Another barefoot question!

Street_Skill

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Apologies for yet another barefoot thread, but I've done some research online and on the more recent threads on here and can't seem to find the answer, so here goes!

Very brief bit of background as it may be relevant: horse is a 9 year old ex-racehorse. Ripped open both his hind hooves in an accident three years ago breaking both his pedal bones. Eventually the broken parts fell out through the holes in his feet-he lost approx. 25-30% one side and about 20%, maybe a little less, the other. He was shod behind with reverse shoes by my vet's farrier and then with egg bars by my own farrier when he was discharged. He has been shod like this for the last three years. When he came home from hospital his feet looked great and continued to improve while he was being shod by the farrier at the equine hospital. He actually had heel and they looked a good shape. He is now in full work and being ridden 5-6 times a week, jumping, schooling, hacking and competing. Gradually over the past three years his hind heels have started to become under run again and his toes are bull nosing. They really don't look great and I have been wondering whether to take him barefoot for a while (vet is concerned about the possibility of navicular in front and although he is not lame we have been working with my farrier to encourage him to grow some heel and shorten his toes) and finally decided to take his hinds off (one step at a time!) on Thursday.

Needless to say, my farrier thinks I'm mad but I have been surprised how well he is coping so far and I am convinced this is the right thing for him. I have been riding him in the school and he has not taken a lame step so far. I have also hacked him out for about 30 minutes (15 minutes on the road, 15 minutes on grass track) and although he took a couple of sore steps when he trod on a stone (understandable!) he seemed fine and was really striding out.

My question is what should I be looking for in his frogs? After only a few days, the heel portion of his frog seems wider and "plumper" for want of a better word compared to his fronts which still have shoes on. It's also quite smooth and soft in comparison to the front frogs which seem hard and calloused. Is this normal????? Is it a sign that things are moving in the right direction or is there something else I should be doing? Also, anything else I should be looking out for which means things are going well/wonky? Are there any topical applications I can put on to help him? He is currently fed Simple System Green Gold, Topnosh, Total Eclipse (their vit/min balancer) Grass Nuts, and a hoof supplement.

Sorry for the rambling but thanks for any tips and hints!
 

TPO

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Well done you for taking the first steps.

It does sound as though everything is heading in the right direction. If your farrier is unable/unwilling to support you going BF and your horse through the transition then it might be worth looking for a trimmer. I've used farriers and trimmers and, despite bad experiences with certain trimmers, overall trimmers have been better with my BF horses. If you post what area you are in people could post recommendations.

Re diet. Personally I'd stop the Total Eclipse as it contains seaweed. Seaweed is high in iron and generally UK soils are already high in iron but low in copper. Excess iron also inhibits the uptake of copper. So long story short I'd avoid high iron feeds or supplements. If you feed a good quality vit/mineral supplement (Progressive Earth, Forage Plus or Equivita for example) then there is no need for addition hoof supplements.

I feed my BF TB (and all the other horses) on grass nuts, linseed, coolstance/copra and Graze-On chop, he/they also get the Winter/Summer balancers from Forage Plus.

If you check out the Forage Plus website you'll find lots of articles on feeding and a link to Horse Talk, their horse care discussion site. This might help you out a bit.

Check out the Rockley Farm Blog, they post lots of updates and photos. This might give you an idea of what hooves look like during transition. Feet First is an excellent first book to get your started (just ignore the bit about feeding seaweed; it came out before that link was noticed) and give you some guidance.

Good Luck :)
 

Street_Skill

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Thanks TPO, that's really helpful. I am Norfolk/Suffolk border so would appreciate any recommendations for trimmers that anyone could give me. I will also have a look for the book your mentioned, sounds interesting! :)
 

Tiaan

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Agree with everything TPO has said, frogs on hinds probably look smoother as they are actually coming into contact with the ground now which is exactly what they should be doing.

There are a couple of groups on facebook that I am a member of which you may find really useful. Barefoot horse owners group UK and barefoot approach to whole horse health - some very knowledgeable people there from all over the country.

Good luck!
 

JillA

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Don't want to hijack but I am looking for a trimmer to rehab my recovered laminitic - how do you know who is capable and who isn't? I've asked questions of one or two but none can point to their acheivements
 

Street_Skill

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Thanks Tiaan , will have a look at the Facebook groups. We did some jumping in our arena the other night followed by a short hack, again a mixture of roads and tracks, and he still seems to be coping really well so fingers crossed!

Good question JillA-not hijacking at all, the more questions and advice the better! :)
 
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