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Lameness After Shoeing

Lameness After Shoeing

Elaine Sutton
• Friday, 05 March, 2021
• 14 min read

Q: If my horse goes lame immediately after being shod, should I call the farrier back, or get the vet? These decisions are based on experience, the knowledge of the horse we are working on at the time and the understanding of the techniques we are applying.

florida practice farrier servicing multi
(Source: isohorse.com)


Checking that there are no obvious injuries, cuts of swellings elsewhere could reduce the level of embarrassment when the farrier rushes back only to point out that the horse has had his leg in the fence! Whilst good farriers have a huge understanding of the hoof, vets have a comprehensive knowledge of the overall horse.

In this case, your farrier may be a good person to identify the problem and make some suggestions. The vet may think that it is a good idea to let the farrier have a look first too but may want to visit and give a diagnosis or check the current tetanus status of your horse.

Your clients should be aware of all the possibilities as to why their horse is hurting before they assume it’s the farrier’s fault Lameness Questions Note: Please be aware that over time it is possible some links on this page may become invalid.

He is not lame at the walk, and he stands normally with his weight evenly distributed. He will stand quietly on the lame leg when I pick up the opposite foot.

Could this be a stone bruise (there are quite a few rocks in the paddock#41;, or the result of a kick from my other horse higher up? A: Just based on your description of him being sound when he arrived and then going lame after trotting around your paddock, I’d have to agree that it is possible that he managed to bruise himself on a stray stone.

farrier jacksonville fl duval county florida miles
(Source: www.newhorse.com)

If you think it could be a stone bruise, you may wish to protect the sole with a pad (leather, plastic, cardboard) or even better would be a slip-one boot such as an Easy boot. So, unfortunately, the answer to your questions is the non-definitive “maybe” to either a stone bruise or an injury related to a kick or strain.

If you have access to hoof testers, then it should be a simple matter to determine if a bruise to the sole is the cause. Your farrier should be able to help you determine if it is a sole bruise and your vet should be able to locate the problem if it is not.

Q:17 year horse laid around 3 weeks after 3 months is up and walking can he be speeded to recover. Founder is a very serious event and the horse will need plenty of time to recover.

A couple of factors affecting the length of time it takes for him to recover include his overall physical condition and how much damage he incurred as a result of the founder event. You may wish to discuss this with your vet and farrier, as together they should be able to assist you in setting a recovery schedule for getting your horse back on its feet.

A: The first thing I would suggest is to make a quick but thorough examination of the horse and particularly any affected feet to be sure there are no signs of a fresh injury such as a puncture to the sole or frog. As in any situation where a horse comes up lame, speed is of the essence in diagnosing and treating the problem in order to allow the horse to heal and relive it of the pain associated with the lameness.

navicular horse disease syndrome horses equine treatment heel hooves wedges above lameness farriery hoof foot treating henderson cole been pressure
(Source: horsejournals.com)

A: Since this problem precedes your becoming the new owner, my first suggestion would be to discuss this with the people who sold you the horse. It would be nice to know when the problem first occurred and what steps, if any, were taken in attempting to correct the situation.

Horses wearing shoes on their front feet only is a very common thing and I would find it hard to believe that this is causing the problem. If the farrier determines that her feet are fine, then I would call the vet and have the horse examined to see if there is any physical ailment causing her to behave this way.

You say that, “I do not think the horse is doing it intentionally though, it may be off balance.” If by this you mean that her feet are not trimmed correctly, then the farrier should take care of this. If, on the other hand, what you are dealing with is a conformation problem, then again, the farrier may be able to help alleviate the situation.

An examination of her early training may provide the clues needed to unravel this mystery. If the horse exhibits no obvious signs of injury or lameness, and is pleasant to be around otherwise, then I would think that with the help of your farrier and vet you should be able to determine what is causing her to behave this way.

If it is practical, you might ask the previous owner for the name of his/her farrier, so you can find out how the horse was being set up. Once trimming/ shoeing problems have been ruled out, then there are any number of possible causes for a horse to stumble.

horse laminitis heaves thehorse horses prognosis stall sheds vs barn stalls run head survivor depends manage worst him true medicine
(Source: thehorse.com)

A lack of motion in the joints of the lower limb due to a physical problem i.e. arthritis for example. Possible heel soreness caused by the onset of Particular lameness.

