Wednesday, June 7, 2017

gettin' high.... maintenance

Obviously a lot of things are new to me in the realm of horse ownership. A lot. Farriery actually isn't one of them tho. My lease agreement with Isabel for our four years together stipulated that I be responsible for managing her hoof care.

So while I'm no expert by any means - and have a LOT to learn about what makes a really fantastic hoof - I'm pretty familiar with the ins and outs of management. Or, uh, haha. I was with a nice hardy-hoofed, low maintenance creature like Iz. Haha. Hahaha.

vignette of horse and dog. and manure pile. 
We started Charlie on a 4 week cycle basically as soon as he came off the track. The most immediate need was Charlie's low heels (low to the point of actual lameness), but naturally the farrier has also been playing the long game in reshaping Charlie's feet entirely.

A few cycles ago, the big horse managed to even graduate to a 5 week cycle! But, alas, with summer and grass and fly stomping and the changeable ground... Well. We're back to 4 in kinda a big way. Charlie's poor feetsies kinda disintegrated overnight and he basically walked out of his shoes. Oops.

love that dopey face
Nbd tho. Farrier does our whole barn and is out a couple times a week anyway, so he was able to get Charlie back in working order pretty quickly. He had already tossed around the idea of adding rim pads to Charlie's fronts, and we decided to go for it.

Like I said, I don't know an awful lot about high maintenance feet - but I try to surround myself with professionals whose judgement and ideas I trust. So I was happy to give the green light for farrier to be creative in doing what needs done for Charlie's tootsies.

leather rim pads. which like... sounds like a thing that could garner strange google search hits. 
Luckily I even managed to get there in time to watch him shoe the horse (he's usually there during week days and my barn mgrs facilitate the entire process of scheduling and payment and everything - super convenient!). So he kinda gave me a working tour of Charlie's unshod hoof - pointing out areas where he's been able to create positive change (heels!), and areas that are a little problematic (the hoof bars, apparently).

Furthermore, he was able to help me better visualize Charlie's angles - for instance, how his frog aligns with the entire hoof capsule. The general shape and topography of the hoof, and where there tends to be more flare. And the health of each of the structures - frogs and sole are actually in pretty good shape, tho the sole is quite flat. But Charlie lacks hoof wall.

inner edge of the shoe is filed way back from the leather pad itself 
So his prescription is leather rim pads that extend further in on Charlie's sole than the shoe itself. The pads are about 1/2" thick and are intended to provide more clearance between Charlie's sole and the ground, among other things.

Farrier also encouraged me to be more diligent in my keratex applications (something I've kinda gotten complacent about since the horse has been more reliably sound) - and said to pay particular attention to the area of Charlie's hoof wall around the nails. He said the keratex will keep the wall strong but flexible, to reduce chipping, flaking and crumbling.

put shoe on horse. with whatever hoof wall you can find. 
He was also pretty sparing with the nail holes - basically putting in as few nails as possible to keep the shoe on for four weeks while also avoiding unnecessary invasion into the hoof wall.

Basically his general sense is that Charlie's got a lot of good things going in his feet, but that we definitely need to stay on top of his management and care. Trying to stay in front of problems vs waiting for them to get really bad and then having nothing really to work with.

is this the horsey equivalent of boat shoes? also... note those cookie crumbly hoof walls...
So we shall see how it goes. I half-joked to the farrier that I always promised myself I wouldn't get a 'high maintenance' horse and he sorta shrugged and was like, 'well you got a giant TB so..... yea.'

It's cool tho. It's horses, ya know? There's always some sort of trade off or sacrifice. I knew I wanted an ottb. And then I knew I needed Charlie. And.... I'm keeping him haha. So his feet will get what they need for him to thrive. In the meantime tho I'm creating a new blog label for farriery haha bc I somehow suspect this will be a recurring topic in the life and times of Charlie Murray.

what better way to celebrate expensive new footwear than to take it out in the somewhat ridiculously technical trails! first we gotta get across campus tho - note the tennis courts in top right corner haha
It made me think on a slightly wider, more general topic tho. About all the little (and not so little) things we do to keep our horses happy. Or to keep ourselves happy by feeling like we're doing our best by our horses.

