Confession time: in the 9 years I’ve had Gem and Pete I have had to call the vet out twice. Once when she cut her hoof half off and again that same year when she had a colic scare. Both were due to the bad boarding situation she was in and we quickly left. Even with her hoof injury she never took a single lame step.
Lameness isn’t something I’m experienced with and when it comes down to it, I’m a newbie with problematic horses.
Cruze has continued to be off going right under saddle while being perfectly sound gallivanting in the pasture. I stopped riding him last week when it started getting worse instead of better and decided to just wait until the farrier came out to get his advice on the situation. I was finally able to secure a new farrier that came highly recommended by Trainer and whose work I have personally seen on an event horse and liked.
I always start a new farrier off with Gem. She not only has freakishly amazing feet, but is also an angel in the cross ties, half the time falling asleep. It’s a nice introduction to how I train my horses to behave for the farrier. She was her awesome self with no issues and no concerns. Then it was Pete. He is a bit harder since his feet like to crack and he is prone to white line. He was also a good boy, stood still, picked his feet up in advance of being asked and walked off better for it.
Then it was Cruze. He can be a total jerk with his legs often pulling them violently away from your hands. He no longer does this to me as I scolded him severely for it but he tests new people still. I quickly corrected that and apologized. Bad manners for the farrier is very embarrassing.
I filled him in on the last two months of hoof woes. The lost hind shoe exposing lamina resulting in being crippled and getting his first vet call. Then becoming sound only to repeat the process on the front which has not resolved any where near as quickly as the hinds. Plus the pesky right side lameness in the better looking hoof that is getting worse and not better.
Right away he diagnosed that issue. Cruze had freshly blown out an abscess on the lateral heel. Ugh. I admit to feeling like an ass. I had noticed the spot looked odd last week but thought it was his hoof boot rubbing which is why I ditched the boots. He continued to get progressively more lame and I didn’t even think to make sure that wasn’t an abscess brewing.
Thankfully it has blown and should grow out and he gave the green light to hop back on him thinking he should be as sound as his feet will let him be once again.
Of course I have family in this week so I won’t get to test that theory for a while.
Other than that the verdict on his feet is that they suck. In general. More specifically he has paper thin soles that remain “squishy” (his words) even after two months of pasture, being bare and hoof supplements topically and orally.
My question to him was: could they thicken with time and a better hoof growing down or is this genetically him?
His answer? They will certainly improve with all that but if I want to ride him on anything but mattresses and jump him, I should shoe him and forget about it.
Unfortunately he still doesn’t have enough hoof to shoe, so the plan is another 6 weeks bare, use keratex three times a week, and then shoe with leather pads for a cycle. Hopefully we can ditch the pads after the initial go and remain in shoes. He said I could go bare behind but I’d have to be very careful on the footing and if I’m planning on eventing I’d be best off just shoeing them too.
So that is that. He needs to grow enough hoof to not end up in a cycle of pulled shoes and lost hoof wall, but this guy’s opinion is that I should just shoe him all around as he was sound shod before. As long as this guy is as good as his reputation makes him out to be, he should be able to trim/shoe him in a balanced manner to counteract his tendency to want to be high right and low left and get him moving better so we can go back to having fun and growing as a team.
We will see what six more weeks brings us. In the meantime I’m going to hop on him hopefully sometime soon and see how he feels now that the abscess is blown. Hopefully he will be sound and ready to roll at least for flatwork lessons and ground poles.