Well, we're back in pads - fronts only.
My farrier came out yesterday afternoon, took off Guinness' front shoes and gasped in horror. Basically, his sole is gone. His feet have wall, a little sole that was under the shoe and then are scooped out completely. It looked like his cannon bone could come plunging through his sole at any point. Terrifying. Farrier looked at me and said "Pads?". For once, I completely agreed.
So, full padding was applied, including some cushioning material to help absorb all the shock and keep anything from applying constant pressure to the inside of the hoof. We discussed reasons for the total wearing away of the sole on GP's front feet for a long time. Obviously "being chestnut" or "having white feet" has nothing to do with these issues. Farrier also doesn't believe that simply being front feet is the issue either. Instead, he wondered if maybe a buildup of materials - like the balling up the indoor sand in his feet - could be causing the sole to be worn away and the constant pressure to bruise the sole and prevent growth.
This sort of makes sense to me. But for the amount that I picked out that horse's feet (2 to 3 times a day! Almost every time he was in turnout and when leaving his stall!), it just doesn't make sense. Sure, he might have a ball of indoor dirt left in there after a round of turnout while I was at work - but that was what? for a couple of hours? I don't know.
My concern is the possibility of slight amount of previous founder. With some forms of founder, especially a more minor type, the coffin bone can rotate some, allowing it to put pressure on the corium, cutting off blood supply to the sole, and inhibiting growth (source: here).
If this is happening, it's ultra scary due to the possibility of the sharp coffin bone possibly puncturing through the now softened sole. This is all hypothetical, but with the sluggish growth rate and constant foot pain, I can't help but wonder.
For now, the pads seem to be helping. During turn out time, Guinness is MUCH more active than usual, running around like a total fool. This might be due to his cabin fever and lack of riding, but I think it's also partially related to being pain free. The limping is GONE, though last night I did notice some soreness on him after some arena dirt packed in his hooves a little. Apparently that might be a problem even with the pads. Just something to keep my eyes on.
Riding is finally is on the horizon. Right now it's lots of walking, and walking, and walking. We are going to take things slow and condition up to optimum fitness. For now, 45 minutes of walking with 5 minutes of trotting at 30 minutes. We'll do this for a week (as boring as it is!) and revaluate. Then increase the trotting bit by bit till that's boring, then canter work! The hope is to be able to show at Majestic Farms at their February show.
Today is my last day at work. Until I find something new, I'll be volunteering at the art museum and pestering my horse. Hopefully that means you'll hear more from me!
I'll keep you posted!
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