When Otis was turned away after his MRI scan in June, which confirmed that his only issue is sidebone, I was told to put egg bar shoes on to support his heels and encourage his heels to grow down and out. This is supposed to reduce the pressure around the back of his foot, and in the sidebone area.
Dutifully I did so, removing his hinds in the process.
Below is a photo of his foot when the egg bar shoes went on.
Otis had these shoes on for two cycles, so twelve weeks, at which point he was no sounder so the vet recommended flip flop shoes – You can read about them here – and my farrier said “go barefoot” to which I readily agreed. It seemed like a logical step.
Here is a photo of when we took the egg bar shoes off and he was trimmed two months ago. Apologies for it not being a very good photo or one with a ruler that was promised to you (my farrier’s confession today is that he accidentally deleted them). Hopefully you can see how Otis’s heels are even more contracted after wearing the egg bar shoes, than before.
I was definitely disappointed in their appearance.
Today, Otis had his feet trimmed, and here is the photo.
Hopefully you can see the difference in the shape of them. They look rounder, with the heels coming down and out as opposed to down and in. This is only after eight weeks, so it will be interesting to see how they look in another two months time.
I know a lot of people are moving over to barefoot, and to be honest, after seeing the difference in Otis’s feet I am much more in favour of the barefoot lifestyle. Regardless of the physiological aspects, certain common sense benefits are to be had. One, it’s far cheaper to be barefoot. Two, there’s a far lower risk of injury from over-reaching, kicking between horses, stud injuries.
Phoenix is currently barefoot and I will aim to keep her barefoot as long as possible, and research alternative care methods if she does start to look sore. Here are a couple of photos of her feet. She’s not been trimmed for a while so has a little bit of splaying to their shape; I’ll get Christmas over with then sort it out, but I think her feet are of a good conformation with strong hooves so hopefully she’ll manage.
In terms of the physiology of hooves, how they function and the effect of shoes, this webpage (a little bit biased, but still with some clear explanations) is useful – Think Like A Horse
Another blog of interest is my friend’s about her horse’s transition to barefoot. Have a little peruse because it’s very enlightening. Below is the link to part one, but you should be able to continue looking through the rest of the story.