Both of my horses grow a fair of amount of foot which means my farrier comes every five to six weeks. Longer than that and we start to have problems, and not just with pulled shoes.
I don't get to see my farrier very often because he typically comes in the middle of the day, and I am usually at work. For this month's visit, I of course was able to be there. It was great to see him, and even better to pick his brain.
Both of my horses grow a fair of amount of foot which means my farrier comes every five to six weeks. Longer than that and we start to have problems, and not just with pulled shoes.
My farrier is an integral part of Team Speedy (and Team Izzy, too), so when he talks, I listen. The truth is he never has anything critical to say. Either I am doing things right, or I am just blessed to have horses with good feet. It's probably a combination of the two, and having a great farrier hasn't hurt either. My farrier is well aware of Speedy's PPID diagnosis, so he understands why I have a lot of questions regarding the health of those feet.
A week or so ago, I tried to use EasyBoots on Speedy, but I just couldn't get them on. These are the same boots that I've used on him for years. I hadn't tried to put one on him since ... well I can't remember when, but it's been at least four years, maybe more. No matter how hard I pried and wedged and twisted, that boot just wouldn't go on. I eventually flipped the boot over and measured it against the bottom of his hoof. To my surprise, his hoof was wider than the boot by at least a quarter inch - all the way around. I gave up, and Edyta rode him barefoot.
I asked my farrier about it, and he explained it like this. Without a shoe holding Speedy's hoof wall in place, the wall has been able to expand and spread out. Not in a pancake way, mind you, but in a more supportive way. My farrier is really happy with how Speedy's feet have changed over the five years that he's been taking care of my horses' hooves. It was this farrier who suggested Speedy's earlier lameness issues were a result of him whacking himself with shod feet which was causing bruising. Once we pulled Speedy's shoes and his feet adapted to being barefoot, those random lameness bouts never returned.
Barefoot is not for every horse, of course, but it sure is convenient when it works. I got so tired of Izzy pulling shoes that I eventually rode him barefoot for a while. Sadly, his front feet just couldn't handle it. He wore them off to a diamond shape month after month which left him unbalanced in his movement. We compromised by putting shoes on the front feet only. He still pulls one every now and then, but leaving him barefoot in the back has worked out really well.
While my farrier's assistant was trimming Izzy's hind feet, he leaned around and asked if I've been doing much riding. Every day, I responded. He laughed and said that he could tell. Izzy didn't have anything to trim in the back, so he just ran the rasp around to smooth things up a bit.
Last month I wrote a post showing how the mystery hole in Speedy's foot was growing out. Just as I'd hoped, the last bit of the hole was long gone before my farrier even had a chance to trim it this week. The red circle shows where the hole was just five and a half weeks ago.
A good farrier is really worth his weight in gold. I am lucky to have found one that's both knowledgeable and reliable. He's also a really nice guy. If you're local and you read this post on Facebook, leave a comment about your own farrier. Even if you're not local, tell us how great your farrier is no matter where you live. I think we need to toot their horns a bit.
Back in February, a hole appeared out of nowhere in Speedy's hind hoof. It was one heck of a magic trick; one day his hoof was whole, the next day there was a hole in in it. Abracadabra.
I poked it, I took a stiff brush to it, and I doused it with Betadine. The next day, it looked nearly the same. I watched it for a few weeks, and then pointed it out to my vet when we were there two weeks later for a routine visit.
I think Dr. Tolley is an amazing vet, but I wish he didn't get quite so excited by all of Speedy's weird ass issues. I am fairly certain that when he sees my name on the schedule, he rubs his hand in glee knowing that I'm bringing in something strange and unusual.
Dr. Tolley whipped out his Dremel and went to work. His initial diagnosis was White Line Disease, but he wanted confirmation from my farrier. Thankfully, Speedy's white line came back clean which meant crisis averted.
Even though there was no sign of White Line Disease, I still treated it with daily swipes of Tea Tree Oil to prevent any issues to his White Line. About two-thirds of the way through March, the hole was looking quite good. It was clean with no sign of infection, and it looked as though it might come off with the next trim.
My farrier was back out for a new trim on Friday, April 3. My fingers were crossed that the hole would be gone after the trim, but Speedy just didn't have quite enough toe to remove. Both horses were a few days past five weeks growth. My horses just can't go longer than six weeks - Speedy's toes grow really fast, and Izzy often starts pulling shoes after the fifth week. For this trim, I had my farrier out a bit early to avoid this week's bad weather.
Given that the hole was at the top of the bottom third of Speedy's hoof wall just two months ago, I am delighted with how quickly the hole is growing out. By his next trim in May, the hole should definitely get trimmed away. It will be a miracle if we have no more hoof issues between now and then.
