He has been shod for 3/4 of his life (rough estimate) with some time off during non-riding times. Late last year I was surprised to see (with new barefoot eyes) at how contracted his feet seemed. Not only were the heels contracted, as one would expect, but I am sure they used to be bigger. He'd had a rough year with his feet obviously, with some large cracks the length of the wall, had some very obvious thrush going on, and, well, they just didn't "look" right. At that stage, he was not mine, so I left it alone, but really really wanted to take his shoes off and let his feet breath.
So now he is mine, I can take his shoes off, and support him through his transition to barefoot. And yesterday was Day 1.
Here are his feet just before the shoes came off, six weeks after being shod for the last time:
Above: Near fore
Above: hinds ready for shoe removal
When his shoes came off, Jade the Trimmer and I got one hell of a shock: a drastically separated white line on all four feet, medially 3-5 o'clock, lowered soles, and LOTS of thrush. As the shoes came off, the rush of thrush odour was strong.
|Shoe off, off fore|
|Trim in process off fore|
|Solar view OF trimmed. Check out the black bits and the thin walls|
It's interesting to see how much a shoe hides, including correct foot balance, as well as pathologies.
Moonie's initial reaction to the new trim was to really "feel" his feet, and then spring his way back to his paddock as though he had new feet. As predicted, he is very tender today. I'm not surprised, as this is a horse that cannot walk comfortably on gravel when shod. This afternoon, his feet will be soaked in keratex, and foam padding gaffa taped to his sole so he can move comfortably, and keep the blood flowing through his feet. Boots are being ordered as I type.
Apart from improving the overall health of his feet (which ties in with his gut health, Cushings and IR) we are working towards lifting his soles back into a lovely arch, where they should be (and haven't been for well over a decade at least), and growing his heel out properly again. Slowly, with a new treeless saddle, barefoot hooves, herbal support combined with solid weight management, Moonie is turning into a treehugging hipster! Stay tuned for his progress.....