I am currently re-habbing my ex-racehorses feet… When Pole Star (Poley) was in training he was in and out of plates and shoes, for 10 years… I was very fortunate in that I rode him out everyday for a season whilst he was in his final year of training, hence why I have ended up having such a wonderful horse. He is kind, gentle and if he were a human he’d be a brandy and cigars man!
His feet were flaky and had little growth whilst he was in training and he had signs of regular low grade inflammation rumbling on. His heels were and still are under-run, low at the heel and collapsed, with bent bars, weak frogs and weak lateral cartligaes and weak digital cushions! Added to that the growth rate was poor.
I wanted to hunt and hack him out but wanted to get his feet right and ensure that he has a full life ahead of him outside of running around in circles, he deserves that for all his years of loyal service. So I decided to take him barefoot to give his feet chance to recover and grow a whole new hoof capsule. I write this in the hope that if you’re thinking about going down the same route it isn’t as bigger hurdle as you think…. read on..
Firstly, I knew that I would have to attend to the growth and quality of the horn produced before I could go barefoot. So I’m in a good place, working for Trinity Consultants, to stimulate the growth and set him up with a good chance of having the feet every horse aspires to! I set about including 100grms of Tenderfoot per day, 100ml of L94 Liver Tonic and 100ml of EquiNourish per day in his two bucket feeds along with good quality roughage, fibre and a few handfuls of porridge oats to speed up the process.
The strength and flexibility has improved ten-fold, and so mid-way through March 2011 with the amazing help of Debbie Croseor from justhorsesense.co.uk we set about measuring him up for his set of re-hab boots and pads!
The shoes came off and we fitted him with his ‘sneakers’ on the same day. Debbie was marvelous and showed me what I should be looking out for, how to fit the boots and told me exactly what I needed to do. To stimulate the soft structures at the back of the foot, these structures support the boney structures in the foot, I would need to start by leading him out for 15 mins per day and build upon that. The science behind it being that, the weight of the horse in the boots and special pads stimulates the growth of the soft structures and allows the foot to get back to being as close to nature as possible.
Well we’ve been two weeks out of shoes now. He’s not been lame, a little picky over stones but then he does have flat soles but he is improving. He’s been out each day in his ‘sneakers’ the pitter patter noise on the road makes me chuckle,,, the quality of the horn and the width that the frogs have expanded to is a real surprise, there is a marked increase in his stride, he used to potter down hill, now i can hardly keep up with him! I have also noticed that his heels have started to grow in such a short space of time.
I will keep you all updated on his progress! Philly