Sore After Shoeing

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Q: Hi,
  My horse was shoed yesterday and today he seems reluctant to walk.  He uncommonly stopped walking while I led him to his stall from his turnout and it seemed to me that it hurt to take a step.  His hooves were warm but my trainer told me that I could still ride him and not to worry.  I took him for a half hour trail ride.  The one time I trotted him he seemed out of sync.  He walked a lot better on the way home, not so reluctant and when I got back I sprayed his feet with cold water.  After that his feet didn't feel so warm.  Is it ok that I rode him and is this common after being shod?  I would appreciate any information you have since I am a new horse owner.  Thanks,

A: Some horses do tend to be a little sore after being freshly shod. If the farrier is told of the problem before working on the horse he can usually avoid it. There are many things he can do to prevent this soreness. 

The main culprit causing after-shoeing tenderness is sole pressure from the shoe. All good shoeing jobs include concaving the bearing surface of the shoe to prevent this. With a horse known to be extra sensitive, however, the farrier should take extra pains to make sure the sole is pressure free. I have a mare that I call the Queen of Sole Pressure but even she can be comfortable right after shoeing as long as I make sure the farrier knows she is a real tender-foot.
 
Other common causes of soreness after shoeing include close nails, excessive hammering on a sensitive horse (especially one that has previously been foundered), improper clinching, trimming too short, etc.
 
Now that I have given you new things to worry about but no real answer, I will tell you that in your place I would immediately call my farrier and explain in some detail as you did in your question to me how the horse is moving. Many farriers will make a trip out the same day if possible to check the horse. All farriers know that they can occasionally cause a horse to be sore and as long as the owner isn't unreasonably accusatory they are willing and eager to do everything they can to check out the situation and rectify it if possible.
 
If the farrier isn't available right away and the trainer is not well acquainted with your horse's past reactions to shoeing I would want to have a veterinarian check out the horse. The symptoms you describe could be caused by the above relatively benign situations but they could also be telling you that your horse has more serious problems. The worst and most common one that comes to mind is laminitis. For your own education, regardless of the outcome of this particular soreness, I urge you to read all the Q&As on our web site, especially those having to do with founder & laminitis. Laminitis & Founder questions are listed separately from the other general questions on the Q&A Index at http://www.americanblacksmith.com/blacksmithstable/horseshoeing_questions-answers.htm .
 
As a trainer myself I can not imagine telling my client to trail ride a sore horse. If I knew the horse to be prone to getting sore after shoeing like I do with my Queen of Sole Pressure mare
  • I would tell the client to phone the farrier immediately.
  • If the farrier couldn't get out until the next day I would suggest giving the horse some Bute if the owner had some that the veterinarian had given him and instructed him as to usage.
  • I would have the owner treat all 4 of the horse's soles with Durasole or 7% iodine.
  • I would suggest confining the horse to a deeply bedded stall until the farrier could check him out.
  • If the soreness persisted or worsened I would want to have a vet eliminate the more serious possibilities such as laminitis.
Minor sole pressure and/or bruises can progress to major sole bruises, abscesses and even laminitis. This does not usually happen but it can. Riding causes concussion and can be the "final straw" that can cause a minor problem to become a serious one.
 
I hope this will give you some information to go on. I do not want to worry you needlessly but you obviously want to do the right thing for your horse. In order to do so you will need to know what is causing the soreness and deal with it appropriately. Please let me know how this problem works out.
 
Sincerely,
 
Mrs. Mary Bayard
 
Dodge Creek Stables
The American Blacksmith
Oakland, Oregon 
 
www.americanblacksmith.com
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.