Like all those supplements. You can say what you want about the science. And about expensive manure. I'll do some research. I'll look around and try to take advantage of the judgement and wisdom of the professionals involved in my riding and in Charlie's care... but, at the end of the day I'm fairly confident in saying that it's likely any horse of mine will always be on some assortment of supplements. Just.... kinda because, ya know?

skeptical pony is skeptical. goes well in the circus bridle tho!!!
Or like, body work and massage and chiro and acupuncture and whatever else happens to be available from a practitioner who comes recommended. Like, actually it's entirely possible that Charlie's getting a chiro/acupuncture treatment right at this very moment as you read these words (his appt is midday lol).

Do I know for a fact if body work actually makes a difference in the horse? Is it a lasting and meaningful difference or is it more about making owners feel better? Honestly? I know where I stand on my opinions there.... and it's on the side of keeping my horse in regular body work.

pictured: slightly-too-technical trails, but not too bad
But like, all these things ultimately constitute "maintenance," right? And like, that shit adds up haha! Obvi I don't have to tell you that... Somehow tho, I find ways to rationalize the care I think my horse needs. It's like one of those laws of horsemanship or something - that the expense of your horse's care will naturally expand to fit the budget dedicated to it. lol....

I'm curious tho - do you have areas in your horse's care and maintenance that are kinda getting into the 'splurge' zone? Or maybe there's something about his or her management that has taken more attention than you expected - like a chronic injury or physiological issue, or maybe his hooves too?

I feel like at a certain point, every horse has something, ya know? Like I always had to be careful with Isabel's gastric health -- and with Charlie I'll just always need to stay on top of his feet.

Or are you zealous in putting the kibbosh on any unnecessary expense in your horse's care? Maybe skeptical of anything new or pricey that comes recommended to you without you going off and doing your own full due diligence in research?

51 comments:

  1. Ugh. One word. STIFLE. Before that, fetlocks. And before that, shit feet and weak ass soles. And always, RANDOM PASTURE ACCIDENTS. Speaking of supplements, the only one I've ever seen a use for was Farrier's Formula. That shit helped work the miracle turn around on Pig's feet. Really seemed to fill in whatever holes were in his diet at the time to support his foot growth.

    Honestly, though. Outside of the random $$$ vet care, the horse is truly low maintenance. He'll live in any field, he's my trainer, and I do his feet myself. My usual monthly cost for him is typically only board (though this month is board + xrays, because fucking pasture accident). It's pretty awesome, but wasn't always that way.

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    1. ugh damn those pasture accidents tho. Pig certainly seems to be king of them! my horse will take his shoes off in pasture but reserves his "accidents" for stall time. weaving for the loss, boo.... also tho i've seen really good things with farriers formula too. brita swears it was the difference maker for wick.

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  2. hmm i spend a lot (in my mind) considering my horse is a freaking foundation Quarter Horse. LOL. He only gets shod on his front but he is shod year round and he has had a quarter crack since I got him that due to my farrier's good work and our diligence, never has gone away but has gotten smaller and more manageable. We had to even patch it at one time. My farrier is one of the more expensive in the area but I do not skimp on this stuff. Plus he absolutely loves Remus and treats him so well, he will go and get him out of his stall himself, put him on crossties and do him and I don't even have to be there if I don't want to. (I trust him completely).
    Remus has only thrown a shoe once or twice since I have had him and his feet are FANTASTIC NOW (barring the crack). And for a QH who has tiny feet he now has good angles and good hoof walls etc. (I know i don't spend anything compared to those who do four shoes but I still gasp every month when i write out the bill for his shoes and feet!).

    Otherwise Remus is on Smart Digest and a multi vitamin due to the low volume of grain he actually gets (Seriously my morning coffee cup is bigger!). (is it working who knows but I feel better having him on it). So i guess he really is low maintenance.

    The one thing I would like to splurge on but have only done a few times is body work on Remus. I would like to have him done a couple times a year as he gets older as he really responded the time i did it before (When he was at Emily's barn it was easier getting professionals to do stuff to your horse) :)

    Great blog post as usual...and I am sure Charlie's feet will continue to improve! Just think you really have not had him THAT long at all....

