Thursday, August 22, 2013

More Foot Troubles

A quick update to my Equine Aid post: I brought Bobby in around 11 for the farrier and in the hour he hung out in his stall waiting for his turn, he drank his entire bucket of Equine Aid and didn't touch the plain water. Definitely investing!

When I last updated on Robert-doings, we were cruising around the arena all by ourselves in the cart. Okay, so we only walked, but we walked with no header and no tantrums. My horse is kind of a big deal. I decided to follow that up by heading up the road the next day to the local state park and explore their horse trails. Hubby wanted to take the canoe out on the lake, so Bobby and I hitched a ride.

I can tell you right now that whoever designated the equestrian trails at this park has clearly never seen a horse before. Not that it was impossible to ride, but it was a two mile uphill climb that was almost solid rock. Not ideal pony prancing circumstances. It was, however, apparently excellent training circumstances as I met three women almost to the summit (like we were scaling Mt Kilimanjaro or something). Two of them were in the Army, and the other one was doing reps up this particular trail to get in shape for climbing Mt Everest. I mean, really.

I ended up leading Bobby up the last part of the trail and I had to lead him all the way down. Bobby was a perfect gentleman the entire time, despite being by himself somewhere he'd never been before. He plodded along at the end of the reins behind me unless we were going down a seriously steep section. Then he was able to slide down faster, but once he got his footing secure again, he stopped and waited for me to catch up on his own. No screaming, no trying to get back to the trailer, just accepting his poor pony fate.

at the top of the trail.
We both came back slightly worse for wear. Bobby lost a hind shoe in the trailer on the ride home, and I annoyed my right foot enough that I now have a stress fracture.

All of that leads to Wednesday's farrier appointment. Warning: there will be copious amounts of swearing.

NF has been harping to me for months about how if he has to keep nailing missing shoes into Bobby's feet that the hoof is going to be useless and it's never going to be salvageable and so on and so on. I can't afford glue-ons so that's never been an option. However, pulling his shoes and letting his hoof grow out to something semi-respectable has been. I've just been pushing it off to keep competing. Well, competing got kicked to the curb awhile ago and now that my foot is broken, riding has temporarily been kicked to the curb.

So I told NF that instead of putting the pulled shoe back onto a hoof that was torn to shreds, I wanted to pull all of his shoes. NF said no. NF said that his hind feet aren't really that bad and that he refuses to pull his front shoes. NF said Bobby was going to be dead lame if we pulled them and he might never truly be sound barefoot. So NF put his hind shoe back on.

Ok, let's break this down really quick before I continue with the story.

Here's the RH that got the shoe put back on:

looks like a hoof i'd want to keep sticking nails in!
Secondly, obviously he's going to be lame. He's going to be so fucking sore that he probably won't be able to walk on hard ground for at least a month. I'm not fucking delusional here. I'm not expecting him to get his shoes pulled and his feet magically go "Tah dah! We're all better now!"

And as far as being completely sound barefoot--that's not my goal either. I would like him to grow a healthy enough foot so that he can hold a shoe for more than three weeks next year and I don't have to scratch shows because he got a loose shoe tacked back on the day before competition and he's sore.

Needless to say, I was really pissed. I waited for BM to arrive because NF also said that our turnout plan is not acceptable and I was ready to cry and then punch someone out at that point. I told BM that NF wanted to change the turnout again and BM went stomping over to NF to ask WTF he wanted her to do. I was really happy to have BM on my side. I wouldn't want her yelling at me.

BM: What do you want me to do with this horse, NF?!

NF: Do you want me to tell you what my first preferred option would be? I would pull all his shoes and keep him in his stall 24/7.

At which point I almost walked away.


In another circuitous conversation, BM and I agreed that Bobby could live in the big (like 12'x60') pen off the back of the indoor. There's a tiny little paddock off the back of it that he can get locked out of when it's raining, and he can get turned loose in the indoor at night. BM was even going to try to come up with a buddy he could get turned out with at night. That way he could go from a foot of shavings to a foot of arena footing without ever coming in contact with hard ground until his feet toughen up. Great plan, yes?

I repeated for the hundredth time to NF that Bobby could have as much time off as he needed and he was going to live in the arena so he wouldn't be walking on stone. So what did NF do?

He left.

With my horse's shoes still on.

Granted, he's supposed to be coming back today to finish up the rest of his horses, but what are the chances Bobby's shoes will actually be off? I'm going to say zero. And then I'm just going to pull them off myself. Bobby is going to be barefoot. Period.


  1. Are there other farriers in your area? That's a lot to be putting up with from a farrier who isn't reliable, gives orders to your BM on your horse's care, and refuses to do what you ask him to do.

    1. Not really. :/ Be sure that I'm going to get a lot more serious about looking though.

  2. If you pull the shoes then best of luck and be patient!

    My TB's feet were not as torn up as Bobbys but he was tender for a few days after his shoes were pulled. Soon he was good to go in stall and in the arena so we got back to work, but no trail rides or gravel walking.

    They pretty much need to grow a whole new hoof (so 6mos to a year), but I have to say when we finally "got there" it was AMAZING how thick the hoof wall will get. Suddenly my horse had real feet and now he goes over gravel of all sizes on a regular basis.