Once you have been able to determine the reason for the stumbling, then you and your farrier should be able to develop a hoof care plan to get your horse back on its feet. I’m sure you understand that without actually examining your horse that it is impossible for me to state for certain what is happening, but from your description of the events, this is where I would begin my search.

Additionally, whenever a horse is reluctant to put a foot squarely on the ground, it is possible that the problem may extend beyond a simple bruise. In certain cases, simple thumb pressure to a tender sole is enough to establish the location of an abscess.

A simple test with hoof testers should provide an idea as to the severity of the injury as well as helping to determine how the healing is progressing. I would suggest that the time it takes for a bruise to fully heal would be measured in week (s) rather than days.

One should always carefully inspect the site of the bruise in order to determine if in fact there has not been a puncture or crack in the sole that will allow an infection to become established. Frequently, a bruise will lead to an abscess that may cause a lameness that seems to be getting better, only to start to become worse again as the infection spreads under the sole.

hoof shape equine soundness effect does feet si
(Source: barefoothoofcare.net)

I would suggest having someone examine your horse’s hoof at the earliest opportunity to be sure that an abscess is not causing her problem. While I don’t wish to be an alarmist, I do think that anytime a horse begins to get worse, then immediate action needs to be taken.

Of course, it could be a case of simply going back to work too soon and not allowing enough time for the bruise to heal, which your vet or farrier should be able to discern. Additionally, with the appearance of swelling and heat in the leg, I would suggest having your farrier and/or vet take a look to confirm your diagnosis and to determine if the injury is confined just to the sole.

Depending on the results of their examination of the foot, your farrier may want to consult with your vet in order to come up with a treatment that will take into consideration the swelling and heat that have accompanied the injury to the sole. One reason to have your farrier examine the hoof is to be sure that if the sole has been punctured or cracked, that this issue will be addressed.

Along this same train of thought, you will need to be alert for possible abscesses that may form as a result of the bruising. The range of treatment for a sole bruise is largely dependent on the severity of the injury.

More serious cases may require shoes and/or pads in order to make the horse more comfortable while allowing the bruise to heal. Rest is going to be a big part of any treatment program involving a bruised sole.

ringbone horse foot piece case nailed california left lameness lateral breakover keeps directions move base onto finished package hoof
(Source: hoofcare.blogspot.com)

Hopefully, they will confirm your diagnosis and tell you that all you have to deal with is a stone bruise that can be treated with a pad or shoe (if the horse is not shod) and offer a course of action to deal with the swelling and heat that will get your horse back on solid footing in the shortest possible time. Wasn't there for the trim, but next day horse was extremely sore at the trot in soft arena.

I looked at his feet and noticed deep in center of frog that ran between heel bulbs. Thought maybe he had thrush in there that caused more lameness now since farrier had obviously lowered heels and frog was getting better ground contact.

So I started Epsom salt soaks and applied thrush buster to area. Then turned him out in dry hard paddock and next day very lame right front at trot.

It is very possible for an improperly trimmed hoof(too long heels for example) to result in lameness. If a hoof is not trimmed correctly, as it grows out, the imbalance will often become more pronounced, with lameness being the result.

Plus, I’m sure you can see the advantages in being able to tell a new farrier exactly what it takes to keep your horse sound as well as knowing what settings have been tried that may not have produced the desired results. Is simple to use, but whether you use it or make up one of your own, the important thing is for you to know what it takes to trim your horse to a balanced state.

meet drost dr team grass valley natalie
(Source: www.brmobilevet.com)

If your farrier does not measure the toe lengths with a rule of some sort and does not use a hoof gauge ($17.00) to record the hoof angle, then ask them for an alternative method that will allow you to be sure the feet are being trimmed the same way each time and that will allow you to tell another farrier how to duplicate the results. If your horse was only slightly off on the right fore before trimming, then it should not be extremely sore immediately afterwards.

Any of those three conditions has the potential to cause serious lameness problems and can be easily avoided. I assume the second farrier also checked the other foot in the pair to be sure that it was fitted properly with the correct size shoe.