And Universe? This is not a challenge. We're dealing with enough weird ass crap right now. Ain't nobody got time for something else.
As I mentioned the other day, my farrier was able to come out Tuesday, just a few days after our visit with our vet, Dr. Tolley. I have always assumed that everyone else loves their farriers as much as I do. I don't go through farriers very often. A few have retired or moved away; that's always a bummer. One turned out to be too rough with my horses. And for about a six month period I couldn't find anyone reliable.
My last farrier and I parted ways when he disagreed with my vet's assessment. My vet thought one thing, farrier thought another, and we decided to go our separate ways. The split was quite amicable, and there weren't any lasting hard feelings. It was then that I met my current farrier, P. Mullins. He's been doing my horses for very close to 5 years.
When Dr. Tolley diagnosed Speedy with possible While Line Disease, I called my farrier a week early. To my relief, but not to my surprise, he was able to come out on Tuesday. I left him a lengthy voicemail detailing all of the concerns that Dr. Tolley had raised:
1) Speedy's possible White Line Disease
2) Speedy's current abscess - I wanted my farrier to give it a check three days after the vet had seen it.
3) Izzy's banged up hind foot
My farrier texted back that he would look at everything.
One of the wonderful things about my farrier is that he has two assistants so he doesn't need for me to be there. I would like to be there, and once or twice a year it works out, but for the most part, he just shows up on the scheduled day and texts me if he has any concerns.
The good news is that my farrier could find no hint of White Line Disease. From what I gather, a quick way to check to is to trim the bottom of the hoof to "expose" the white line. If the horse has White Line Disease, the white line will have a white or gray powdery substance. Speedy did not show any of those signs. His white line was white. My farrier felt the hole was more likely the remnants of an old bruise or "whack," which is what I had originally thought.
Either way, the hole needs to be doctored to prevent any kind of infection from forming. He agreed that the Tea Tree Oil was a good choice, but any disinfectant would work, even straight bleach.
My farrier also checked Speedy's abscess. He reported that while the abscess must have been deep, it looks like it's healing up just fine. He recommended keeping it wrapped until the hole no longer feels soft to the touch. he also suggested that I wrap until it's no longer pink. That's a hard visual to use since the Betadine stains the hoof red. It's still wrapped more than the seven days Dr. Tolley recommended. I'll reassess tonight, but I will probably leave it wrapped into the weekend.
We never even talked about the little split in Izzy's hoof. It was just a small crack where the hoof wall had sort of bent, but not torn off. It looked a lot like a hang nail. And like a hang nail, my farrier just nipped it off. I've ridden Izzy several times now, and it's not even something that I can see.
I will say that my horses have been studied pretty hard over the past week. Right now, everyone is mostly healthy and fit. Speedy is just about to get back into work, Izzy would probably like a day off, and I KNOW I need a day off.
Thank goodness for Fridays.
In the fall of 2017, Speedy sliced open his coronary band and separated the hoof capsule from the coronary band in the process. The injury kept him on the disabled list for several months. This link will get you to my last update which has links to the original injury.
While he's been back to work without any effects from the wound, his hoof has never quite looked the same. My farrier hasn't expressed any concerns about it, but I've kept a close eye on it just the same. When Speedy was in to have his tooth pulled, I asked Dr. Tolley to have a look at the line that runs down the length of his hoof.
Dr. Tolley whipped out his Dremel and went to work on Speedy's hoof. He closely examined the "line" running down Speedy's hoof wall. My farrier calls it a line, but it has always looked like a crack to me. The vet confirmed my farrier's diagnosis; it's a just a line and isn't causing any structural damage. When Speedy injured his coronary band, it left scar tissue which is affecting how one small bit of hoof grows out, but it's only on the surface. The "crack" doesn't extend into the hoof wall.
Now that I know that it's just a scar and not a crack, I can quit worrying about it. I'll have to tell my farrier that he was right. The next time he calls it a "line," I won't insist on calling it a crack!
In other news, after 4 years of ruining fly masks, Izzy has decided to wear one. He's kept this one on for about a week. After riding and cooling my horses off with a shower, they get to graze freely on the grass down by the paddocks and pastures. One at a time though, I learned my lesson. One horse won't go anywhere; two horses wreak havoc just because they can.
I decided to use the grazing time to see exactly how he was getting the fly mask off. I slipped it on under his halter, so that when I put him back, it was already on him. Instead of worrying about the thing, Izzy spent his whole time grazing. I think he forgot he was wearing the fly mask. When I came out the next day, it was still on him.
