Pictures I think it's time to go barefoot...what do you think of these feet?

Chippers1

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We all love hoof photos, right?! I have been toying with the idea of Buzz going barefoot for a while and thought there's no time like the present! I've been reading a lot of other threads about it but didn't want to jump on them all so thought I would start my own. This one is mainly to get some thoughts and ideas about what his feet are currently like and thoughts about management etc (farrier isn't due for three weeks).

A bit of background: Buzz is a 12 year old connie who I do low level riding club type things on, although we are aiming to BE again at some point but it will probably only ever be 80cm. (Normally) We mostly hack out during the week with the odd schooling session, I do more schooling in summer as we have access to fields to ride in so this is on grass. At the weekends i'm normally at a lesson or comp at least one of the days.

He lives out 24/7. In winter it's a smaller field but with ad lib round bale hay. In summer they move down to bigger fields, they will be moving in the next few weeks and we do a 'transition' period of taking them down for a few hours every few days so they can get used to the grass (although there's not as much as there normally is in there at the moment, due to flooding earlier this year). He is absolutely NOT a foody - he will only eat a feed on the days the hay has run out in the field (normally 2 or 3 days in the week - they are still given some hay on the ground these days but it's not as much as a full bale) and once the grass starts growing he will also ignore feed. So I have a window from probably December to Feb where he might decide he actually wants a feed! This year he would eat pink mash, honeychop and some linseed. He is incredibly fussy and over the last 3 years I've struggled to find anything he will eat. He enjoys Ease and Excel but it made him loopy so I had to stop (it has a lot of soya in, think it was that). If he's not hungry he will throw the bowl across the yard!
I'm not massively concerned about the feed issue as despite having a wooly mammoth coat he still has a shine to him, which is nice to see on a grey, but it is nice to be able to have the option of feeding up sometimes!

I have taken some photos of his feet at the moment so let me know what you think, I appreciate they are not the best but I tried in the circumstances :D

Left fore
LF.jpg LF_2.jpg
LF_3.jpg

Right fore
RF.jpg
RF_2.jpg
RF_3.jpg

Left hind
LH.jpg
LH_2.jpg
LH_3.jpg

(last hoof in next post)
 

Chippers1

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Right hind
RH.jpg
RH_2.jpg
RH_3.jpg


Adding some extra detail too...his field is next to a tarmacked lane so we can use that for rehabbing - if I then go a bit further it turns to concrete. The other path is towards the summer fields and is like this:
Screenshot_20200416-174106_Photos.jpg

So we have some different surfaces I can utilise. Hopefully it's something i'll be able to do!
 

poiuytrewq

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Best of luck! There are some really experienced knowledgable here with this kind of stuff.
Sadly it just didn’t work out for me. I’d definitely try again if I ever (which I won’t!!) got another horse. I can see how it obviously has to be better in the long run.
Hope it all works out for you :)
 

Chippers1

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Thanks! I spent most of yesterday looking around the internet at various things but I thought this would be the best place to start! My old pony did really well after taking his shoes off, he was laminitic and it helped him loads but I didn't really put much thought into it really (bad owner...) so wanted to do a better job this time round!
 

MuffettMischief

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Have a look at Gawsworth track livery and Rockley blogs. Very knowledgeable people and some interesting/amazing transformations. I took my mares off beginning of winter and gave in mid Feb as she was just so sore I couldn't watch her struggle. she has navicular and would probably be brilliant out of shoes long term but I just don't have the set up to rehab her properly.
 

Chippers1

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Yes I had a read through the Rockley blogs yesterday :) it's a tough one but I guess you just have to go for it and see!
 

TPO

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*just my opinion*

You can see it because there are no shoes on his hinds but the white line appears to be quite stretched.

There can be various reasons for this but generally its diet related.

With that in mind I'd try to find something that he will eat (preferably "barefoot friendly") so that he can get a vitamin/mineral supplement.

The regular 'go to' pre mixed supplements tend to be Progressive Earth (Pro Hoof or Pro Balance versions), Forage Plus and Equimins Advance. There are a lot more out there but these three brands tend to be the front runners to meet average needs.

Equimins Advance also come in a pellet form so that might work better if he thinks he is getting treats rather than a bucket feed?

Ideally feed salt daily.

