Protect the Sole of the Hoof

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Q: After three months, my horse's foot is finally healing after  my vet pared infection from her coffin bone. Now that the hole has closed, what sort of shoeing should she have on her  front foot? I hesitate to use pads since I can't clean under them and have had no luck with silicone staying in. How long should we wait before shoeing to make sure the sole has healed enough to not bruise?  She is currently wearing a hospital plate. Thanks,

A: As a lifetime professional horseman and after being married to such an outstanding farrier as Geronimo for 11 years I believe I can help you. It sounds as if you like the idea of a pad to protect the sole but don't want to take chances with thrush and other infections growing under it--and rightly so. Geronimo disliked pads and so do I, although sometimes they are a necessary evil.
 
Geronimo and I just recently wrote an article for Anvil Magazine that describes in detail how to make a snap-in hospital pad. This pad allows the horse owner to remove the pad to clean or medicate under it and then replace it for continued sole protection.
 
The snap-in pad is relatively easy for a qualified farrier to construct when he has the directions.  I can either send you a copy of the article by snail-mail or post it to our web site for you to print out for the price of $15.00. 
 
Either way, good luck with your horse. She is lucky to have an owner willing to go through the trouble and expense of dealing with such a serious problem.
 
You also ask, "How long should we wait before shoeing to make sure the sole has healed enough to not bruise?" If she is wearing a hospital plate she must have shoes on now. Shoes will keep her a little bit off the ground and help avoid bruising from stones, etc., so I would want to keep her shod all along if she were mine. Generally speaking shoeing, when done properly, will not cause bruising.
 
After the pad is no longer needed I would think your farrier would want to go back to the horse's normal style of shoeing appropriate for the work she does. A wide web shoe would offer a bit of extra protection to the sole and he should be very careful that there is no sole pressure. The last thing your horse needs now is an abscess from bruising!
 
I hope this is of some help.
 
Respectfully,
 
Mrs. Mary Bayard
owner/trainer Dodge Creek Stables
The American Blacksmith
Oakland, Oregon 

mary@americanblacksmith.com 

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This entire web site is copyright protected.  1996-2001 Geronimo & Mary Bayard,  2001-2008 Mary Fitzpatrick
All rights reserved. Contact Mary for reproduction information & permission.