Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Bar and the muddy pen

Bar has the muddiest pen on the row, primarily because it's the lowest. Most of the year, it looks like it does in the picture above. But every winter, with the mud and goo, it becomes a struggle to keep shoes on the crappy Thoroughbred feet. Last year, Peter added mats and some gravel in front sloping down--as opposed to the steep, foot-high drop-off we used to have--so at least Bar could get out of the mud to eat.

Unfortunately, there needs to be much more done which the last two days of constant downpour has made painfully (and squishily) obvious. His shoe on his upright foot is still on (or was last night) but is only held on by the nails on the outside. Mike, our farrier, said to wait until it comes off completely so we hopefully have a little more foot to work with. The inside wall is pretty thrashed right now, so the nails don't have much to cling to and one, in fact is only clinging to the shoe.

People tell me to let him go barefoot, but it doesn't seem like a good option for him and his thin hooves as much as he gets worked. And not working him is NOT an option.

So I'll be talking to Peter about what to do with the pen, but nothing can happen until we start to dry out a little. That means coming up with some interim solution so Mike isn't out every other week trying to tack shoes on soggy feet. Definitely not a stall, possibly pasture, but the latter would mean supplementing his diet so he doesn't drop weight.

More on this later, along with pictures of the bog. Luckily, Bar also has a shelter in back so he can get up and out of the mud and, unlike some horses, actually does.

Really, it's all just a desire to tap back into my trail-building and erosion-control past and play with dirt, rocks, tools, and grading for proper drainage.


Buckskins Rule said...

Mud is the bane of horse and owners up here. We've got mats in the shelters now, and the front of the paddocks was filled with rock this past fall. It has a made an enormous difference in the footing, and gives the horses a dry place to stand when they so choose. More than a few lose shoes in the mud.

My gelding is half Thoroughbred, and his feet get soft this time of year too, and he becomes prone to abscess. I've resorted to pads between the hoof and shoe to keep him sound.

The Equus Ink said...

Poor Bar! I hear ya, I went through that two winters ago. TB feet and winter, particularly mud don't mix well at all. I'd be hesitant to think about going barefoot as you said some suggested. The typical TB foot is not set-up to be without shoes. Although barefoot is a great route to go for some horses, TB's just aren't usually able to go that direction and you could run into more problems without than shoes than with them.