Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Barefoot Transition, pt.2

See Part One here!

Part Two will cover the month of October, where things started to look really good, and then things tried going downhill before I drop kicked that nonsense and got us back on track.

Again, a disclaimer: This is not meant to be some, "Look what I did! You do it, too!" post. I am not a farrier. It's a condensed documentation for myself, and for anyone googling, "I pissed off my shit farrier and now I have to take of my horse's newly bare feet practically by myself. Where do I start?" Did I google that myself? Has anyone read this blog before? Answer that for yourself. I'm not at all against horses with shoes, and I'm probably not going to go around expounding on the joys of going barefoot. It is not a joy. It's a complete fucking bitch. But I'm still glad I did it.


Here's how Bobby's feet started the month, 9/30/13:

LF, five weeks after getting shoes pulled.
RF, five weeks after getting shoes pulled.
LH, five weeks after getting shoes pulled.
RH, five weeks after getting shoes pulled.

At this point, Bobby was back in almost full work. He was jumping in the outdoor booted on the fronts, and doing both flat and over fences work in the indoor completely barefoot. He was able to work in the cross country fiel barefoot (where there are no rocks), and he was finally back in his original 12 acre paddock for seventeen hours a day.

A week into the month, he started getting let out to his paddock with no boots on at all, which meant he was walking up a steep, very gravelly hill barefoot. While not one hundred percent on the gravel, he seemed to be coping well, and once in the paddock, he was comfortable.

I started laying off the Farrier Barrier a bit, knocking down application to every other day at the most. His soles had really toughened up by this point, and the only thing that was still looking suspect was the thrush in his RF where he had had a pour in pad for three months prior to me pulling his shoes.

His feet on 10/8/13, directly after a trim:

LF, six weeks after pulling his shoes.
RF, six weeks after pulling his shoes.
RH, six weeks after pulling his shoes.
LH, six weeks after pulling his shoes.

The RF hoof was also showing a large flare that caused his toe to dish out and split. Having zero farrier experience myself, I did a lot of reading from the websites you guys posted, and I talked to BM about it. We decided, since it actually did seem to be growing out by itself, to keep doing what I was doing and slowly knock it back each week instead of going commando on it and knocking it off in one fell swoop.

RF. yuck.

Mid-month, Bobby turned up footsore under saddle again. The suspected culprit was the reappearance of thrush in the RF, though he was also walking out sore on the LF. I ordered Oxine AH to combat the thrush since the Thrush Buster wasn't doing a good enough job any longer. He got turned out with his front feet in Boa boots again.

RF with thrush.

Today was his sixth soak with the Oxine, and the thrush is definitely clearing up already. I mix 1/2c of the Oxine with 1/8c of white vinegar and add just enough water to cover his hooves. He soaks for twenty minutes once a day. I thoroughly dry his feet afterwards, then alternate between pouring in Thrush Buster or painting on Farrier Barrier.  I relied heavily on this article on how to use the Oxine.

He's one hundred percent sound riding in the indoor (haven't tried the outdoor yet) and he's back to walking over gravel without boots with only minimal discomfort. I would probably still be turning him out in boots right now, but he broke the laces on them and the company I was going to send them out to get repaired by has yet to get back to me. (Two thumbs down, by the way.) However, I think it might be helping keep his feet dryer by not being in boots most of the day, and that's certainly not going to hurt him.

Today is exactly nine weeks since his shoes were pulled. I last touched up his feet on Friday, 10/25. Here's how they look today, 10/29/13:

The LF:

sorry it's blurry.

The RF, trouble foot:

the cracks on the side are superficial--they don't go any deeper than just
the surface where they split.

the upward curve on the outside is where a massive chunk of his hoof came off
with the clip on his shoe. it's obviously still growing out.
however, note no more dish at the toe!

you can see where i dug out the crack in his toe thanks to blogger recommendation!
there was a little funk going on in there, but i'm assuming the oxine is keeping that clean, too.
also note the thrush. it might not look much better here, but the crack isn't nearly as deep.
The LH:

i need to take the flare off on the outside. for some reason doing his back feet
worries me more than his fronts. i need to be more aggressive on them.

The RH:


just ugh. i think i'm going to ask BM for help with the hinds.

I don't know that he'll ever be one hundred percent on gravel, but if you had asked me nine weeks ago whether he'd be sound at this point period, I would have probably said no. I'm really impressed with how his feet have turned out.

And finally? Holy cow. Thank you guys for all the advice, reading material, and product recommendations over the past two months. I'd never even heard of Farrier Barrier or Oxine before, and they've both been like hoof crack for Bobby. Keep it coming! I'm learning so much from the blogging community! You bitches are the best.