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    1. gah those quarter cracks are so persistent tho! brita's horse bella has this seemingly permanent crack in her hoof too - not a quarter crack but it also never goes away. so curious... doesn't seem to bother her tho! also re: body work, the 'couple times a year' thing seemed to work pretty well for isabel. she was on period of every 3 months for a little while, but otherwise could do every 6 months. charlie gets more frequent massage (i freakin adore our practitioner) but for chiro he's getting his second appt now about six months after the first. we'll see what she says!

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  3. I am always about cutting out unnecessary costs so we can do more fun things but what is unnessecary to me may not be the same as for you. :) I've seen some body workers do miracles and I've had some leave and not notice even the smallest change. Same with supplements. Same with shoes and saddle fittings and basically everything to do with horse maintenance! Lol. My dogs are so much easier.

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    1. totally agreed on the 'would rather pay for things like lessons and shows!' thing haha! for that reason i'm pretty aggressively economical about things like equipment, tack and apparel. the leather police would be appalled at the quality of some of my stuff. but c'est la vie, we all define 'value' differently! and agreed that not all body work and not all supplements are created equal

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  4. Charlie's feet sound like Irish's. I wish I had a better farrier when he was younger- maybe we could have avoided the problems now. But who knows?

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    1. yea i mean, that's the million dollar question, right? like, what's that thing they say? i feel like it has an actual name, but is super common among horse ownership and treatment. where we might aggressively treat an issue and that issue improves so we credit the treatment, when maybe 80% of the time it would have improved on its own anyway? idk. it's a balancing act i guess

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  5. Neat! I love being able to chat with professionals as they work, asking all the "why & how" questions. It'll be interesting to see if the rim pads work to add the little touch of clearance he seems to need! When I adopted Dino, he was barefoot, an easy keeper, and supposedly completely sound and healthy. Several years and medical diagnoses later, he's got shoes in front, is on $$$ Prascend daily to manage his Cushing's, eats $$$ fancy high fat, low starch feed, is on a muscle recovery supplement to manage tying-up, and a Cushing's supplement because... it makes me feel better. He gets Pentosan every few weeks to manage his aging joints, and regular body work that has seriously been miraculous in helping him continue to perform and develop muscle in his senior years. So, my "low-maintenance" $25 pony turned into the exact opposite. But because of those pricy management choices, he's very happy and VERY healthy!

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    1. frankly i remain pretty much forever impressed with your management of Dino. you and austen both actually have managed to keep horses thriving who might otherwise struggle in their care. props!

      and totally agreed on really liking to get the inside scoop from professionals as they work. sometimes i wonder if i'm being annoying by asking for pictures and stuff, but i'm genuinely curious. most professionals seem to take a lot of pride in their work and enjoy showing it off tho, so it works out haha. i gotta get my learnin on somehow!

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  6. I have a vet whose advice I solidly trust who comes out every other month as part of her wellness plan. She knows I work in the veterinary field so I get treated as an equal: she'll list pros and cons, new research vs old research. And so, if she tells me my horses need something, it gets done. And if there is anything I can do to help with their health on my end, I do it. I don't scrimp on the quality of feed they receive (I have always, always purchased my own, even when barns have offered grain as part of their board cost), they do get oral supplements (I swear by SmartMare Harmony for Lily. She was a spastic nightmare when in heat prior, and it seriously calmed her down), Gracie gets injectable joint supps (Chondroprotec: it's generic Adequan) and her hocks are currently maintained with joint injections once a year. Gracie's joints were definitely an unexpected problem that we've had to maintain. I trim both mares' feet myself and sometimes use the barn farrier (he does an excellent job with barefoot hooves); for competition I bring in an endurance farrier that drives 3 hours to come to us to place steel shoes on both mares all the way around that will stay on over the toughest terrain this side of the country has to offer. That's my splurge $$$.

