Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Barefoot Day Four

I haven't been updating Lilly's barefoot adventure as much as I'd like because I've been so preoccupied with AJ, but he finally seems to be back to his normal self. He ate dinner with gusto, his manure is back to normal, and his feet aren't hot or showing any signs of laminitis. I'm so glad we caught it in time!

This post will be a progress report for Lilly since her shoes were pulled and then I'll be all caught up!

Saturday: Her shoes were pulled, she was lightly trimmed and then turned out without her boots. She didn't show any obvious signs of discomfort when walking but we could tell her right front was bothering her for some reason.

Sunday: The BO called to let me know that Lilly was really sore and she gave her some bute with breakfast. I went over to the barn, put her boots on, complete with pads, and walked her into the barn for pictures. She was markedly better with the boots but she was still quite ouchy when I walked her across the gravel to get her into the barn. I took some pictures of her feet so I had to take the boots on and off a couple times and she was very resistant when I needed her to pick up her feet. It also became glaringly obvious how important it is for barefoot horses to keep moving when I took her out of the cross ties and walked her back out to the pasture. She was VERY sore when she first started walking, but was walking better and better the more steps she took. I turned her back out in the boots and she got more bute with dinner.

Monday: Lilly received some more bute with breakfast and was still wearing the boots. When I got to the barn I noticed she was standing in the corner of the pasture snoozing. I remember thinking, "Nooooo, you can't stop moving! Wake up!" When she saw me, though, she came walking over and she didn't walk gimpy at all. I was surprised! I took her boots off in the pasture so I could clean them and decided not to put them back on. This time Lilly was more than happy to pick up her feet so I could remove the boots. Quite a bit of progress in just 24 hours! I went back over Monday night and put her boots back on because she still seemed a little uncomfortable without them. I also changed her pads today to the white ones. Except for the dose of bute I gave her, she was a very happy girl.

A happy barefoot pony!
Today: She didn't receive any bute this morning and I don't think she'll need any other doses. I try not to give bute any more than I have to, so hopefully she's over that hump. I wanted to take some more pictures of her feet and when I walked her across the gravel going into the barn, she walked across it like it was nothing. She was wearing her boots, of course, but it's still progress and I was definitely glad to see that! After I took the pictures, I turned her out with the boots on.

Here are the pictures I took of her feet today.

Left Front Hoof

Right Front Hoof

(I need to change my aperture a bit so I get a better depth of field for next time... oops!)

The plan for tomorrow is to take the boots off after breakfast and see how she does in the pasture without them. I think I'm seeing a little bit of rubbing with the right front foot, so I want to give her feet a break from the boots.

Oh yeah, and a random observance I find interesting is how the pads in Lilly's boots are wearing. The toe part of the pad is MUSHED and the heel part of the pad is still quite squishy. I take that to mean she's still walking on her toes, but I hope that changes soon. Once the boots are off I'll just have to try and watch how she walks since I won't have the pads to tell me.


  1. You might want to check out this site - it's a performance horse/barefoot rehab site in the UK which I find very interesting and informative - lots of good pictures and learning:


  2. Right on. Progress is progress. I don't think many of us would be able to take our shoes off and walk happily away barefoot either. But it doesn't take long to get that blood flowing and I'm sure the bute helped take the edge off of any inflammation. I hadn't used the stuff in years because so many people were prone to over-using it, but it sure helped Moon when his back spasmed. I'm guessing if I would have had the good chiro work on him in the first place, we wouldn't have run into soreness the second time around.

    I wonder if Lilly was a bit sore on the right side because of the shoe issue? I suspect that once she was dropped to level again, it probably pulled on her muscles/tendons/bones. Horses are amazingly able to adapt to a variety of malfunctions. Give them a little time and they adapt right back.

  3. Glad to hear that AJ is doing well!

    Also glad to see Lilly managing her new-found barefootness. ;) I think I can already see her heels starting to decontract!

    I know with Key, it's a work in progress to get him to land heel first. He hasn't for so long. My trimmer came out for his second trim and saw some toe-bruising, so we're going to go through the boot-route too. Don't be discouraged--she probably won't immediately start using her heels, because they're so under developed still.

  4. Another one, also from the UK - both these sites make it clear it takes quite a while for the hoof to adapt to barefoot and for change to take place in the hoof capsule.


  5. i'm in the piedmont - do you think your trimmer travels this far? Or can you share contact info with me so that I could ask him for some local recommendations on a trimmer? really considering going totally barefoot for Wilby! :)


  6. Yay for progress! It looks like there are minute changes so far - she's definitely loading the RF differently already (less weight on the inside). It'll be so great to see more updates!