  1. I have to say, it's really encouraging reading about your journey with Bobby. Riley is definitely on the upswing since pulling his shoes 7 weeks ago, but it's a slow process that takes more patience than I have. He's not suffering from thrush, and only has problematic front feet, but that's enough to make me out-of-my mind bonkers. I'm in the process of writing an entry about a paper chase we did over a week ago (I've been too busy to finish it!) but we're moving again so we'll see how that effects things. At least he'll have a gigantic stall to love in if the ground gets too hard over the winter.

    ps. you're really fucking brave.

  2. A few comments:
    #1) I've awarded you the Sunshine Award. Yay. =)
    #2) I'm also doing trimming every week myself, and I think that's how I'm going to continue. It's a lot easier on the back and arms rather than one big session every 4-6 weeks. And its developing my eye better too I think.
    #3) I think you can get more aggressive with the RF trimming - with a stronger/more dramatic bevel all around (take it all the way to the white line, baby), and in terms of cleaning out the underside with a farrier's knife. Open all that up, especially where there is bar grow-over, before the soaking to help it be even more effective.

  3. You go girl!!! I see a career here ;)

  4. Carly this reads and looks SO MUCH like my OTTB, and if our experience is any indication you WILL get to the gravel stage. It may take a full growout, but you'll get there.

    It gets even better, it really does. Not only does my horse grow the best hoof he's ever had in his life, but I get to take care of him further and save $130 a month on shoes.

  5. Wow what an improvement. They are on the right track! :)

  6. Carly, you've done an AMAZING JOB with Bobby's feet. I love that you've let his feet do their thing and then gotten slowly more assertive with your trimming. I know you think he has crappy feet, but he actually has a naturally good hoof; he WANTS to grow that good hoof. His transition has been a lot smoother than other OTTBs you hear about out there, and I think that once you finish getting him balanced out, he is going to be an absolute breeze to maintain. What a good job you've done. It takes guts to go this route.

    I agree with Sarah above. I personally like to trim every 2 weeks, but when I took over Lily's trimming I was doing it every week. Just a tiny bit at a time as I got the hang of trimming out the flares and backing up the toe and realized that I wasn't going to lame my horse, and also while I got used to wielding the rasp. I still find it cumbersome when doing her left hind because I'm right-handed and my arm ends up under her belly...The hinds are a bitch to get the correct angle to trim on when propping their feet on the stand. It's taken a long time to get the hang of it, but I discovered it's a lot easier if I start with her hinds and leave the fronts for last.

    With my trimming, Lily went from being pigeon-toed in the front to standing straight. Pretty amazing. It took 4 months but I'm now at the phase where I feel like I'm maintaining more than I'm correcting. It will get easier! I promise! You will get to the gravel-crunching phase! :)

  7. Bleach water in a spray bottle works really well to

  8. Holy Cow! You are so brave to do your own trims! AWESOME! If you are looking for a good supplement for hooves, try SmartHoof by smartpak. I have a Standardbred with HORRIBLE hooves and it has made such a difference! His hooves grow out faster and healthier than without it! You Go Girl! I'm glad I stumbled onto your blog!

  9. I have two favourite parts about this whole thing, and they are both essential when dealing with horses: 1) You listened to your horse above all else, 2) You are educating yourself. Man, I wish everyone would do that. Go you :D

  10. Wow, he really has come a super long way in 9 weeks! Congrads to you for such a huge DIY undertaking - you're right, barefoot is hard, but it sure has done wonders for Bobby's feet!

    Regarding taking on the flare on the LH... I'm not an expert by any means, but you might consider leaving it. It looks flared from the top, but if you look at the underside of the hoof, look how much more sole he's got on the outside edge than on the inside. (What I mean is, on the sole pic, his hoof is wider on the outside half than on the inside half. I hope that makes sense). Also, the hoof wall is tight on that outside edge - no separation on the white line or anything. He may be growing hoof like that to support an unevenness elsewhere in his limb/motion, so if you remove the "flare" it may affect him elsewhere in his body. There's a good post about flare here, if you haven't already seen it: http://rockleyfarm.blogspot.com/2013/10/thought-for-dayflare-in-action.html

    Can't wait to see how he progresses!

  11. They are looking so much better!!

  12. Well, you could always take a smal town farrier's advice on thrush. For the record, he was a good farrier, but this little gem was pretty special! He told me I could use terpentine, the good stright stuff, it would kill the thrush and help toughen his soles (that were fine). His instructions where to "just put a splash in and get the heck out of the way"....apparently it burns. I decided lysol soaks and time in the dry arena, were a lot safer for my face. But hey, your horse needs thrush gone and tougher feet, right? :)

    Your doing great with his feet! I want to learn to trim, but maybe not your crash course version....

  13. Wow I am so impressed!! Good for you (and Bobby!)
    What are you doing as far as nutrition? My natural barefoot trimmer emphasizes nutrition more than ANYTHING else when it comes to healthy hooves. I know that one cause of flares can be when the laminae aren't as tight due to nutrition.

  14. Thank you for reminding me:
    1. I love my horse's feet
    2. I love my farrier


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