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Does it feel like everyone is talking about their horse’s feet a lot more this year, or is just because I am obsessing over it?

ANYWAY, we pulled May’s shoes during the first week of September. The dew from a typical hot KY summer was taking it toll, and May had managed to lose both front shoes. There is nothing like wet grass and rock hard ground to encourage shoes to come flying off of hooves. I was literally sending pictures like this to my farrier with calm messages such as, “THIS SHOE IS ABOUT TO COME OFF AND I HAVE A SHOW IN 3 DAYS.”

Mind you, these photos are from June. So things got WORSE.

Luckily, my farrier is not one for such dramatics, and he dutifully came out each time and fixed her up. He and I agreed that the issue was really microbes getting underneath the shoe and into the hoof wall. What was my breaking point? When he couldn’t clinch down nails on her black hoof because the hoof wall was just SMOOSHING away. (technicaly terms, but it made me a bit nauseous).

I tried a round of white lightning, which stopped the progression, but it couldn’t cure the issues going on UNDER the shoe or behind the nails. I put May on a hoof supplement, but the weather in KY continued to work against us.

At my last horse trial, my farrier was there. He came by to tighten her shoes and check on her, since he was going away for a week. I asked out glue on shoes, and he indicated why that probably wouldn’t work for us right now. He pulled out a shoe that would allow him to put the nails in different places because anywhere we had put a nail was just crumbling away.

“Well,” I started, “what about taking her barefoot again?”

His first question, “when’s your next show?” I shrugged my shoulders.

“If we don’t compete again this year, it’s not the end of of the world. I haven’t signed up for anything.” He nodded and agreed that pulling the shoes would probably be best. We would wait out the rest of this cycle as much as we could to let her grow as much hoof as she could, and then we would pull them.

And pull them we did. Then, hurricane Florence passed through KY, and we had one of the rainiest September on record. I think the pictures speak for themselves:

Immediately after pulling and trying to leave as much hoof as possible.


Better photos about one week after pulling shoes. (Her back feet are barefoot and BEAUTIFUL)

Right after 5 week trim. Leaving these photos big for everyone.

Black Foot. 
White Foot
I don’t know why the black foot looks so short and stubby here. It’s really not. 

Are they perfect? No. They are still in the process of changing shape and growing out the nail holes. Are they a lot healthier? Definitely. The hoof is dry, hard, and a lot stronger than it had been. I think once those nail holes fully grow out, we’ll be in good shape going into winter.

As for her comfort level – May was really comfortable in her hoof boots the day after being trimmed this week, and I was riding her completely barefoot towards the end of her last cycle. Fingers crossed that when I get back from my trip this weekend, she will be comfortable without boots again.

On a different note, woke up this morning to 50 degrees of fall greatness. <3

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  1. martidoll123

    It is chilly here too. Horses are out in field with no fly spray. What is this magic we speak of, this cooler weather? 😉 YAY. Remus is lit up today tho snorting and tail flagging. OMG.

    As to feet Remus feet are horrible. Farrier comes today. I talked to him about this on the phone and we are going to take a look at his feet. Remus has had front shoes on him since i got him what 5-6 years ago? No clue when I got him might want to look that up LOL 2012 I thnk?? ANYWAY i hope we can get shoes on his front this time and they stay on (one is still on by a wing and prayer the other has been off for 2 weeks sigh). I did mention to my farrier i might want to try him barefoot for a while. He is going to look at him and go from there. I probab will put shoes on this time if we can just so i can ride out and trail ride and compete into November. Then we will regroup. Horses are a pain arent they?

    And yes between you and Sara B there is a whole of hoofing going on 🙂 HA

    1. Emily

      Here’s what I have learned about horses:
      It’s never simple. And someone will always think you are doing it wrong. 😉

  2. the_everything_pony

    I think it may be the year for foot woes haha. I think we’ve all had a round of that recently. I’m glad her feet look so much better now!

    1. Emily

      It’s just frustrating hahaha. Like there’s no quick fix when it comes to feet.

  3. uncanny580

    I wish we had fall temperatures like that….we skipped fall and went straight to winter !

    Hopefully her toes are happy when you come back from your trip !

  4. Alex

    Barefoot really scares me but it’s a horse by horse basis. It would be pretty hard to get Scarlet to be comfortable while his feet toughened up with the ground being as hard as it is here. May’s feet look awesome. The small chips look like they are just from nail holes so hopefully they go away completely with another growth cycle.

  5. roamingridersite

    Ugh…feet. I’m so glad that May is doing well barefoot and her hooves are growing in well. Hooves suck because they grow so slowly and there is no easy fix. You know all about my hoof woes with H’Appy. I’m a barefoot fan and would love to take him barefoot. Maybe we can someday as his hooves improve but he has shown me that he is not happy barefoot right now so expensive shoes with pads it is.

    1. Emily

      Yeah. She has shown an inclination towards barefoot, but this is the first time she has been at the right barn/setup for it.

  6. eventerinprogress

    How does she go barefoot all the time?

    B also gets shod on the fronts but man, if I could he would be barefoot. Mostly because of all the $$$ I would save haha

    1. Emily

      Good genes i think? Hahaha. Her feet are naturally super hard and, since she’s already on the easy keeper side, she doesn’t get a lot of added sugar to her diet. Both of those really help her not need shoes.

  7. emma

    dude as far as i can tell this has been a ROUGH year for hooves, basically across the board. everyone i know has had some sort of issue at some point or another. earlier in the season when the ground was rock hard and bone dry, charlie was having trouble and needed to go into pads. and on more than one occasion just baaarely made it to his farrier appts with the shoe still attached haha. meanwhile other friends are struggling more now with everything being so soaking wet. really it’s just been a tough year. ugh.

    but now seems like a really good time to start making the changes necessary ahead of winter. hopefully May continues to do well as the seasons change!

    1. Emily

      Yes! So much hoof drama this year. I would’ve rather gotten through the season before pulling her shoes but that’s horses for you! Hahaha

  8. KC Scott

    So much foot drama! We’re sorta in the same boat here in NC. Lots of moisture, hard ground. Terrible recipe for healthy hooves. Glad May’s feet are chugging along!

  9. L. Williams

    Glad her feet are on the right path!

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