King, day one at our place, April 2013
This 1996 AQHA gelding was too lame to use due to an injury to his right front hoof sometime in the past, which took away most of the *front inside heel bulb. He came to us wearing a bar, or ring shoe, with a history of being unable to be ridden at anything faster than a walk or trot. Initially I could tell that some part of his right front hoof was missing or deficient but could not see exactly what the problem was.
The following is a Diary of King and the efforts I have been making to get him sound:
The week of APRIL 8: From Craig's List ad on KING: "Must be kept shod on front right hoof only (has hoof damage from yrs & yrs ago) and is starting to show age on front joints"
I purchased Kings Uno in spite of his having soundness problems. He is a beautiful little 14.1 hand AQHA gelding, very sweet and very gentle.
Below is the diary of my attempt to bring him back to 100% soundness:
Left, an example of the ring, or bar shoe, King was wearing; his did not have any pad under it.
BELOW: from my calendar day by day King's lameness and treatment:
TRIED RIDING HIM, and
decided he was much too unsound to ride ... he has lameness issue in his hooves,
notably right front, where a heavy ring shoe has been put on the hoof by
previous farrier. I see no problem with his joints; he looks much
younger than his 17 years and other than the right front hoof, appears to have
no other physical problems.
Intentions: get barefoot farrier Wes Wessels working on his feet; get him some joint supplement; in searching the Internet I found some startling youtube videos showing lameness recovery in horses put on Equi-Bone from TLC Nutrition. Although it is pricey, I ordered a bucket of it.
APRIL 14: King is limping severely.
APRIL 15: Wes came this afternoon and removed Kings shoe; started a trim back to natural angles; damaged hoof looks better than I expected. He will get vinegar soaks, supplement Equi-Bone, and Wes will come every 6 weeks
In evaluating his walk Wes pointed out that he is stubbing his toes into the ground as a habit born of trying to protect his painful heels.
Evidence points to King having had some kind of *hoof injury, possibly stepping on and jerking a shoe off, pulling off hoof wall at the back of the foot. We can't be sure, but it does not go into his foot or lower leg, no scarring anywhere there. But the hoof has deformed as it tried to grow with shoe on ... The heavy bar was probably put on to 'protect' the damaged hoof. Instead it has been hampering the natural recovery of the hoof.
The hoof itself looks healthy. No cracking or peeling.
APRIL 16: This morning when I went out to feed, King was walking his fence eager for his food, and was not limping, although his steps were still rather short. Of course he is in a pen with soft footing, he probably will limp on harder surfaces, or rocks.
APRIL 17: First day of apple cider vinegar soak. Using a Boa boot on the right front, I filled it with the vinegar and left him tied until he managed to sling the boot off. It is a little too large for him, but will work anyway I think.
APRIL 18: Second day of soaking, this time I put boots on both front feet, led him around with them and with the vinegar in the right boot, until he realized he could walk in them. No limping over rocks and I sort of think he realized his feet felt good in the boots. At any rate, the soaking lasted half an hour or so.
APRIL 19: EQUI-BONE arrived and King got his first two-scoop dose. King is walking better.
APRIL 20: Morning feed, Equi-bone and vinegar plus biotin and DE. He seemed to be walking better this morning. His stride as he paced the fence wanting his breakfast was a little longer than it has been in the past week, and I didn't see him stubbing toes into the ground as severely.
APRIL 21: Wormed with ivermectin paste in his feed with syrup on it; ate it all. Day 3 of Equi-Bone. Afternoon soaking in boa boot. Worked on teaching him to move away from pressure.
MAY 3: PHOTO OF THE RIGHT FRONT HOOF. You can see the deformity, especially how it has affected the frog, shrinking one side of it severely.
MAY 26, 2013 - JUST SIX WEEKS AFTER HIS FIRST NATURAL BAREFOOT TRIM and the afternoon of his second trim. You can see that already the frog is normalizing and the sole and wall are expanding outward, giving him a much rounder, more normal hoof shape. In this photo taken with my cell phone one-handed while I hold up his hoof, the hoof has dirt in it, but you can still see that the frog is bigger now.