Monday, August 8, 2011

Depressed and Discouraged

I called our farrier today.  I'm seriously thinking about putting pads on Jackson's feet.

I'm drinking a margarita.  Sorry 'bout the typos.

Jackson is still off.  He's back on stall rest and bute and he's still off.  We have repeated the same three week cycle over and over since April.  It goes like this:

Jackson is lame - varying from slightly gimpy to seriously can't bear weight.  I put him on stall rest and bute. 

After a few days, he is walking ok.  I ride him at walk for 10 minutes and continue with stall rest.

I gradually add to our work in the arena until we are doing 20 minutes of trot work.  Continue stall rest.

I add 4 hours of turnout in the daytime when it is hot and he won't be tempted to run around. Continue adding to arena work.  One day of work, one day of rest. 

I work him 30+ minutes.  We canter and trot.  He works hard.  He is happy.  Me too.  8 hour daytime turnout.

I start doing his 10 minute walk warm up on the bridle path.

I add a once-per-week hacking around the block on bridle paths - sometimes he only makes it halfway before becoming ouchy.  If he makes it the whole way...

I am very happy and start dreaming about taking a lesson.  By this time, he has been sound for three weeks with progressively increased work and turnout.  So, I switch to night time turn out so he can be with the herd.

He loooooves his turnout.  He plays on the hard packed dry lot pasture.  He is lame again.

start over.  repeat and repeat and repeat.
get seriously depressed.

make a margarita.

I know that if we go with pads, he will forever be wearing pads.  But I'm also starting to become convinced that he will never be sound on the trail without them.  I don't want him to be just an arena horse even though dressage is my first and primary discipline/love.  Both Jackson and I also love to chill on the trail and go to trail trials and the beach. 

Farrier comes Friday.  Decisions, decisions.


  1. What about "Built up shoes?".....The shoe is thicker than the normal type, lifts more of the foot off the surface.
    A lady down the road from me has a regular issue with lameness in her TB. She has been at her wits end for the last 18 months. Finally got a new vet, changed the horses shoes to support ones, (no pads) just egg bar shoes on the rear hinds, she has had 3 months soundness so far? Just a thought, and I`m no expert at all!

  2. Tough situation. I hope the farrier can take you and Jackson in the right direction. Keep us posted...

  3. I had a horse that lived in pads. We would take them off for a couple of months during the winter. Over the years the couple of months turned into 5 or 6 months, but he needed to be in pads to work hard. Better than not being able to ride or keeping the horse in a stall.

  4. If pads will make him sound, I would do it. He would be so much happier with the other horses and you would not have to go through this over and over. Does he get stone bruises, or what is going on?

  5. My trail horse came up gimpy this summer after three happy barefoot years--pads were the ticket. He is fine now. I will try him again without pads after a few shoeings. I had a horse that I ran on pads for many working years. Once I quit riding him he was able to be barefoot as a pasture horse. He is thirty-one--been retired and barefoot for ten years--and quite sound. Pads can be a real godsend. I wouldn't be too afraid of them. The cycle you've been repeating is very frustrating and pads can sometimes provide a great answer.Often you can avoid bute, once the horse has pads. Pads do not always create issues, either. My old horse had no problems with thrush and his frogs stayed just fine. Bar shoes can work, too. I know just how discouraging it is to have your good horse constantly come up lame (and I love margaritas). Hope you find a solution that works for you.

  6. since jackson threw his shoe today, maybe he too has read the comments and it's his way of telling you he wants pads asap. maybe we should discuss this again over more margaritas.

  7. I know you can read this horse. Go with your gut.

  8. Poor horse, but I think you may be right. You need to do whatever makes him comfortable and allows you to continue to ride and enjoy your horse. Good luck.

  9. You could try something like the easyboot for trails. I don't know if they can be used with shoes on though. If he has shoes on I can't see his sole ever toughening up because it doesn't make contact with the ground . . . the sole needs to be stimulated to get tougher . . . did you try the salt water? Maybe you just need to keep him on soft surfaces until winter when the ground softens? Sorry you're having so many problems with him. Have you looked into supplements? Or deficiencies? Copper and Zinc deficiencies can cause major hoof problems. Don't give up yet. I'm sure there's an answer out there somewhere. Did you look at Pete Ramey's website? He has a bunch of good info on hooves. Good luck!


Thanks so much for commenting! I love the conversation.