I might be tossing some down on the ground soon when it comes to this barefoot experiment. Towels, that is.
(picture-less post, so bear with me. *grumble grumble*)
most of you *may* know that Yankee was having issues keeping shoes on since we relocated to Ohio. My farrier & I were attempting to combot his contracted heel issue by flaring out the shoes, rolling the toes and gradually shortening toe length. Yankee had other ideas though and constantly ripped the shoes off. NO amount of bell-booting would combat the frequency of his lost shoe game. So we decided to pull them and hope we could re-grow some hoof wall before attempting to put shoes back on.
I was very gung -ho (but worried) and committed to staying on the barefoot path, even when faced with the common problems of transitioning a horse to being foot naked. I was prepared. I had asked questions, told myself it had to get a bit rough before it could get better and that this was for the better...maybe. Hopefully.
That was until Yankee went off his feed a few days ago.
He's been pretty tenderfooted for the majority of the last 3 weeks since we pulled the shoes. Been sound maybe 4 of those days. I thought it would be okay to ride on those days, but then he would go lame again and I would feel like THE worst horse mom on the planet.
I was aggressive with his pain management too. I kept him in at night, cleaned his stall 3 times a day (keepin' it dry), gave him extra bedding, religiously used hoof stuffs, etc etc. I kept him off the bute because I was afraid he would start to feel really good, mask true pain and only aggravate his feet worse by romping about.
Even with all the extra time I spent trying to keep his pain level low, he consistently could barely walk around. It was so horrible for me to watch.
I started to notice Yankee literally acting depressed on Monday. He would only shuffle around his stall and barely move in turnout. He started to not clean up his hay. Refused to come out of his stall. When I tried to ride he was so choppy and short strided I hopped off after 10 minutes because I felt guilty for even asking him to try. He looked so defeated and upset with himself. I couldn't bear it.
Then on Tuesday he didn't finish his dinner. I thought it was odd, but he seemed fine other than his feet, so just wrote it off as a fluke.
Until he didn't finish Wed breakfast. Or Dinner. Or yesterday's meals.
OF COURSE I thought of everything, panicked, examined, etc; but the rest of him looked shiny, fat and healthy. It was just his face that conveyed pain. I could tell he was hurting bad.
His refusals to go outside and immobility only worsened throughout the week. I was deeply concerned. This couldn't be normal.
I started a "diaper boot" regime, with salve and diapers to help pad his feet. It seemed to relieve a little pain, but I still contacted my farrier with my concerns. I also put his feed bucket on the wall so he didn't have to eat off the ground, and stole Bacardi's hay net for him.
So here we are on Friday.
He still didn't clean up his grain this AM, so I administered some bute and left him in. He shuffled his sorry floppy-eared ass to the corner of the stall and refused to look at me (very un Yankee-like), so I figured he just wanted to stay in.
I am really concerned about him and his problematic tootsies and I'm beginning to think this was a huge mistake.
Perhaps some horses really can't go barefoot no matter how much you want them to. I know its ONLY been 3 weeks, but this is an extreme reaction. I've seen footsoreness, and then there's THIS.
Still debating what to do with my farrier, but that's the update for now.