This is my new favourite barefoot resource: https://hoofgeek.com/blog/

I read it start to finish when I found it last year and wish it had been about when I first went barefoot.

The same person who owns that site also made a directory for trimmers from all the various schools/training as a handy resource so that might help too.

https://www.barefoothorse.info/

I'd treat as I'd there is thrush and smear Red Horse Field Paste over frogs, into central sulcus and collateral grooves.

If there is hoof wall separation under the shoes or you notice grit/stones getting stuck in the white line I'd pack it with Red Horse Artimud.

The hoof wall is damaged by nail holes so until that grows out, can be as quick as 3mths, expect to see some chipping. Ask the trimmer to show you how to bevel/roll the hoof wall so that you can tidy up any chips and splits between trims to stop them worsening.

The hoof geek blog has good blog posts about boots and pads. Movement is key but it HAS to be comfortable movement.

You can see what appears to be off centre breakovers in the hinds. You might find this changes as the horse learns to use himself differently.

I couldn't see in the pictures but I'm imagining that the digital cushions in his front are weak and that the heels are possibly contracted. That's when boots in pads come into their own by enabling the horse to use their hoof as nature intended. You want a horse to land heel first but usually the structure is too weak to do that when straight out of shoes. That's when pads and boots help because they gently stimulate and support the foot enabling it to comfortably develop the required strength.

Also keep an eye on the whole horse. There are often changes in shape as they transition to barefoot. They can use themselves differently and an often seen "side effect" is that the horse goes up a saddle with or two as they use themselves differently.

A lot of trimmers recommend working closely with a body worker type person and getting regular saddle fit checks.
Obviously a bit trickier in the current climate.

If you have a flexicurve or even a wire coat hanger you can trace a template of your horse's back and keep a regular record that way of any chances along with being vigilant when tacking up.

The Masterson method is easy to pick up and the spiral book works well when taken to the stables. Learning some releases that you can do yourself can be fun if you like that kind of thing and can help the horse with all the changes going on in his body.

My take is that smooth tarmac is the best for transitioning hooves. The surface in your picture is one of the trickiest imo because of what appears to be big loose stones. If there is no thrush and nothing sinister going on with a deep sulcus and/or contracted heels then walking on a school surface can help too. The worry if theres thrush/contractions is the fine sand getting in and causing an irritation. It's sometimes forgotten that thrush does hurt and cause pain/discomfort to horses.

Emm I think that's most things off the top of my head. Check for pulses at least daily and even if everything that I've written is guff the Hoof Geek blog will definitely help.

Good luck!
 

Chippers1

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Thanks TPO that's really useful :) I can see what you mean on his hinds and it was something I did think about. I can certainly try to feed him but i'm still not sure what he will eat! Can you get samples of these feeds (although he'll normally eat a sample but not a full bag...) I will get some of the paste too.
I'm planning on getting a new saddle anyway after lockdown (although his fits, it's not particularly comfy for me! it came with him) so I can take this into account.

I also read all of hoof geek yesterday, it's very useful!

Also that path in the photo is further on, outside his field there's a long tarmac lane :)

Edited to add: he won't eat a feed with salt in...even the smallest amount he will refuse it!
 

Trouper

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Such a lot of info from TPO to get you started. I would only add - and emphasise - that hoof quality will really take time to develop and if you have a fussy eater I would really try to fine something he enjoys - even if it is grated carrot (!) - to get him to take a daily balancer and, ideally, seaweed supplement which is great for hooves. Unless the land has been tested you have no idea of the quality of the grass and hay and what vit/minerals he might be missing.
 

TPO

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Thanks TPO that's really useful :) I can see what you mean on his hinds and it was something I did think about. I can certainly try to feed him but i'm still not sure what he will eat! Can you get samples of these feeds (although he'll normally eat a sample but not a full bag...) I will get some of the paste too.
I'm planning on getting a new saddle anyway after lockdown (although his fits, it's not particularly comfy for me! it came with him) so I can take this into account.

I also read all of hoof geek yesterday, it's very useful!

Also that path in the photo is further on, outside his field there's a long tarmac lane :)

Edited to add: he won't eat a feed with salt in...even the smallest amount he will refuse it!
The supplements mentioned are all powders, excluding the pellets form of Equimmins Advance.