    It was difficult and was followed by a boatload of learning on nutrition and trimming (there is a really accurate writeup out there by Patty Stiller on what it takes to do bare hoof successfully) but I would do it again and wait it out if I got a new horse and knew I would be keeping it for at least a year.

    Now a couple years later I can't believe my TB's feet and I do his trimming myself (easy enough to learn for non-pathological hooves) which saves a whole lot of headache.

    1. I'm hopeful that pulling them now will give them enough to grow out that we'll be able to ride outside of the indoor by next spring. I'm definitely settling myself in for a long wait though!

  3. Um, your farrier is an asshole. That hoof looks atrocious and regardless of whatever your agenda may have been for him, he should have VERY strongly suggested pulling the shoes to let the hoof wall grow out. Jeepers. You must be beyond your wits end. Also, for what it's worth (having gone through SO many lameness issues due to feet in the last 5 months), having them on grass is not terrible for the month following the shoes off. As long as it's not rock hard or sloppy it's best if he gets to move as much as possible (you already know this). Oh, and if you want to expedite the process Farrier's Formula Double Strength! Good luck and try not to beat that guy with hoof testers!

    1. Unfortunately, living in coal country, we're on solid shale up here. I think he'll be ok being able to move around in his pen and the arena for awhile. I'm hopeful he'll be back on some turnout before winter sets in. And I just added the Double Strength FF to his Smartpak! Glad to hear it should help!

  4. I would have pulled the shoes myself as soon as he left without doing anything. How frustrating!!
    It isn't even my horse or my situation, and I was swearing just following along! Grrrr.

  5. Oh man. I really hope you are able to find a new farrier so you can tell this guy to shove it.

  6. Hi Carly!

    Try putting him in some easyboots, cavallos (or something similar!) When the farrier trimmed my girl down to nubs, putting her in boots definitely gave her some relief! (You can also put them on OVER shoes - for extra protection) - and you can often pick them up used on ebay ;)

    Hugs! & feeling your farrier pain!

    1. I'm going to put boots on his fronts when he's able to go out on pasture again. Hopefully that will make the transition a little quicker for him!

  7. So I thought the whole point of barefoot was to let the horse use his feet naturally and improve circulation and all that, by movement.

    Not by standing in a 12x12.

    NF, you confound me.

    If you were close, I'd share my awesome farrier who always shows up when scheduled and texts me if he's going to be more than 15 minutes late and does a superb job.

    Anyways. Best of luck. Bobby's feet definitely need a new plan and I hope this one works.

    1. For realz. Please share the farrier love. I can probably fly him out every six weeks with what I'll save on my shoeing bill.

  8. Holy crap. How didn't you punch him in the throat? Piney had awful feet. But since I rode once every 17 years I didn't need him in shoes. Since he would get super tender after his trims, the farrier would brush iodine on the soles and I never had a problem.

    I can quite honestly say I really don't know much about shoes of the horse variety, but that picture kind of tells me that there shouldn't be a shoe on that foot...

  9. Val's feet looked similar to Bobby's the first week I had him, after partially tearing off one of his fronts. I pulled the shoes myself with borrowed tools and we never looked back.

    I got some Cavallos for him + studied up on nutrition and barefoot trimming. It took some time but he's doing great now.

    No offense, but it sounds like you need another NF bad. 24/7 stalling? Crazytown...

  10. This just makes me appreciate my farrier that much more. Seriously, try the Birdsalls farrier barrier. It's worked a small miracle on Charlie's feet.

    1. It's supposed to get here Tuesday. I ordered it last Friday, but they were out of stock so I'm not so patiently waiting for it to arrive!

    2. If you don't think it helps, I'll buy the bottle from you. That's how impressed I've been with the stuff. Good luck! :-)

  11. Holy moly what a painful farrier.

  12. Wow... NF sounds like a gem!

    I can't believe he put his shoe back on with his foot looking like that!

    Pull those shoes girl!! I'll come help lol!

  13. So I just had to pull Bre's shoes (a post will be forthcoming) and she is a pussy foot when she's naked. I pulled them, he did a lovely trim, then I had her in boa boots for a week. She was walking happily barefoot at the end of the week even without boots. And the 24/7 boas didn't hurt her one bit. I have also had to pull them occacionally because her feet where so crappy that there was nothing to put a shoe on. She got sore but in the end she grew mch faster.

  14. Oh gosh sorry you're going through this!! I haven't had nearly the issues you've had with feet but I can say that Farrier's Formula made my horse's feet grow quite rapidly (we're trying to get him to grow heel) so I definitely second the suggestion. Good luck!!

  15. Holy crap.

    Honestly, WTF? I understand refraining from punching him in the throat but I think my brain would have exploded from the effort. I'm so sorry you have to use that guy - at the rate you are paying for him to come out, you should go to school for shoeing! Incompetent, idiotic, and brainless people like that make my brain rage red. Bobby's hooves are going to heal right up - sounds like you have a great plan to help him (the circulation will do wonders too!).

    Fingers crossed and well wishes sent for speedy recoveries for both of you!


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