So that's been the routine: I hose him off, slip the fly mask under the halter, and let him graze for 30 - 40 minutes. When I put him away, I slide the halter off, and he doesn't notice a thing.
I promised him a new one if he'd keep the old one on, but I am afraid to ruin what's working. For now, I am just going to continue with this ratty old thing until he's a confirmed fly mask wearer. After that, we'll see about a new one.
I am a Pollyanna, glass half full, make lemonade, and see the silver lining kind of girl. Usually. Right now, Universe, I am OVER. IT.
When I went out to check on Speedy last night, hopeful that he was looking perky and ready to get back to work, I noticed that both front legs were filled and his stride was pretty wonky.
He looked good on the foot that had just abscessed; it was the other one that he didn't want to bear weight on. Even so, I gave the first foot a thorough exam, poking and prodding as I watched for a pain reaction. Nothing. On the other hand, I got a solid Hey! That hurts!!! as I pressed deeply within the creases of the frog on the other hoof.
I packed his hoof with Numotizine as I rolled my eyes. Repeatedly. It is what it is, but really, Universe, I could use a break. What with three abscesses, two horses, and one sad girl, you'd think it was beginning to look a lot like the "Twelve Days of Christmas." I don't need four of anything unless I also get five glorious days (of weather combined with healthy horses).
Happy first day of Christmas vacation (starting at 1:00) to me!!!!!!!
That's no joke. They have Cinderella feet for sure. Good thing I have a good farrier. Both of my boys stand very patiently for the farrier, so he just comes and does them whether anyone is around or not. As someone with a full time job, this makes my life so much easier.
Since I was on vacation last week, I was hoping to catch him in action so I could talk to him. I didn't have any major concerns, but there were a few things I wanted to ask him. He was pulling out as I pulled in, so we had a chat through our windows.
A year ago this past October, Speedy injured his coronary band sufficiently enough to put him out of business for several months. Ultimately, it has healed well except for one little thing. He's had a very narrow crack running from the ground up. That was the first thing about which I wanted to ask my farrier. When I mentioned it, he called it a line and said not to worry.
To address the line (it's a crack, am I right?), my farrier scooped out some of the hoof wall to keep it off the ground to prevent dirt from getting up inside. I am going to be honest here - while I recognize a decent shoe job and know when a foot looks horribly wrong, I leave the finer details to my farrier. That's what I pay him for. If he wants to call it a line instead of a crack and dig some hoof wall out to prevent dirt from getting in, go for it. If he says not to worry, I am worry free. So there was that.
When he finished with that clarification, he threw in a buuuuuttttt ... Well crap. I knew there had to be something. Right away he had noticed that Speedy's front feet had some unusual wear, especially THE RIGHT one. Oh, wait, you mean the one he had recently been lame on from WHIRLING AND PACING? That one? Yeah. Farrier noticed it and did some creative rasping to balance Speedy's hooves. My farrier was relieved to hear that there was an explanation for the wear because it wasn't normal for Speedy. I was just as relieved as he was.
Izzy, also known as Cinderella number two, got a good report for once. Instead of any problems, he got moved into a bigger shoe! This was great news since we put shoes on him this summer because he had worn his feet down to tiny little nubs and had gone lame because of it. Hearing that he had grown enough foot to be able to go to a correctly sized shoe for his body was great news.
Both of my Cinderellas are now good to go for the next month or so. I am keeping my fingers crossed that Speedy settles into the winter routine with no more pacing. My toes are crossed in hopes that Izzy will keep these new, bigger shoes firmly on his feet.
Farriers are certainly worth their weight in gold, and mine is no exception, but I don't want to pay him in gold for repeated visits!
A couple of weeks ago I had to put shoes on Izzy when he finally came up sore footed. Over the summer he'd been wearing his feet off faster than they were growing. I was worried about the way they were looking, almost triangular shaped, but since my farrier didn't express any concern, I kept hoping they'd normalize as we headed into fall. They didn't.
Even though he had been barefoot for nearly two years, my farrier and I decided to put shoes back on. Izzy was sound immediately. But of course, in true Izzy fashion, he pulled the left one a week later. It came off super clean with no damage to the hoof, but it took my farrier a couple of days to come back out and reset it. (What do you mean he can't be at my immediate beck and call?) I didn't want to risk chipping the hoof at all, so Izzy got a week off as we waited for the farrier.
The first couple of times that I rode him with the original new shoes, we had a come meet Jesus ride followed by a see how nice it is when you behave? ride. Then he pulled the shoe.
I am not a barefoot only! nor a shoe them all the time! proponent. I do what seems to work best for the horse. With that said, the next time I rode Izzy (with the reset shoe), he felt far more balanced and straighter than he maybe ever has. I could chalk that up to my brilliant riding, but I won't because I can't. More likely is that the new shoes have him more balanced than when he was barefoot with questionably shaped feet.
