adventures with the vet · Uncategorized

Much Ado About Nothing

Okay, not nothing. But relatively speaking – a nonissue.

When last we left our intrepid little mustang, he was pretty off in his RF after a recent shoeing.

So, after much back and forth with the farrier and the vet, we formed a plan and executed it.

The farrier pulled off Tristan’s shoes and looked closely. He had a couple of possible ideas for what it might be, some of which were eliminated pretty quickly. It wasn’t a bad nail or a thin sole. It didn’t seem to be anything related to the usual trouble spot – the scar tissue & bad growth from the old surgery/abscess.


What he did find, however, was some pretty extreme frog sensitivity. Not from thrush or contracted heels – the frogs looked pretty darn good, nicely broad, tough, and uninfected. Angles were all good.

See, when Tristan started his shoes, the farrier did pour-in packing and a pad with a triangle wedge of frog support. He was worried that a horse who had been used to barefoot for so long would need to mimic that ground contact as closely as possible in a shoe.

But now it looks like that frog support is too much – it was fine the first few cycles, but has turned up a problem in the last two.

We still kept our appointment with the vet to do x-rays…which turned out to be a bust, as her machine is on the fritz.


He did stand awfully adorably for the vet to keep trying to make the machine work, though! And don’t those blocks do great things for his topline?

Since he had the shoes pulled, and since he’d just had his feet trimmed, the farrier was worried about turnout without shoes. Not that he’d hurt – he trotted gorgeously sound for the vet, of course, all barefoot. But that he’d chip his foot and the farrier would have a hard time getting a shoe back on without any foot left to trim.


Enter baby’s first pair of boots! I know, I’ve had a (mostly) barefoot horse for over a decade and this is the first time I’ve booted him. (Except for the hospital boots after surgery, which I don’t think counts; those were more like fancy expensive bandages.)

The barn manager had these and thankfully she was willing to sort through her stash and find some that fit him, and her stash had a pair that fit him really, really well. Like, so well I’m thinking about buying a pair. (But mostly talking myself out of it because let’s be real he’s going back in shoes soon and I just don’t need them that much.)


Still, if anyone can ID them for me I’d be grateful. Just for future reference. Some kind of Easy Boot, but which one?

Anyway, long meandering story short, today I talked further with the vet and farrier both. Vet’s machine is still on the fritz, and farrier and I both want the shoes back on ASAP. The only view we can’t get with shoes on is navicular, and the vet feels very strongly that’s not what we’re looking at here. She tends to agree with the farrier that it’s frog pain from the pads.

So he’s getting his shoes on Wednesday sans frog support, and the vet will do lateral views of his feet when her machine gets fixed. Which will still provide helpful baseline information, no matter what.

And if he goes sound with the plain pad & packing, and stays sound, we have our answer.

Which, all in all, is actually a really damn good outcome here. It’s the cheapest, easiest solution that’s not actually a long-term issue. I’d rather it hadn’t resulted in two weeks off from work but let’s be real, I’m not exactly training for Rolex, here. He’s happy to hang out, I’m happy to groom and fuss over him, and when he gets his shoes back on we’ll see what there is to see.

9 thoughts on “Much Ado About Nothing

  1. I’ve seen Epics go on sale for stupid cheap quite often! If you know his size keep it in mind when perusing sales. I’ve seriously seen them for as little as $25-35/boot


  2. I hope it’s just a simple change needed! Phoenix has been picky about his feet in his older years in a pretty similar way. He’d be good for a period of time in the same set up then suddenly he’d be just a little off here or there in corners then a bit more off. We’d x-ray and not see much then make a small adjustment (like bring his toe back a little) and he’d be all better for another period of time. His issue is heel pain and although he was barefoot for several years after I got him back (post white line disease treatment) he has requested to keep his shoes after retirement. Natural balance shoes make all the difference for him. It’s been interesting learning just how much difference a tiny adjustment can make!


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