Monday, March 10, 2014

Hooves Are Cool

Are hooves not the coolest things ever?

If you remember, about a year ago O came to me with the cruddiest hooves ever. She had been in Texas for a little while, standing in a field for several months just eating on a nasty roundbale, and while she had been getting hoof care at that time (supposedly), her feet were still awful. Her soles were so thin you could depress them with your thumb. She couldn't walk on pavement without being gimpy. She had zero soft tissue development in the back of her foot. She needed some work.

There was literally nothing I could take off that would make it better. So, I put her to work. The best thing you can do for a horse with poor soft tissue development and thin soles is to make them comfortable, feed them well, and work them. Off we went.

She couldn't walk on pavement barefoot at first. She wore boots and pads for every ride. She tripped. She kept going.

Eventually, the boots started being less of a necessary thing. She couldn't wear them all the time due to how badly they rubbed her (ALL boots that fit her rub her, and the boots that don't rub won't stay on her crooked toed-in feet), so they started to stay off for periods. She wore them less, and less, and less.

Pavement because as easy as turf to work on. The gravel driveway became less of a challenge. The rocks in the big pasture started to be less terrible and more simple to negotiate. 

Eventually, the boots went by the wayside. I think they're in my trailer somewhere collecting dust. She hasn't worn them in months. 

The soft tissue in the back of her foot started feeling firm to the touch, like something was actually in there. Things were developing, responding to the hundreds of miles that we had traveled. And then one day, concavity was there. Where did that come from?

Voila! Here we are, a year later.

The first shot was taken last April, the second was a few days ago. Remember, NO TRIMMING happened during this time except for the very rare occasional touch-up. This hoof is nowhere near perfect by any means, but the development in the back of the foot is WILD, and there is quite a lot of concavity to it. It had some hunks taken out of the lateral side (she is toed in) when she was monkeying around one day but no harm no foul, just looks a little funny until it grows back. There is still a very long way to go, but this is remarkable progress. 

Good food and miles and miles and miles and miles of proper landings are the only real way to achieve this. Nothing you put on the foot will make it develop like this. It has to be done through stimulation and proper nutrition, and it doesn't happen overnight. By this time next year, they will look totally different, again.

So, what are you waiting for? Go ride! 


  1. Love it! Nothing worked for my ottb except 24/7 turnout, lots of work, and conservative backing up of his outrageous long toes with a rasp (and, I mean super conservative. I file my own fingernails more...).

    I wish more people would believe me and turn out their soft soled horses.

  2. Another reminder that there is hope for my girl :) We've ALMOST got her nasty thrush completely gone thanks to your suggestion of Tomorrow. Thank you so much by the way :) :) She's starting to land mid foot and now I know she just needs miles. If only this nasty ice would melt!

  3. Hooves are wonderful! Excellent progress in a years time. :)

  4. Wow!! That difference is amazing! This is definitely proof that exercise is one of the healthiest things for our horses if anyone didn't believe it before hehe.