Now, if the heel has been trimmed too short, it is possible the bulbs are going to become bruised if their condition is not taken into account when the horse is being shod. If the heels were trimmed too short, there is a good chance that the horse will feel the effects in the tendons of that leg as they will become sore from being over stressed due to the improper hoof angle.

Usually, if a horse has been trimmed a little too short, the effects tend to disappear within a few days as soon as the hoof and sole have grown out enough provide the necessary protection. I hope I’ve been able to offer some assistance in your quest to resolve your horse’s lameness problems.

A: A horse with String halt will usually show pretty specific symptoms, which although they may be erratic, are fairly easy to recognize. From your statement, I assume that you have been able to find reading material that covers the basics of this problem.

corn horse hoof heel sire cheltenham jump sporty horseshoes beyond race festival go problem
(Source: hoofcare.blogspot.com)

If, after your research and your farrier’s diagnosis you were to seriously suspect your horse of being affected by string halt, the first thing would be to have it examined by a knowledgeable veterinarian. Some folks have a real aversion to handling the hind feet and consequently you can end up with a horse that has no idea what you are trying to do.

Another possibility is that she may have had a bad experience with someone who mistreated her or was rough with her when trying to get her to lift her hind feet, or even something like her falling down during a session, and now she is scared to death when you ask her for her foot. One thing to consider when purchasing any horse no matter how young or old, is to insist seeing someone pick up all four feet just so you know it can be done.

It has been my experience that barring an injury or medical condition, poor hoof handling characteristics are most often the result of unsatisfactory human performance which can range from ignorance to abuse through the lack of patience. Laying down on you is one way a horse will passively try to avoid doing what you ask, which while preferable to a swift kick in the shins, still leaves you with having to find a way around the problem.

I do not advocate this method as a replacement to sound training, but simply as an example of what one farrier did to work within a horse’s capabilities in order to get the job done. If your horse shows any signs of being afraid when you try to lift her hind feet, I would think that a “bad experience” may be the reason for her reluctance.

Additionally, try to keep some separation between you and her body (if only a fraction of an inch) so that she cannot feel like she has something to lean on for support. The work is hard enough without having to hold up an extra thousand pounds at the same time.

barefoot journey right front shoes
(Source: justequus.wordpress.com)

If you find yourself at the end of your rope, you might want to see if you can locate a farrier or trainer that enjoys working with horses that have problems of this nature. A: I’m going to assume the main focus of the question is about “quitter” and its relationship to the other parts of the leg/hoof structure.

The condition may be the result of a puncture wound that has become infected, chronic abscesses of the sole or persistent interfering. Quitter is characterized by necrosis of the affected cartilage and sinus drainage through the coronary band.

Also, the site itself is worth noting for the variety of information available on related equine subjects. Please feel free to contact me if you have additional questions concerning this matter.

Q: but because his front hooves were badly cracked, my blacksmith trimmed his feet back too far to reset his shoes. His heels are badly bruised and one of his front feet is growing out much flatter than the other.

I also noticed a small horizontal crack towards the back of one of his hooves that appears to have bled. In your case you have a lame horse plus, you are unable to reset the shoes which is what it sounds like was your first choice, although maybe the feet were cracked so badly as to make that impossible.

The bruised heels and one foot growing out “much flatter” than the other leads me to wonder if your horse’s feet are seriously out of balance. If this were my horse, I would determine the proper hoof lengths and hoof angles necessary to bring his feet back into a balanced state and then use whatever is necessary to bring its feet back to where they belong.

Your farrier may use another method other than lengths and angles, but the important thing here is to get the horse back standing on its feet in the proper manner. Your situation may require pads for protection, wedge pads for compensating for the loss of heel, a slip-on boot to provide protection for the sole, heels and bulbs or any combination that will get your horse back on its feet.

Anytime is too long, but three weeks and the effects you are seeing would lead me to think that your horse is suffering from more than being trimmed just a little too short. If there were no other factors involved, then all signs point to the need to get the horse back to a balanced state.

