Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Here We Go Again (Hoof Whoas)

Please laugh at my funny pun in the title. :-p

Anyways. I'm breaking my personal rule again and talking about hoofcare. Here goes.

Cuna has stereotypical crappy thoroughbred feet. We tried to do some work on them this winter, but pretty much as soon as his shoes got pulled, his feet fell apart and it was a no go.

Living it up
Enter semi retirement.

Our farrier came out and pulled Cuna's hind shoes so he could be safely turned out with other horses. At the time, he looked at his front feet, but declared them to be ok and set another date to come and check.

A few days later, I noticed that Cuna's right front looked all manner of funny, with the hoof wall coming over the shoe and the nails suspiciously loose. Before I had time to call the farrier about it the next day, Cuna did a wild stallion gallop around the pasture and left the shoe behind.

Our farrier was out again last night, supposedly to put the shoe back on. He and I stared at Cuna's bare right front. Cuna had done quite a number on it, chipping out both sides and leaving a lopsided toe. Hmmmm.

The farrier chewed and spat. "How long is he on vacation for?" he asked.

"Mid September," I said.

He got that face that tells me he's thinking, then said, "We should probably just leave his shoes off."

It's not blood. That's fly goop to keep hives away.
Basically, due to the nature of a big, grassy pasture, Cuna's hooves get wet, then dry, then wet, then dry. That cycle causes some natural expansion/contraction of his feet. The problem is that the nail get bent out when the hoof expands, then don't come back in when it contracts. This sets him up to lose shoes and potentially get injured as the sole of his hoof make contact with the shoe.

I feel pretty apprehensive, based on the fact that Cuna has never been able to go barefoot successfully. That said, I'd be thrilled if it worked out. It's cheaper for me and it has to be nice for him.

The best part was walking him away from his appointment and seeing how comfortable he looked. The last time he had his shoes off was that horrible day at the vet and it was sheer agony for him to stand without shoes.

He's come a long ways. He's pasture sound, fat, and happy, loving life in the herd. Here's hoping he can do that barefoot.


  1. Barefoot would be great for him at this point. Hope he can manage.

  2. Ooo, barefoot is the best money wise :) Good luck!

  3. I hope he stays super comfy barefoot! And don't worry about the chipping - if he was at the end of a shoeing cycle, that's just self-trimming happening. My barefoot guys start chipping at about 3.5 weeks (they are on a 4 week cycle), and Echo, who is BF behind, starts chipping about then too. It's just superficial, so don't panic. :)

  4. Fingers crossed for barefoot happiness! I will be super jealous of you.

  5. That's really great! Sounds like maybe his system is righting itself. What's the fly goop that keeps the hives away? We might need some of that here in FL.

  6. Yay Cuna feet going for barefoot gold! Hope it works out!!
    Question, are you considering/trying:
    A) hoof supps?
    B) hoof hardener topical treatment?
    C) anti-thrush preventative treatments?
    D) glue-ons, boots, or rubber shoes in lieu of metal?

    1. Maybe hardener. I haven't committed. He's pretty comfortable, so I'm not in panic mode on that. Supps are off the table for now--vet wants his diet really simple so we don't have unknowns causing further hoof issues.

      I hate hoof boots and don't care to pay for the other two options, so no. Right now, he's happy and healthy and that's enough for me. He needs time, so I'm giving it to him.

    2. And I should point out that all he is doing is standing in his field and eating. No work, no sand, nothing.

  7. Yah! For some reason I missed this post. I'm so glad he seems to be doing alright this time around.

  8. Hope it works out that he can go barefoot :)

  9. Hell do great barefoot...I was worried about Archie too, but he went all winter without shoes and was fine!


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