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    1. yea i mean. i'm a big believer in doing what it takes to keep the horse thriving especially as we gear them up for demanding and challenging competitions and training. so like, it's a 'splurge' with very real value, imo. also i love the idea of a 'wellness plan.' in some ways i get my fix from my collection of coaches, all of whom are happy to play an active role in discussing charlie and his care from a very holistic point of view (even if they only see him when i ship in for lessons). it's so incredibly helpful to get input and insights from those trusted professionals!

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  7. The only reason I can afford to keep so many horses (even at home, haha) is that mine are all fairly low maintenance. I get on and off the supplement bus depending on what's going on with them (like right now Ruby is on an ulcer supp cause I saw some weirdness that concerned me). The mares are on organic raspberry leaves year round cause they're cheap and I have had success with them helping even out some of the "marishness". When my horses are in hard work (so not now, and not really for the last year, lol), I'm a lot more apt to add regular bodywork to the rotation to make sure they're staying as comfortable as possible. When I had a mare with some navicular issues, I didn't hesitate to shell out for whatever the vet recommended (well, minus the $5K MRI) -- she had special shoeing and some supplements and BOT wraps and ended up coming back and staying sound as a dollar as long as I kept up with all the maintenance.

    However I do think I would have significantly different bills if I had different horses!

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    1. that's always the way, right? and i definitely agree with the whole 'maintenance is commensurate with current work load' idea too. when i stopped actively training with isabel, i also stopped refilling her supp orders and stopped with the body work too. bc.... fat easy keepin' pasture puffs don't really need all that. but esp with charlie just starting a new job and physically needing to majorly adapt from one career to the next, i'm trying to avoid any situation where a physical impediment might sour him to the work. esp bc yea... TBs. not very hardy!

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  8. Henny is on a perpetual 5 week cycle. He's the king of growing only toe, so if he goes one day over that he's got skis for feet. I've just submitted to the high maintenance lifestyle.

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    1. yup, basically. my farrier essentially has carte blanche do to what needs done.

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  9. Those shoes and pads are interesting. Gem has been barefoot most of the time I've had her so my knowledge in various shoes is limited. I'm jealous of your access to a great farrier. I can't find one worth their salt down here.

    I like to keep things as simple as possible. If the horse needs it and it shows a positive response, I am all for spending money on it. She works hard for me. However I won't do something just to do it if that makes sense. There needs to be a diagnosis and a distinct reason for the care.

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    1. yea i definitely hear ya on not doing things just for the sake of doing things. i try to keep a similar perspective, tho it's been really interesting to observe how even my own justifications and rationalizations for care have shifted and adapted over time with the horses. like, my "distinct reasons" can be wildly different depending on the situation, cost, and course of action lol

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  10. Oh man. My last horse Joey, I don't even want to calculate how much I spent on keratex and farriers formula. Suffice it to say my farrier had us giving Joey double the loading dose for about 6 months. He also was given ranitidine near daily (I dissolved it in those applesauce cups overnight). Yeah poor Joey also had a monthly massage. Poor kid was very high maintenance. Phoebe also came to me in pretty bad shape so she's also on the constant massage and chiro rotation. Her feet seem to be in nice shape, though she has the typical tb platters up front her hood wall is good quality. Except for her tiny problem of throwing massive amounts of shoes in a short time (we are going on week two since being shod and no thrown shoes yet!!!). Idk the farriery stuff isn't so much a splurge as a necessary part of being a good owner. The massage and chiro?? Idk I certainly have seen massive changes in Phoebe for the better but would she have made those changes on her own over time? It's hard to say...

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    1. aw poor Joey. it's such a tough transition on these guys from the track to a new job. so so so hard. that's great tho that Phoebe's feet seem so much better! it's definitely nice to have at least one thing that isn't too bad when so many other things need work too.

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  11. I'm 100% on board for shelling out for extras as long as I think they're worth it. Thus, I try to start with the cheap stuff (no supplements, no special shoeing, etc) and then change it up as I see a need.

    Unfortunately, there's been a hell of a lot of a need lately.

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    1. ugh yea. agreed completely. i'm also a big proponent of trying (when possible) to only change one factor at a time. it's easy when something goes wrong to feel like, zomg must throw all the things in the pot and stir like crazy! but... at least barring any immediate critical need, i try to just tweak and adjust, tweak and adjust, in such a way that it's reasonably easy to see what's making a difference and what's kinda just... not. horses be so needy tho!