I dont know if they do samples. It would be worth contacting them to ask. I could send a couple of days of Pro Earth Pro Balance (have to go to post office for an essential delivery anyway) if that helped.

You just need something as a base to mix the powdered supps into. Will he eat damp/soaked grass nuts or you mentioned pink mash? Fat Cob doesn't even get a palmful of pink mash soaked to mix his supp and salt into and then a sprinkling of chaff to make him think it's a feed, although FC is the opposite of yours and will do literally anything for a bucket!
 

TPO

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ideally, seaweed supplement which is great for hooves
Sorry to be *that* person 😳😳😳

No to seaweed.

It is high in iron and generally speaking you do not want to be feeding any additional iron.

UK soils already tend to be high iron and low/deficient in copper. Excess iron also inhibits the uptake of copper so exacerbates the problem. There can be a lot of problems attributed to copper deficiency (& copper also needs fed balanced with zinc).

So I'd avoid seaweed and stick to a balanced vit/min supp.

Again, sorry to be *that* annoying poster.

Seaweed was the go to supp for barefoot people and it was recommended in one of, if not the, first UK barefoot book. I went BF at the end of 2010 and up until 2012ish I still had trimmers trying to recommend it along with various other feeds that would generally be "bargepole" feeds these days.
 

Chippers1

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The supplements mentioned are all powders, excluding the pellets form of Equimmins Advance.

I dont know if they do samples. It would be worth contacting them to ask. I could send a couple of days of Pro Earth Pro Balance (have to go to post office for an essential delivery anyway) if that helped.

You just need something as a base to mix the powdered supps into. Will he eat damp/soaked grass nuts or you mentioned pink mash? Fat Cob doesn't even get a palmful of pink mash soaked to mix his supp and salt into and then a sprinkling of chaff to make him think it's a feed, although FC is the opposite of yours and will do literally anything for a bucket!
Oops, so they are! I'm going to order some equimins pellets I think, a 2kg tub isn't too expensive and if he won't eat it one of the other liveries would be happy to take it off my hands! it's looking like my best option at the moment. He does like carrots and most treats to be honest so I could probably trick him into thinking it's treats!

I bought the pink mash as i had heard good things about it, he will only reluctantly eat it if he's hungry. I bought it originally to give him the linseed and salt, but he could tell when the salt had been added! He won't even use a salt lick. I've never known a horse like him! My old pony would do anything for any amount of feed :D

I've ordered the paste too so that should be here soon :)

Thanks again for your help! I'm willing to wait for the hoof quality to get better, realistically we have no plans for competing again for a while due to lockdown so it seems like the best time to do it.
 

be positive

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I have 2 here on Equimins, 1 on the complete, the other on hoof mender which Equimins recommended but they are not keen on eating it, certainly not from the hand so be prepared for it to be rejected, mine love linseed so that is added which gets it down, 1 will refuse to eat if salt is added yet is not generally fussy but it is worth persisting with the Equimins as both have much improved feet since they have been on it, both barefoot the one on the complete only since last autumn.
 

Chippers1

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Ok thanks for the warning! He doesn't even really like the linseed either...
I think this will be another trial and error feeding experiment for him...I will have to figure something out if the pellets are rejected.
 

Chippers1

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Oh just forgot some of the other points...we can't go in the school at the moment as the yard is completely closed to liveries, the fields are a few mins walk from the yard so we are allowed to do stuff straight from the field. So I can't use that at the moment but we shall see in the future.

Boots - I had some Cavallo boots for my old pony when he had his shoes taken off and I loved them, he even hunted and did XC wearing them and they didn't rub (although occasionally he'd fling one off!) I used them for hacking down the path in the photo above mainly, and if I thought we might be going near a stony path. He didn't wear them for schooling or riding in fields.

I like the look of the scoot boots too but I will wait until his shoes have come off to measure up for some, happy to buy some though :)
 

Leo Walker

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Mines fussy. She gets pink mash, grass nuts and oats. This meets her required standards. I add equimins and use an electrolyte. I tried a few and this one is almost sweet tasting and she eats it with no issues so might be worth experimenting. The grass nuts and oats made a big difference to her eating and she only gets a sprinkle of each at the minute
 

Lindylouanne

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I found feeding kwik beet a good way of adding powdered supplements and salt. It is the low calorie version of sugar beet but still has a sweeter taste than some of the hifibre types mash feeds and good at disguising things.
 

