The battle of bad feet

I feel like I'm a very proactive horse owner. Finn gets the best feed, lots of hay, very regular vet care, every vaccination, regular teeth floating, chiro, massage, and I supplement everything. So when this whole laminitis episode hit us this past summer it really hit me hard and made me so depressed. I felt like I had failed my horse. But really, my horse has terrible feet, and he always has. He has long toes, under run heels, crumbly feet, a left front hoof that doesn't match the other hooves (flat and pancake like), weak hooves that have a tough time holding shoes, and very thin soles.
       My farrier has done his best. We've tried all different sorts of shoeing techniques, all sorts of pads, all sorts of packing, I've used durasole, keratex, and every other hoof hardener/ointment on the market. I have him on SmartSox ($$$) and SmartCombo Ultra ($$$$), and no matter what I do his hooves still suck.
      When I moved my horse back to his old barn our farrier said he'd continue to shoe Finn, but that it would cost us practically double because it was so outside his current market. This made no sense as it would cost me nearly $1000 a month between just board and shoeing (Finn gets shod every 4 weeks), not even including his SmartPaks, lessons, or anything else. I've also been getting a little nervous with my current farrier as Finn's right front hoof has started to look more spread and pancake-like, and his right front has never had any issues. I started to think, even before my farrier said he really didn't want to go back to our old barn, that Finn's messed up hooves might be above his level of expertise.

So the search for a farrier began.....
    After reading a lot of reviews on local message boards and talking to a few vets I found a farrier. I emailed her (YES a woman farrier!! how cool!), and she got back to me right away. She wanted to see lots of pictures of Finn's hooves, his x-rays, wanted to talk to his vet, and our last farrier. I was so impressed with how thorough she was through email-- much more vet-like, than farrier-like. This is one of the emails I got from her
Thanks for the photos!  I think I can do a lot of work on his long toes.  I like the pad he is in BUT I think he needs more caudal support to get him comfortable.  Will you let me tweak things and use some supportive hoof packing to load the back of his foot and get the tension off the front dorsal wall?  We can do it over time but I think we can get him comfortable and supported. 

What is he getting for food/diet?
Are you riding him?
Does he get chiro or massage work?
Ill check my schedule and get him in this week.  :)  I'm looking at a EDSS or a PLR aluminum shoe system.  Reduce leverage off the toe and reduce tension off the flexor tendons and get pain reduced and a comfortable stride.  

Very cool. I'm nervous and excited to work with her. I have her coming out either this Saturday or sometime early next week. We are only 3 weeks into our current shoeing cycle, but Finn's toes are already growing over his shoes and there's lots of cracking. He's also been tripping, and just doesn't seem 110% comfortable. I'm hoping and praying that she can help him. Here are the pictures I sent to her (3 weeks into current shoeing cycle), hopefully I'll have some pictures to post tracking positive changes after she works with him!!


  1. Good luck with the new farrier! Very cool she's a woman and hopefully normal.

  2. Ditto Me. It is great when a farrier is forthcoming about their thoughts and ideas. And good job for researching so thoroughly. I have come through my farriers from my trainers normally.