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  12. I'm fortunate that Quest has solid feet that I can maintain for the most part and hoof boots have worked flawlessly (so far) when we need more aggressive protection on the trails. This is my biggest for cost savings. When it comes to spending extra, the major cost has been horse insurance which I guess I could technically do without. It (unfortunately) ended up being well worth the investment less than a month after I joined so I've been reluctant to cancel...With horses, you just never know.

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    1. ugh yea insurance is an entire subject unto itself. like you say, you just never know.... also i love those sturdy arabian feet. isabel wore front shoes but i tend to think that most jumping horses do better with a little extra support. she had great feet too tho!

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  13. Once upon a time I think my horse was relatively low maintenance. I don't remember those days though. Now I'm just like, "Oh, you're going to cost $1k this month? Seems about right." ALL THE PROBLEMS ALL AT ONCE.

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    1. i'm like 99.7% positive that horses always find a way to make up for lost time. like, 'oh you thought you were getting a deal? getting off easy?? hahaha just you wait and see!'

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  14. Feel free to throw virtual horse poo balls at me, but I do nothing. Free-choice hay living in pasture 27/7, a scoop of complete feed once a day so I feel like I am doing something, never had shoes and none of the current three have had any sort of body work. They are just fat, happy, easy keepers.

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    1. ha i think that's awesome tho! and sometimes i legitimately wonder how much of that is self fulfilling vs actual necessity, ya know? like, how much of the support i give to my horses is from a truly demanding need, vs me thinking it'd be nice to do?

      izzy lived out 24/7 with free choice hay, a daily scoop of ration balancer, and just front shoes when i met her. to my knowledge, she continues that way to this very day. while we were working hard at training and competing tho? she bumped up to twice daily feedings of something much more substantial, added alfalfa, various supplements, gastric support... etc etc etc. and still occasionally did not thrive. so idk. maybe it's all changeable anyway.

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  15. I'm all for the rim pads for extra support while new hoof grows in! Scout was in them for the first two cycles and gave him some much needed support so he wasn't walking on legos barefoot (as I like to think of it) -- as far as splurge items, I like supplements for certain things. For hoof care definitely... Farrier's Formula (and I've seen it really work, ahem Riley), I just added Cocosoya for skin and hair as he tends to be a little fungus-y. I also use Farrier's Oil as often as I can to help the outer structure of his hoof walls. I'm definitely on the less is more side of things regarding specialty treatment, but I'm willing to try anything to keep my horse happy and sound:)

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    1. i haven't noticed much difference with charlie's usual bucket-o-fungus status by adding cocosoya, but he's super shiny and soft!!! hopefully you like it too!

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    2. Yea, not a big change on the fungus on my end either (though I started using Zephyr's fungus spray on his cannons) -- but man did he get slick and shiny!

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  16. Carlos had expensive manicures as we got to the end there - its great having a horse professional who will actually life a foot and show you the what and whys of what they are doing and why it will help and what the next steps are. My old farrier was like that and I loved it. He also would entertain any research I had read and would actually discuss why or why not we should consider new things. We would actually rotate a couple cycles back and forth between side and toe clips because that shit can eat away at their feet as much as anything. Sounds like you got a good one (farrier that is)

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    1. definitely agreed in appreciating professionals who can explain their methods and reasoning and whatnot with me. i'm always pretty eager to learn more! also interesting about cycling around where the clips are.... the clips are definitely right up on charlie's problem area, tho isabel's feet never had similar issues with clips. so strange, these unique individuals.

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  17. I trust my vet and do whatever she recommends. I really struggle though with the fact that body workers, farriers, equine dentists, saddle fitters etc. are not well regulated and don't have standardized training. I think some of these people are awesome, but others will absolutely tell you that your horse needs x, y and z whether or not that is accurate. I've been burned a couple times in the past so I am wary to start, and try and listen as much as possible to what my horse is telling me rather than what someone else is saying. I also try and do my own research from reputable sources.
    When it comes to feet I am very lucky, Kachina has great feet and does well barefoot with a 7-8 week trimming cycle. If she needed more I would absolutely do more, but I pray she doesn't need shoes because my trimmer is a barefoot trimmer and I would need to haul a two hour round trip to get to the nearest farrier I trust.
    I'm currently experimenting with body work and supplements and my judgement is still out on those.

