It is so easy to second guess yourself in life in general, but especially with horses where not only does everyone have an opinion, but they all feel like they need to express it plus their disdain for you doing something different.
My plan from the get go with Cruze after his hoof debacle was to keep him barefoot until the new hoof is all grown down and then shoe the healthier hoof. It was the best option given my past experiences, horse management style and goals (or lack thereof). It wasn’t the best plan according to a lot of other people, but eh…not their horse.
As time went by, I started second guessing this plan as each day he seemed to remain lame. Should I just shoe him? Will I be causing more harm than good waiting this out? Why buy a horse and then not ride him for months on end? It would be easier to shoe and get to ride now, why am I doing this to myself?
Thankfully, the Hubby always keeps me real and true to my own convictions and I kept the Big Orange Beast barefoot even though I was tempted to shoe him and be done with all this mess.
The farrier came out last night to do trims. I keep a 6 week schedule although I am tempted to move it back to 5 weeks as the horses are growing a ton of hoof. Well, two of them are anyway. He started with Gem…great feet!!..moved to Pete…chronic white line starting to move back in continue the Thrush Buster twice a week!…and ended with Cruze….um, are you sure it has been 6 weeks??
Cruze’s hooves were no different than when Farrier was last out. Well, that isn’t entirely true. Farrier loved the looks of the new hoof wall growing down on all four and could easily see the line of new growth which is about half way down now. What he didn’t like was that there was still nothing to trim and no hoof to shoe safely. Homeboy chips his feet off like crazy.
We had a discussion as to what was going on and what to do about it. Farrier immediately nixed the idea of shoes in fear that he would rip his hoof off again and we would be back at square one. While I have been patient the last four months with this, I doubt I would be all over again. I ask ed if shoes would help him not chip so badly and actually grow a hoof, but he thought the risk of losing mre hoof due to the shoe outweighed the benefits.
We then talked about trimming and he was on the fence. On one hand he could help the concavity a bit and round off some sharp edges, but he just came sound and Farrier worried he would walk off lame if he removed any hoof at this point. I’m so glad I hopped on him to test him out last weekend because his soundness was a big deciding factor on what to do. So it passed that Cruze walked away from the farrier yet again without being touched. He hasn’t had his feet touched since the week I brought him home in MAY. That is nearly 4 months without having enough hoof to even trim. Ugh.
But the good news is that he is sound and Farrier used the hoof testers to make sure nothing was brewing. Homeboy, who is very pain adverse aka a huge baby about every minor thing, didn’t react at all. He is doing well enough as is finally and there is no need to rock the boat at the moment.
Basically, Farrier agreed fully with staying the course: allow Big Boy to grow out a whole new, healthier hoof that will be more accepting of a shoe and once that is done he will be getting shoes all around with bell boots up front to prevent any new shoe ripping off debacles from occurring. It was nice to hear that he was on board with my own plans and that we can keep on keeping on through the fall and into winter when he will hopefully finally have a healthy hoof to shoe safely.
We talked about long term barefoot and the verdict? Nope, nope nope. If he was a dressage horse and only ridden in soft, fluffy arena footing then maybe, sure. But Farrier laughed out loud at the idea of Cruze being able to go on trails without destroying his feet and coming up dead lame again. Boots are an option, but I’ve been down the boot road before and it was not for me. I’d take shoes over boots any day.
With his rate of hoof growth and where they are now we are looking at probably 6 months before he gets shoes baring any lameness in the meantime which puts us right at the start of the spring season next year. Not too bad especially since we have the green light to get back to work in the meantime. Overall, not a bad farrier visit at all.