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New Farrier, New Plan

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.

She may be physically easy to handle but mentally she pushes everything to the limits. Seriously mare. She is in a 10 acre grass pasture with zero reasons to push the boundaries except that she can.

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.

Slow leaving the house waiting for this guy to cross the driveway into the trees

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.

The look of an angel. Hahahahha!

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.

Ok.

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.

Chopped all my hair off. So much cooler!

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.

23 thoughts on “New Farrier, New Plan”

  1. Glad you have a plan for the future!!! And it sounds like the new farrier will be a big part of getting you back on track:) Feet are such fickle things yet sooooo important!!! Good thing it’s summer and to hot to ride anyways so better to fix things now than later!!

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      1. I don’t think so! Crazy!!! I’m at camp in Hendersonville pretty much all day and we definitely get thunderstorms but they’re not particularly lightening filled. I haven’t heard anyone talk about lightening storms around here so I’m thinking no?

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  2. New haircut is so cute!
    Bummer about Cruze’s feet, but patience is a virtue? Also, don’t feel bad about the abcess, I’m sure most of us on here, myself included have missed the obvious answer at least once, lol

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  3. I love/hate abscesses bc they’re such head scratchers as they get worse and worse and then suddenly omg crippled but then, oh duh just an abscess… sigh. Anyway sounds like a solid plan. I love plans. Seems wise that you’re working so hard to give everything it’s due chance to be successful while also weighing out the advice of so many pros in your corner. Hopefully it works out!

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    1. This is my first abscess! When I say Gem has freakishly amazing feet I mean it 🙂

      I know with hooves you have to be patient and I don’t want to make the wrong choice and end up back where we began but I also don’t want to go a year trying to grow a new hoof only to remain here either.

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  4. So frustrating, but it sounds like you’ve got a good plan going forward! Poor Cruze and poor you for dealing with it – I’ve never known an app with bad feet!

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  5. I’m a believer in Keratex, let us know how it works out. That photo of Gem – the fence wasn’t turned on, I assume? We have only 5 acres for our two and when they’re on the entire thing (now) I don’t even bother to turn on the fence. But your photo scares me!

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    1. This section we turned off because it is the only pasture near a neighbor (the others either have woods or the pond) and they have kids that play in their own yard near it. I don’t want anyone to get shocked. They are only out in this pasture for another week before getting rotated back by the pond which is turned on.

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    2. I also want to note that we did not put in this fence. It was put in close to 20 years ago and not well in the first place. It sags and the keepers attaching the tape to the posts randomly break off with high winds and rain. Or for no discernible reason at all. We replace and tighten as it happens. If it was put in properly or wasn’t so old, Gem wouldn’t be able to stretch it this much. We are planing on replacing the fencing with permanent fencing in the near future.

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  6. Glad you found a new farrier UGH That is on my list i have one recommendation from someone but since all her horses are barefoot I wonder how good this guy is. Remus needs shoes on front and I just keep them there since he has (or had) bad feet. His feet are amazing now BUT i don’t want to jinx it by removing the shoes…..

    And i agree just get his hoof wall better and throw the shoes on. Remus had pads for a while he was so ouchy (bad quarter horse feet remember kind of like app feet) at first but he hasnt had pads in years now besides snow pads. WHICH WE SHOULD NOT NEED THIS YEAR HURRAH! HA.

    Whatever works so you can get on and go do things with Cruz. I want to see you do things 🙂

    Love the haircut! I cut mine off too. SHORT its too freaking hot to have any hair 🙂

    Enjoy the family time (My inlaws come Sept 1st UGH)…:)

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    1. My issue with the farriers around here is that they all start off really awesome. Great looking trims and patient. Then after a few cycles they start getting lazy. The final straw with my last one was when I watched him trim Gem and he forgot to do the toe ad rasp the front. I mentioned it and he got pissy.

      Good luck finding a good one near you!!!

      No snow pass for you! Yay!

      Um…we won’t be doing much any time soon. I have a post coming but this morning I found blood on his hind leg. This horse is driving me to drink

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  7. Love the new haircut! And I hear you on being blessed with some pretty hardy horses (knock on wood!) that don’t often have lameness. Q does blow some pretty freaking ridiculous abscesses though! I’m waiting for the day she’s lame on one, but so far, it hasn’t happened…which, is just fine by me because the aftermath is scary!

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  8. Feet are tough, but it sounds like you found someone really good to help you figure out a solution! Maybe this will also help some of the other under saddle issues. Fingers crossed!

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    1. I’m not too hopeful on that since he was the same way when shod and sound. I do believe that his attitude issues are simply testing to see if he has to listen to me and once we get into a better routine it will hopefully go away.

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      1. May was horrific when I first got her. Now, she would probably walk through fire for me. Sometimes, I just takes time, patience, and sheer determination.

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