Friday, September 19, 2014

Towel Throwing

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.


  1. It's tough, and you're absolutely right that some horses just can't do it. I was very fortunate to have the set up that I do when I transitioned my horse last summer. He had a massive, heavily bedded pen that he lived in off the back of the indoor where he got turned out for an entire month. Then it was a month of turnout in a small paddock for a few hours during the day in boots before he could finally go back into his old turnout (still in boots for another month).

    Is just putting front shoes on him an option? That might decrease the chance of him pulling them off a teeny tiny bit.

  2. I've seen some that can go barefoot and some that can't. Don't beat yourself up. Maybe I missed this, but have you tried booting him? Sometimes those make a huge difference.

  3. I've been through a couple of transitions. Boots with pads are your BFFs. Also, take a careful look at what he's getting feed-wise. I had a horse who was so sensitive to sugar that I could make lame by letting him graze for a couple of hours. Also, if his soles are thin (either because of mechanical thinning by your farrier, or just because he doesn't grow any sole), that makes going barefoot VERY hard. It takes time to grow out the sole, and until then, boots with pads are often the only way to keep them comfortable.

    You might also consider a supplement like Farrier's Formula Double Strength or BioFlax 20 to help him grow better hoof and sole. Good luck!

    1. He already on a supplement, which HAS helped over the years.

      Boots are just not feasible right now for me. They are too expensive, even getting them discounted off eBay-IF I could find them in the right sizing. I didn't really budget/expect all this farrier work (paying him each time he comes out), revamping his diet OR buying boots. I just can't swing it. I just started a new job, meaning, I just started bringing in paychecks for the first time since MAY. Unfortunate, but thats how life goes.

      I thought he would be able to make the transition, especially with all the effort I'm putting in, but I don't think any part of a normal process is happening.

      If we put shoes back on, we will leave them off the back for now. His back feet hold up tons better for some reason.

      Goes to show, even with careful calculating and planning, horses usually throw you for a loop :(

    2. I know boots *sound* really expensive at first, and it is a big chunk (like $150), but if you compare it to spending $150 every shoeing, or tacking back on a lost shoe every week at $20 a pop.... it's really nothing at all. It is WAY cheaper in the long run - one set of boots lasts you for years!

  4. Are you sure its footsoreness and not something like founder? Poor guy, seems so painful.

    I know you said you can't afford boots, but these are amazing:

    They worked wonders on my moms forever foundered mare. Maybe you could sell something to get the money for some boots? I think it would truly help.

    1. I'm almost 100% sure its not founder. No logical explanation or signs of it. I guess it shard to explain, I just know The Pants and his moods. But that's a good suggestion!

      Maybe with my next paycheck I could consider boots...hmmm. I don't really have much to sell unless I want to sell off my tack that I ACTUALLY use to ride. I sold all my spare stuff years ago, and sold a lot more for gas money to move 2 horses home to Ohio..vicious circle

  5. What size boots do you need? I have some Easy Boots Old MacG2s with broken straps that will work for turnout/stalling, just not riding.

    I got easy boot transitions on sale at ValleyVet and they're still running the promotion. Depending on what size you need, the discount will make 2 of them less than $150 and that's a lot less than frequent farrier visits.

  6. Unless you want to do the Boa boots or Cavallo, maybe barefoot isn't going to work for the boy. I know it sucks because he keeps throwing shoes but not every horse is built for it (although "natural" farriers will tell you otherwise). How many generations has it been since Yankee's great great grandparents were wild mustangs galloping through the brush? They grow out of it. I had an OTTB that went barefoot for 3+ years! Jumping, trail riding, psh, you name it and know one though it could happen. Then I get a Montana QH, thinking barefoot again would be the way to go. Psh, 4 feet all with kicks. FAIL! We even tried to pull just the back and his confidence level went down and he looked depressed too. Put them back on? BAM! Awesome pony. My farrier sets his back shoes back a little though and kind of squares off his feet, I could send you a picture if you want. (Sorry for the long comment, but I get the battle).

    1. Don't paint all trimmers with the same brush. There are plenty of us out there who will tell you straight up that it's a journey that isn't for everyone.

  7. What size of boots does he need? There's a local used tack store that commonly has used hoof boots at great prices. I can see if they have some in the right size, let you know the price and ship them to you? And I have some Old Mac's I don't use that I would literally let you have if they are the right size.

  8. It seriously just doesn't work for some horses. The claims and advertising are all great, but yeah, thoroughbreds aren't bred to be wild. They've been bred to run obscenely fast for centuries. If you have one that's ok barefoot, goody for you, but it's certainly not a universal condition. Neither of mine could hack it.

  9. I agree that some horses can't go without shoes. And even when it will work, it is a long process that takes time, and the way the horse is trimmed after removing shoes can also make a difference in whether the horse will make it or not.

    I have a pair of size 1 Cavallos sitting around. I'd be happy to mail them to you for free if you think they will fit Yankee. Here is the size chart for Cavallo: They even have a ruler thingy that you can print and place against your boy's hoofers and it will just tell you what size he is.

  10. Did you try the magic cushion? I wonder if that would give him some relief? I'm so sorry he's in so much pain. I've never heard of one being that bad during a transition. Makes me wonder if something else is going on... has he ever had x-rays? If you have to just put shoes back on and save up for the boots. There's nothing saying the transition has to be right now. Also try the salt water (which is really all vetricyn is) to toughen his feet and kill any thrush. They don't always show signs of thrush. Removing sugar from his diet will help too. Just be sure to replace it with rice bran or something so he doesn't lose weight. If he's actually a little too fat right now that could also be making the transition harder. Too much weight on them is just as bad as it is for humans. Good luck with him!!