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Shoes mask weaknesses, barefoot highlights strengths

Wednesday, 3 December 2008


George has become a project. He was supposed to be a companion to the two mares and an alternative riding horse for myself and family. But a sore back and terrible feet have put any riding plans on hold.

His feet are really long, they have grown as 'cylinders' rather than 'turkish slippers'. His heels are underslung and have curled in, crushing the frogs, which have all but disappeared in the heel area. What is left of his frogs is skinny, full of holes, ragged and a bit squishy. They are too sensitive to pick out properly, so we flush them with dilute hibiscrub.
The horn quality is surprisingly good and although on arrival he was so toe first he looked like a ballerina on pointe, he has always been able to move over any surface.
Lame more or less alround and moving like a plank he has a long way to go. It can take 9-12 months to grow a new foot. 24/7 turnout on the circuit has helped. His movement is now more fluid and he can take canter on both leads. His frogs have improved enough to allow me to pick them out if I am careful. He is getting marginally less toe first landing.
In the interim we are working on helping to get over his fear of loading in a trailer and teaching him some more verbal cues.

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Southern England, United Kingdom