Thursday, January 24, 2013

Hoof update

While we were sharing registration table duty at the PNER convention, [Blog of] Becky asked how the whole barefoot thing is going. This was yet another friendly reminder that I used to be a blogger on such topics. (Who, me? Blogging? Maybe I should start doing that again...)

So, here’s a hoof update. 

It is hard to overstate the vast improvement that Blue’s feet have made in such a short period. They look great. They look stupidly, wonderfully, absurdly great compared to how they looked at the end of ride season. They look like some other horse’s feet were transplanted onto Blue’s big, fat, roan body.

My farrier came on Tuesday and had very little to do. I always feel bad because it is a pretty long trip for him to come all the way out to do 10 minutes of work and only get $45 for his trouble. (Farriers are not getting rich.)

He and I had one of those sort of vague conversations similar to conversations I have with the woman who does my hair.

Me: I think it looks pretty good. I guess time will tell how it grows out.

Professional person: Yep. Everything looks fine. I just took off a little to clean up the ends. It looks healthy.

Me: Well, let’s talk about this more in the spring. We’ll see where things stand in April and go from there.

Professional person: OK.

I think the most encouraging thing about the conversation we had was that he sort of alluded to *not* putting shoes on in the spring. I’m very much on the fence about where to go from here, whether I want to give boots another chance or if I’m going to go back to shoes and just get them reset more often to keep the toe in check. There would be major advantages and disadvantages to both. But what is encouraging is that my farrier doesn’t seem eager to push me one way or the other. I am going to ask him for an honest opinion as we get closer to the time when foot protection will matter, but in the meantime, I like that he is treating this winter experiment as something that might possibly turn into a long-term thing. 

Dec. 5

Dec. 14

Dec. 21

Jan. 23
We still have a ways to go to get the heel to come down, but I'm happy with the overall direction things are going. The farrier says that the more he is moving around barefoot, the more contact his frog will have with the ground and the more his heels will grow to compensate. Here's hoping.



  1. That is some major improvement in a relatively short period of time!

  2. I agree with CG--that's big forward steps. The December 5 photo is kinda scary. The January 23 photo is entirely acceptable!

    Best of luck, no matter what you decide to do.

  3. Luck is exactly what we need. Thank you!

  4. Congratulations to you and to Blue.

    My Falcon has made major improvements in the foot department since being barefoot, he is a tad ouchy when the Trainer has taken him out on trails...I think that will improve too since right now his pasture is pretty wet in comparison to the trails.

    I am taking the "barefoot" road for now and trying to gently ignore the trainer and barn owners nudges towards shoes again....

    So good luck in your venture!