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    1. ugh it's definitely frustrating when a 'professional' has their own agenda, or somehow has the same prescription for every single horse. we used a saddle fitter like that, and it took me a while to figure out just how wrong she was. she put every single horse in a narrow tree, every horse. no matter what. she had all these reasons and explanations and whatnot that made sense and sounded good.... but now my former mare has permanent scar tissue so... yea.

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  18. I'm pretty lucky - Amber is pretty low maintenance. She gets tender front feet after shoeing, and sometimes her hind feet crack pretty badly, so 4 shoes always but she never loses a shoe. I do all of her massages myself - it works really well that a certified equine massage therapist taught me so I can spot check Amber whenever I need to. But she does get quite a few supplements, and I am super willing to "splurge" on that since she has had an injury. And now that she's gotten an injection, I'm fully prepared for that. Anything to help her be comfortable and sound. But thankfully, she doesn't cost me too much else in the $$$ department! I just like to treat myself to things and then tell her "look at what I just bought you!" and she just stares at me like "srsly...." lol

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    1. gotta love it when they only need a little here or there! nice that you can do your own massage too. i spend a lot of time grooming and trying to work the muscles, and we do carrot stretches and whatnot... but i never really feel like it's the same.

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  19. Farrier's Formula is the way forwards! Worked miracles for us! Basse's 'thing' will always be his back and his hooves (lol, not much!) and Vallu's will always be his shitty ligaments and tendons in his legs, so lots to worry about and lots to keep on top of!

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    1. ugh yea soft tissue susceptibility definitely scares me too!! charlie has some old stuff but i'm banking on the fact that he stayed sound on it racing so he'll probably be fine for my purposes.... theoretically

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  20. Archie, just in general, has turned into a greater pain in the ass than I ever anticipated. Fancy shoes, fancy injectibles, fancy supplements. The pleasure of keeping him comfortable outweighs the cost, though.

    Whiskey, on the other hand, is an easy keeper with no shoes. But I immediately put him on electrolytes and the ColiCare program, because neurotic. I'll actually probably start Keratexing his bare feet, too... until I succumb to an oral supplement and finally front shoes.

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    1. definitely agreed on the pleasure of keeping the horse outweighing the expense!! that's basically my exact philosophy. also i kinda appreciate how you're already seeing down the road with how things will eventually go with Whiskey. cuz that's kinda always the way, right? they never really seem to stay the same for very long...

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  21. I'm pretty happy not having to do expensive foot maintenance. Mustangs generally have hardy feet and mules too. Unfortunately, Eugene has decided he'd like weekly Chiropractic appointments, which really isn't in our budget.

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    1. yea certain breeds definitely have it better in the hoof department - arab Izzy was the same way! alas my heart wanted an ottb... even with the accompanying crap feet.

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  22. After Murray retired from the track he went and lived on a ranch in Oregon for almost two years, totally barefoot, cracking around with some haflinger pals and cows. And I credit a lot of his foot strength to that time, because he got to walk a lot on his soles and develop well-shaped feet on his own moving up and down hills and over varied surfaces. I think it makes managing his feet now MUCH easier.

    Anyway, I tend to err on the side of low-maintenance, but I'm willing to pony up if I have good evidence that it will work. I'm a little interested in exploring some more massage/acupuncture for pony this year. Murray hasn't really responded well to massage in the past, because he doesn't like feeling good, but it would be very interesting to see if we can use some massage and acupuncture to help him feel good!

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    1. ha part of me thinks charlie would do perfectly well kicked out into a field and ignored for a little while. actually many horses (tho omg definitely not all) would. as it is, charlie's been so sheltered and coddled his whole life. as evidenced by his wimpy immune system, sensitive skin, and fragile sense of delicacy. charlie would DEFINITELY feel the pea under 50 mattresses!

      anyway tho good luck with helping murray to decide that feeling good is actually kinda a good thing! i like watching my horses get acupuncture a lot, actually. it's very interesting!

