Then I got the quarters. Two horses that had lived on Florida sand their whole lives and barely, if ever, got their feet touched. For the first time ever, I was in charge of their foot care and I had a whole lot to learn.
Initially I opted against shoes for the sake of simplicity. Coriander didn't need them as he was only being ridden in a sand ring; and Gwen was terrified of having her feet handled. Other than that, I didn't really think about it much.
But after their trim in May, when Gwen's feet started self trimming and Coriander's feet starting developing holes one week after the farrier visited, I decided it was time to learn about hooves. After months of research I have decided to join the barefoot movement. My horses have never had shoes on and I'm going to try to keep it that way. It's healthier for their feet, it's better for their locomotion, and it's easier on my wallet and nerves (I don't even want to imagine what Gwen would be like getting shoes on).
There's an issue though- my horses feet are crap. Below I've put their front feet against an optimal wild horse hoof for comparison. Coriander is on the top, Gwen's are on the bottom (note that both quarters left fores are clubbed) (Oh yeah, and they need a trim. I'll get on that after they move). They look plain odd.
- They both have very thin walls, contracted heels and overactive bar growth. Gwen's aren't as bad- due to less stall confinement during the formative years?
- Their frogs are buried in the hoof because their heels are too long, they can't possibly function the way they should.
- Coriander's feet are longer than they are wide.
- Coriander's white line is stretched all the way around both feet, allowing lots of room for rocks to get in.
- Gwen's flare to the outside something awful.
- Fortunately for Gwen, she has enough sole to protect her internal structures, Coriander is not so lucky.