SpringArising

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I would wait to see how he goes before you fork out for boots - he might be absolutely fine. I imagine you're not doing a tonne with him right now so it's the perfect time for him to adjust.
 

Chippers1

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Ok thank you - I will try and get some samples of grass nuts and kwik beet but he normally eat these and then not when I get a full bag so I shall see! First I will try the equimins on it's own then go from there. It's a nightmare! I also have an incredibly fussy cat who has decided he also doesn't like his food so between them they're stressing me out :rolleyes:

Yes I will wait before buying boots I think but will do some reading around the different types whilst i'm bored at home :D
 
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Not a hoof expert but I thought I’d add some encouragement to try going barefoot! I got my ex-racer 4 years ago with typically crap TB hooves and seedy toe and very sensitive soles. My next door neighbour at my then livery yard was a horse vet and barefoot enthusiast who said ‘you’ll never get rid of that seedy toe while you’re banging nails in’. With some trepidation and the ok of my farrier (who knows the vet well) I went for it. I used hoof boots for a few months while his hoof quality improved, then it got really muddy and I found he slipped a lot and wasn’t confident in them. We ditched the boots and he was fine, tho we had to be careful on stony ground. His feet are great now and I’m glad I did it.
 

Chippers1

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That's good to know! My old pony had really bad laminitis which we tried to sort with heart bars, he got worse so I decided to whip his shoes off completely and he remained sound for a further 7 years until his EMS caught up with him in the end so I am a fan of it, but as I said I was kind of winging it with him as it was a few years ago and I didn't really know much else so I want to do it properly this time :)

Had a look at the grass nuts and they just might tempt him, he loves grass and hay so much and they're basically grass right?! I've emailed to ask if they do any samples but if not I will wait and see how the equimins goes down on it's own then if he hates it i'll buy a bag of grass nuts and try that. My feed bin is on the yard so all the old pink mash and honeychop will probably get wasted which is a shame but I can't get to it :( it will probably have gone off by the time I can get round to feeding it again!

He loves hay so much, if I walk past with a feed bowl he just looks at me, if I walk past with a haynet (even empty!) he starts whickering and scraping the floor :rolleyes::)
 

Kat

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You have had lots of good advice not sure what I can add, but barefoot was one of the best things I did for my horse so I hope it is a positive experience for you.

I use the equimins supplement, mine is fussy and will eat it but only mixed into a feed. One tip to get a fussy feeder eating is fenugreek powder mixed into their feed. Alternatively use mint or chamomile tea to wet the feed instead of plain water.

Good luck!
 

Chippers1

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I may try mint tea as he does love a polo :) the equimins says it's shipped already (service!) so hopefully I can start him on that soon. Simple systems also deliver so that is good to know so I can get some in the current climate (if needed).

The farrier is due in three weeks so I think it'll be good to get him started on the new feed/hoof paste regime before the shoes come off :)
 

HeyMich

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Just a thought about the fussy eater - if he likes things to begin with and then starts to refuse them after you have bought a big bag, could you find 2 brands he accepts and swap them back and forth every few weeks? A bit of a faff, I know, but the supplement could then be useful and not thrown away with uneaten feed!

.
 

Chippers1

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Just a thought about the fussy eater - if he likes things to begin with and then starts to refuse them after you have bought a big bag, could you find 2 brands he accepts and swap them back and forth every few weeks? A bit of a faff, I know, but the supplement could then be useful and not thrown away with uneaten feed!

.
That could be an option!
 

Tarragon

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I think it is great that you are considering this. I do realise that barefoot isn't possible for every horse or circumstances but I sincerely believe that it is the best option if you can do it. The biggest difference I noticed when I took both ponies barefoot, was how much more observant I became about general hoof health, and therefore horse health as that naturally follows on. I think that before I was only checking the state of the shoes! I have learnt loads and feel that I am better for knowing. I did buy boots, but find that I don't need them for 95% of the time but useful to have if needed. The only downside is that occasionally I have had to compromise on my riding, but I believe that it is a price worth paying.
I feed mine Thunderbrooks base mix and herbal meadow nuts.
 
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