It works for all my guys.

    1. I'm a big koppertox supporter too! It helps keep my flat-footed pony feeling good.

  5. that's super frustrating. hopefully things start drying out a bit with fall / winter??

  6. Charlie has the same issue with the dewy grass. Most of the barn is on night turnout but I do like him to be out as much as possible so I'll usually turn him out with the couple of 24/7 horses during the day too. To help his feet though (which were cracking and getting thrushy...not sure how that combo works together but he's got it) I keep him in for a few hours until everything dries out. That seems to be helping a bit.

  7. Oh, that's maddening. You'd think horses would have evolved to deal with things like dew!

  8. Yeah but if you had a draftie you wouldn't have Mo's spiritual older brother and we'd all be sad.

    Also, as much as I'm skeptical of, like, everything, I (tentatively, perhaps) agree with the Keratex thing.

  9. Keratex Hoof Gel--best stuff EVER for protecting hooves from wetness. Believe me, I have out it to the test because it's monsoon season for 6 months straight here in Miami.
    And best for toughening up hooves IMO is venice turpentine. Sticky & a PIA but awesome!

  10. And his hooves actually look a bit long to me, especially the back toes. Other than that, I don't see major issues (???). It is hard to tell from that angle, though.

  11. what about something to help his diet? Strengthen from inside out?

  12. I know I'm late, but I agree on the diet thing... you'll have to look it up because I can't remember but I think Magnesium and/or Zinc (or maybe Copper?) are two things that horses are often deficient in and causes hoof problems... I might be thinking of the wrong ones so be sure to look it up, don't just take my word for it, I'm sleep deprived at the moment. I hope things dry up so he gets some relief from the moisture! Also how often are you treating for thrush? Horses can have it (and it cause pain) without visible (or smellable lol) symptoms. I'd do a hard core treatment with your favorite product and then maybe do something preventative like the salt water spray I use every day. Anyway I'm rambling and I hope I'm not sounding bossy or anything. I really shouldn't read/comment when I'm so tired. The gist is I hope he's doing better! Hoof problems are such a drag...


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