I may have mentioned before that it's been raining here. A LOT. We've had 8 inches of rain this month, historical averages for the month of April here is 3 inches. You can imagine that it's a tad muddy out there.
There was a brief dry period at the end of March/beginning of April when Coriander's hooves starting building a callus while growing in a little extra sole to fill in some of his winter concavity.
I think I need a quick aside here: Concavity in hooves is terrain dependent. Hooves that live and work in soft footing (like deep snow) will have greater concavity than hooves that live and work on hard footing (like rock). Pete Ramey has a nice article that explains it better here: "One Foot For All Seasons."
Back to Coriander: I was just beginning to get excited about the change in his concavity when the sky opened up and dumped all that rain on us for a month. The firm ground he had been walking on turned into mush and has stayed that way. Suddenly Coriander was all ouchy when we walked on the driveway.
Does thrush have something to do with this? Probably. But I think the bigger problem is all that water softened up his soles. Do you know what it feels like when you're in water long enough for your feet to get all pruny and then try to walk around on rough ground? It hurts because your feet got all soft. That's exactly what's happening to my horses right now.
While trimming his feet last weekend a chunk of sole peeled right out from under his toe, it was the callus that he'd made in the few days it dried out had coming off. I thought, "well crap, now we have to build that up again." But it's not going to happen until we stop getting rained on.
Considering that, I've got two options: Boot him or leave him be. Since we only ride on the driveway from about 50 yards per ride and then spend the rest of the time slogging through muddy trails or riding in a muddy arena, I've decided to leave him be. Sure he's a little sore going out, but I just let him go slow and pick his own way; once we're off the driveway he's perfectly fine. When we're on the way back I just dismount when we get to the driveway and then walk back to the barn with him.
I'm hoping this post will help some of you barefoot owners out there who might be dealing with the same thing right now. When you are committed to keeping your horse barefoot you need to pay attention to changing weather conditions and how hooves might adapt. It's not a good thing, it's not a bad thing- it just is the way it is.
PS- I am very disappointed in American news right now. I cannot fathom why they are giving as much, if not more, news coverage to a WEDDING on a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT CONTINENT than they are giving to the TORNADOES that have devastated OUR OWN COUNTRY. For shame!