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Remy

Losing The Frog

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I have a boarder who decided they wanted to transition to barefoot. I informed them that it takes months (possibly a full year) to get to the point where the horse is comfortable without shoes. This includes supplements and diet , etc. After about 5 months the horse developed an abcess in the hoof. The owner panicked, called in the vet and a farrier. The vet and farrier treated and the farrier has no concept of a barefoot trim. The owner decided he wanted the farrier to do the hoof care and I have totally been in my "hands off" mode ever since as have the syces.

Today the syce for that particular horse called me to look at the hoof that had previously had the hoof abcess. To my horror, you could lift the tip of the frog and almost the whole frog would lift away. I immediately called the owner and informed him and he said he would get in touch with the farrier and vet. He promised to keep me apprised of the situation. I have never seen this before and am wondering what would cause it. BTW the supposedly "barefoot" trim that this farrier is doing is not a barefoot trim at all as there doesn't seem to be anyone in Malaysia who knows about the barefoot movement. However all of the other horses in the stable are barefoot and we have been learning as we go along. Right now we have some pretty good, sound, healthy feet after about 18 months transition. Thanks to all you hoof people on HC and to Pete Ramey and his website and books.

So what's the cause and what is to be done about it? I am not involved in the care but I sure would like to know the consequences, etc. Thanks for any information you can offer on the subject.

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No I am not sure. I have never seen anything like this before. The whole frog lifts from the V point to almost the heel and you can see underneath. If this is a natural shedding of the frog, wouldn't it be in small pieces and strips?

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I'd have to see the trim to really know what is going on.

Abscesses are a real set back and you'd think that the trim and care done properly that the hoof would be over this hump by this time. The hoof was not ready for the ground it was walking on...it got bruised and abscessed. Lost time, pain, weight loss, big hole blown out that has to grow out to be gone from the abscess, time and hard work draining it, caring for it...all the time...no forward movement with transition. A hefty setback...that's what abscesses are. I hate them and always trim conservatively and safely trying to avoid them. If you coax the hoof and keep it comfortable, it will come forward in transition much faster and without incident. Trim too aggressively and you have abscesses and something else the hoof has to heal as well. Sometimes the hoof has to abscess to heel the inner foot and is part of the healing.

Where was the abscess? Do you think it could have blown out the frog? If the abscess was in a different place, then I suspect thrush, which always accompanies a pathological hoof. Frogs are not supposed to shed at all. A lot of people think that the shedding of the frog in spring is a natural occurrence, but I don't agree. Ask yourself...why would the frog peel off its callous and leave a new smaller, tender frog behind that no longer reaches the ground...right when the ground is about to get harder and that horse needs that frog built and strong worse than ever?

The horse needs that frog to be prominent and strong for a heel first landing. If its all tattered looking, then its thrush. Thrush is good at hiding. It can eat away inside the frog and when complete, the top layer will shed off. It looks sudden and upsetting, but actually, its been brewing under there for some time. Now that that outer layer is gone, you've got a new frog surface that is smaller, not calloused, but a good opportunity with a new surface and no thrush to hide under there. Treat for thrush. If the horse is sore, pad the frog for protection and stimulation to get it built up again. You must have a heel first landing. The horse must be comfortable enough to land heel first. Without it...you get nowhere.

As for waiting for a year or longer, that's pretty discouraging words to deliver to a client, who wants to go riding on a comfortable horse. Firstly, when the hoof is 1/2 transitioned, the horse will think he's got rock crushing feet, even before he actually does. Second, if you can put boots on with pads, it cuts the transition time down to 1-6 months. Big difference! More encouraging. Better commitment from the owner.

As for this owner, I have a feeling that there is not complete respect for your ability and loyalty to you to give you this horse to heal. Somebody else is being called in and doing this hoof. For all your help, you are not in charge. Its a very frustrating and heartbreaking position to be in. My advice is to walk away. If you get involved, then the farrier comes in and completely wipes out your efforts in one visit...well, don't go there. Concentrate on the horses in your barn. Lead by example with co-operation from those owners. Somebody will see it, hear about it and come to you...ready to listen...ready to respect...ready to be loyal to you, believe in you and let you do the job and get it done and most importantly...do as they are told with your advice with diet and movement. Its hard to walk away, but much harder to endure such a situation.

Demand respect. Demand commitment. If you don't get it from the owner, they are just making you look bad for all your effort. Stay on the positive side. Keep learning. Let the feets in your barn speak for themselves and those who care will be coming to find you with that commitment and respect. [bat Eyelashes]

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Thanks missyclare. Your last paragraph sums it up for me. This owner is a first time owner and listens to the last person he speaks to. It has been a totally frustrating experience. I recommended that he buy boots to help with the transition but he wouldn't because of the expense. Now he is paying the farrier and vet.!!! I know the farrier well as he used to do my horses' feet until I decided to go barefoot after watching him make a hoof bleed. He (the farrier) is well known for his exorbitant prices and as he is now doing the trim on this horse in question, it is obvious he knows next to nothing about barefoot trimming.

I have figuratively walked away from this process and the BO would like nothing better than to see this horse leave her premises. But she has left it up to me. I am presently at the point though where the frustration has me ready to agree. The remaining horses have great feet. We have learned a lot and we are still learning but each time we trim it gets better. Hopefully we can convince a few in Malaysia to go the proper barefoot way!

Thanks again for all your help, past and present.

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I was just going to say that frogs do not shed, but Missy beat me to it.

My trimmer told me that people think the frogs are shedding in the spring, when in reality, there is probably thrush and the frog is shredding from the thrush eating away at it.

I wish you lots of luck, Remy. That poor horse.

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Wow. I guess you learn something new everyday. I've always believed that frogs shed, but then again it's something my farrier is firm about too.... Better try to make that a "was firm about too".

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Had to add this.....Yesterday I was at the stable when the farrier came to take care of the trim on this particular horse. I was in time to see him putting a hot shoe against the sole and letting the sole scorch. He didn't shoe but did this to all four hooves.

What is that about? This farrier is not one of my favorite people and we have little discussion so I didn't feel comfortable asking him. Missyclare??????? Anyone???????

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He didn't put it on? I replied to your other thread about scorching and it actually being a method of "hot shoeing". I didn't realize you said he scorched the sole. I have never seen or heard of a farrier doing this so I have no idea.

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It iwas once believed to relieve pressure underneath the surface. The farrier may be trying to regain some concavity lost with the "Un-Barefoot" trim. That's the only thing I can think of.

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My heart goes out to that horse. I took a look at his feet yesterday after the farrier left. The bars on the feet are huge. There is no beveling of the hoof or concavity at all. The hoof wall is rasped off higher than the sole and you can see the laminae (sp) at the tip. I am biting my tongue until it bleeds. Meanwhile all of the horses who are being trimmed by us (myself and the syces) have great looking feet. This includes a previously laminitic horse with a nasty quarter crack which has never healed. It's no good my trying to point this out to the farrier. I am a woman in a Muslim country and I don't know squat.

I believe that this owner will probably tell the farrier that he no longer needs him and he will expect us to start trimming the hooves again. I am planning to refuse as it is too heart breaking to watch the destruction of a hoof that we spent months on.

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I really don't blame you for walking away. So many times you say do this this and this, then we'll do this and that. You let them know it's going to take time. They get fed up with the added cost, the time it takes to do what needs doing, they give up, and go back to what wasn't working in the first place. If you don't have the time and can't commit to what needs doing, then quit wasting my time.

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