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Shoes mask weaknesses, barefoot highlights strengths

Friday, 17 October 2008

No foot no horse

Our long standing barefoot convert/farrier came today. He is quite a controversial figure because he 'says it as he sees it'. It's a quality I admire because if more people spoke up there would be less animal cruelty, genocide and so forth. I can't help but feel that acquiescence or 'keeping the peace' is tantamount to tacit approval. But a few horsey professionals dislike him, maybe they are not confident of their ability or know he is right but don't like to be told? Me? I like someone who does their research, who is open to new ideas and who is willing to challenge and be challenged.

It is not necessary to always agree with someone's point of view, but if we can agree to debate, even if sometimes it is uncomfortable, then we all stand to learn something.

But off my soap box - how are the horses' feet?

Well if you read my earlier post you are probably expecting the following news:-

George's front feet are terrible! His heels are long, underrun, contracted and have folded over onto his sole. His frogs are a decaying mess and have a thrush infection. From what I have read these conditions appear to be linked - but the debate rages about which is causal and which is symptomatic.

I can not get a definite time line for rehabilitation - 'quicker than you think' was the best I was offered. But he didn't know how long I was thinking........... (6-9 months if you are interested)

Madam probably has the best feet of the group now. At the beginning of April she had very long toes, completely flat feet, underslung heels and some bruising.

At the beginning of June we were told by a vet who was X-raying her feet that they would never be suitable for barefoot because they were so flat. (This vet hates our farrier by the way.)

Today Madam has good concavity and is sound on road and pavements. She still has some flare to grow out and needs to develop a more substantial toe callous, but she is well on the way to becoming a 'textbook' barefoot.

Princess has struggled with her heels ever since busting her front suspensory ligaments (50% loss). I am concerned though because we seem to be going backwards and her moderate thrush is getting worse. But why should I worry - the 'groin strain' vet pronounced her to have 'textbook' classic barefeet..... He didn't know his practice partner had declared her as unsuitable for barefoot just a few months ago.

Anyway I know what the symptoms are - poor heels and thrush - the fixing them is causing some concern though.

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Southern England, United Kingdom