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  23. Annie is the only one of mine currently in shoes and unfortunately her feet don't seem to be capable of holding up without. She actually had gel pads for a bit because of some sole issues we were having. She was on a 4 week schedule and now it has been more like 5/6. I am sure it will go back here and there but I am really happy with the farrier we use.

    I have tried to kick back a lot of the supplements I used to feed and now Annie is the only one of my horses getting a supplement and she only gets TriAmino (Uckele) and electrolytes. So far I haven't noticed a difference for Houston and with Luna she will only get what she needs to be a happy healthy baby right now.

    Splurge wise massage has been the biggest one for me lately. Need to book one for Annie soon actually! Hope the rim pads help Sir Charlie.

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    1. yea charlie wouldn't be able to go without his shoes either, i don't think. like mayyyyyybe his hinds, maybe. but def not the fronts. at least he doesn't manage to take his shoes off quite like Annie can tho! also re: massage i definitely really like keeping charlie on a pretty frequent schedule - actually almost monthly. he's still got so much to work through from track life, it really helps him

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  24. "I feel like at a certain point, every horse has something, ya know?"
    Haha. Hahahaha! I have Arwen. Arwen wins. The only difficulty we ever had was in finding a saddle that would fit on her majestic roundness.
    Honestly, if I could, I would have every type of bodywork conceivable done on mine as often as possible. I can always feel the difference after a chiro session, whether it's mine or a horse's. Unfortunately, money is a thing. So we do regular maintenance in terms of dentist, saddle fitter and chiro, but probably not as regular as is ideal for horses of their workload.
    There are two things we never ever skimp on. One is feed and the other is feet. No hoof no horse and all that. I try and save on other things - like supplements; I've neve found one, except one joint formula, that makes an active difference in what I'm seeing. That said, Magic is on about a thousand of them. Just because, well, you know.

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  25. I approach Fiction's health the same way I approach my own health - would I fix it if I was experiencing the problem? This helps me pick and choose what to spend money on. Like right now the soles of his front feet are causing him soreness, so he gets pour pads. He has similar feet to Charlie, and I've found a lot of farriers dismiss horses with thin walls and thin soles as problem horses. I finally got a farrier who really understands the Thoroughbred and has no qualms with nailing some nails in deeper. This has led to much healthier feet with a lot less cracking. Unfortunately, I'll be losing this farrier in two months, so I need to talk to the new farrier about following a similar method.

    I only do basic supplements - joint & stomach - when possible. However, Fiction does experience seasonal allergies, so right now he's on even more supplements to combat them.

    As for chiro and massage - those are on hold right now. I understand their importance, but when it comes to hoof health and respiratory health, chiro/massage take a backseat. I simply can't afford everything together.

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  26. I really like looooow maintenance which is why I have 4 horse with fly sensitivities or allergies! Haha.

    This would make a good blog post but I definitely believe there's nothing wrong with supplements. I take them and feel better and I see results in my horses when I get them theirs.

    Some things I think are a little excessive. Like giving Ben Cosequin instead of just going with MSM & Chondroitin.
    Other things I find are absolutely necessary, like Probios for all or flax seed oil and allergy therapy for Aria.

    Feet are super important to me so I actually use a guy who works with vets to correct hoof and leg problems even though I keep my guys barefoot at the moment and don't really need specialty work. He's monitoring Catalina's legs though and that's really important to me as she grows.

    I'm all on board the body work train though. I don't do any of it for myself but if my horses are going to pack my ass around, they're going to get a little extra. Chrio if needed and I'm looking into someone who can do massage.

    I try to be logical when doing the 'extra' stuff and if I'd do it for myself or if I actually do it myself then I think it's important that they get the same care because they obviously work way harder than we do! haha.

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  27. Mae had those super flat OTTB hooves and we were all nervous that they'd be awful, etc etc. Turns out it was the ulcers which we didn't see coming at all. We have her on Farrier's Formula, which has accelerated her hoof growth and the farrier says to keep her on it for a few more months. Otherwise, her feet have been looking better and better and fingers' crossed, no typical OTTB hoof problems!

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