My suggestion would be to locate a farrier with experience in the treatment of lame horses because what you are seeing in just three weeks is only an indicator of worse things to come if the situation is not corrected. Most likely it is the result of an event that has passed and unless it begins to bleed or change dramatically, will grow out without causing any problems.

I have posted a set of line drawings that show what the average horse’s feet should look like after being trimmed. Q: He was run in a barrel race after being off for 3 years, moved from pasture to rocky ground and now has shoes on for the first time.

If the problem is a simple muscle strain and/or bruised feet, then resting the horse and following the advice of your vet should allow him to heal with no long term adverse effects. Of course, this all depends on the severity of the injury and that can only be determined by an onsite visit from your vet and/or farrier, which you have done and for that, your horse will thank you.

Horses get bruised feet, and they pull muscles quite often and most recover from these injuries if they are allowed to heal. Your vet and farrier should explain the type and degree of seriousness of the injury you are dealing with and give you a prognosis for your horse’s recovery.

They can also help you develop a plan to get your horse back into top working condition. It is hard to predict exactly how long a bruised sole or pulled muscle will take to heal.

These types of injury should get better with rest and if they don’t, then you need to find out why and adjust your treatment accordingly. Hopefully, his injuries are not that severe and with your care and attention, he will be back to normal in good time.

It becomes a problem when it is allowed to pack into the foot and remain there long enough for the bacteria to begin to attack the hoof. While is usually associated with unkempt barns or unclean living conditions, thrush can appear just about anywhere.

All it takes is for a piece of bedding, wood chip, shaving, rock or stick to become lodged in the hoof with the bacteria laden material underneath and if the conditions are right, thrush may become a problem. The easiest way to prevent thrush is to clean your horse’s feet with a hoof pick on a regular basis.

Not only will this help prevent the problem, it will alert you to its presence before it becomes something more than just a minor inconvenience. These websites are also worth noting for the wealth of information they provide on most things concerning horses.

Thrush can be a real problem for a horse and yours must surely be happy to have been rescued from the environment you described. Here are a few links to some interesting articles on thrush that will most likely only serve to reinforce your personal knowledge base while offering a few suggestions you might find helpful.

One thing I would advise would be to delay, until you have cleared up the problem, before applying full pads to the horse’s feet, if that were part of you hoof care program. Excessive trimming of the frog for appearance’s sake is not necessary and may prove detrimental to the horse’s health.

A: The type, location and specific parts of the anatomy involved in the injury will each have a definite impact in the formulation of a plan, including horseshoes, necessary for the recovery of your horse. It is important to consult with your veterinarian and farrier in order to determine exactly what the best course of action will be regarding any suspected suspensory injury.

If there is no obvious sign of an injury anywhere on the horse, I would begin a closer inspection of each leg and hoof. If, and only if you are comfortable handling your horse’s legs and feet, pick each one up checking for bumps or swelling of the leg, punctures to the sole and/or frog as well as for any foreign objects such as a nail that the horse may have stepped on.

Often a nail or splinter is driven deep into the frog or sole itself and then covered with mud, manure or bedding and is not easily detected. If you just start digging in with the pick, you may disturb the nail causing the horse to react violently to the sudden pain.

If you find an injury requiring the services of your vet, then schedule an appointment as soon as possible. If you do not find anything out of the ordinary and/or the lameness appears to originate in the hoof or hooves, then by all means call the farrier.

Under no circumstances should trim a horse to the point of lameness be considered quality hoof care. Regular trimming of a horse’s feet are a normal part of a lifelong hoof care program.

Q: when I went to take my pony out of her stall, I noticed she had extreme weakness in her front legs and was very reluctant to move. Anytime a horse is unable to stand and is exhibiting behavior as you describe, then my first recommendation would be to consult with your vet and farrier.

While waiting for your vet to arrive, I would suggest checking the soles of her feet for puncture wounds, abscesses or any other severe trauma (a nail or sliver of wood or wire) to the bottom of her feet. I would check for evidence that she may have been kicked or possibly collided with an object in the pasture or stall.

I’m sorry that I am unable to be more specific, but as I said earlier, without being there and actually seeing the horse and being able to discuss the situation with you onsite, I would recommend a visit from the vet.

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