I am not sure that Izzy will keep the shoes on. Like I said, he's already pulled one, but I am going to keep my fingers crossed. I am going to leave this set of shoes on as long as possible so that he has a chance to grow out some hoof. It's an eye rolling situation; most riders want to keep their horses' toes shorter. I need Izzy's to grow out!
To help, he's still getting his Platinum Performance every day, but I've added in Platinum Hoof Support, the same thing I used for Speedy when he tried to slice off his hoof last October. I can't say that it helped - his hoof grew back just fine, but was it because of the supplement or just nature?
I don't like creating expensive poop, but I am willing to risk it if it does indeed stimulate hoof growth. Izzy needs all the help he can get.
Thanks a lot, California. Your super hot and dry conditions finally wore Izzy down. His feet that is. Two years ago this month, my farrier pulled the last shoe, and Izzy's been barefoot ever since. The hinds had been pulled the year before.
I am not anti-shoe at all, but Izzy just couldn't keep those front shoes on. He plays hard, and he loves to put his feet on, under, and around anything that will (might) bear his weight. All of that playfulness meant that his shoes were constantly getting ripped off. Eventually, he had hardly any foot left upon which to nail a shoe.
After some initial tenderness, Izzy's soles toughened right up, and he was sound as a dollar, until now. With conditions so dry here in the Golden State, Izzy has been chipping off his hoof wall faster than it can grow. Over the past six months, his feet have gotten so short that my farrier had nothing left to trim. Izzy finally came up sore footed.
After his most recent trim, if you can even call it that, Izzy looked like he had laminitis. He was so sore on his front feet that each step made me wince. I put in a call to my farrier and asked what we could do to get Izzy back in business. My farrier was actually surprised that it had taken Izzy this long to get tender. He'd been expecting a phone call long before this.
While I didn't want to do it, we agreed that Izzy needed front shoes again. My farrier came out late last week and popped on a new set of front shoes. Izzy was instantly sound. I also put him on Platinum Hoof Support, the supplement that I used for Speedy last year. It stimulates hoof growth and hardens the hoof, both are things Izzy needs right now.
Due to an unrelated hind end tweak combined with the sore front feet, Izzy hadn't been ridden in nearly three weeks. I finally got to ride him over the weekend, and while he was sound, he was also a complete jack ass.
Woohoo? Horses ...
If you'll remember back to October, Speedy separated his hoof wall from the coronary band while doing who knows what. He was on vacation for nearly three months but has healed up quite satisfactorily. In fact, he's back to work, obviously, and just as sassy as ever.
Facebook reminded me the other day of this little gem of a post. Check it out real quick - I'll wait ... Did you notice anything? Yep. Speedy did nearly the same thing back in 2011, although not as severely.
Here's what he did in July, 2011:
Here's what he did in October, 2017:
I am not positive, but I think the first one was a front foot, the right, and the second one is a hind foot, also the right. It is growing out well with no issues. As the damaged portion of the hoof gets closer to the ground, we'll see if it remains sturdy enough to ride on. So far, it's been fine.
Quit doing that, Speedy G!
A week or two ago, Izzy pulled yet another shoe, so I decided to go barefoot all around. The hind feet have been shoeless for more than a year, but his front feet still needed shoes. When I first bought him, he came off a grass pasture so his his feet were pretty splayed out. The farrier has slowly roped in Izzy's pancake feet, and now they're nice and round.
When he pulled the right front for the second time in a week, I gave up. I rode him with one shoe until my farrier could come and pull the other front. He was never ouchy on either foot. I've ridden for more than a week on barefoot hooves, and he's been sound.
The farrier was out last night and cleaned up the previously shod hooves and then smoothed out his hinds. I was actually concerned about his back feet as they looked terrible. They were heavily chipped, but they look great today, so it must have been cosmetic chipping only.
Here's a quick look at Izzy trotting out on freshly trimmed feet. I am delighted that he's not at all tender footed. He's not exactly moving his best, but this was a cold trot out with no warm up.
Izzy was standing in uneven dirt when I took these photos, so the angles are all wonky. The right front still has nail holes because we had to reset that shoe so many times. I am delighted that he grew so much foot that there aren't still nail holes in the left front.
I wish I had thought to take photos of the hinds before the farrier trimmed them as they looked really bad. They had taken on a pointed shape, but that was only from above. From underneath they still looked round.
As long as he stays sound, I'm hoping to keep him barefoot. Speedy's been barefoot for more than a year. I hope it works for Izzy too. It's quicker for the farrier and a lot cheaper for me!