Today, I had a glimpse of the light at the end of this long dark tunnel of my horse’s hoof recovery. We’re still a long ways from having four new hooves under him, but we are making progress. It’s been eight weeks since his shoes were pulled and five or six weeks since I started treating for thrush.
Beau is as sick of the White Lightning soaks as I am (a lot of work and standing around), but I’ve been able to spread out the soaking days to two days a week thanks to using the powder No Thrush on the non-soaking days. That lightens the burden a little. Having his dry-run footing actually dry out has helped a lot too. I couldn’t make it out to him yesterday, but his hooves were treated with WL Monday. He had a touch of thrush starting in the heels of his collateral grooves today, but no coughing since Sunday. That gives me hope, since it would seem the fungus/yeast wasn’t in his system. In other words, his soles and frogs are growing out enough that the start of thrush doesn’t get into his system, or at least didn’t this time.
This is a HUGE relief for me. All my diligence and dedication is paying off, albeit very slowly.
At least we can work again. I have to credit Cavallo Sport Boots for helping us in that. While Beau’s feet are recovering from three years in shoes, he gets very sore-footed on sand. With the pastern wraps and pads, the “horse Nike’s” as I like to call them, let him move comfortably. And movement is key to getting the blood flowing in his feet so they can recover more quickly. I didn’t think the thin pad made a difference, but when I tried the boots without the pads today, I saw the difference. He might not have had anything on his feet. Once I put the pads back in, he took a few tentative steps before completely relaxing and moving freely.
I love these horse boots! They’re easy to put on and allow my boy to move even better than with metal shoes. The only problem with any hoof boot is the chafing. Luckily, Cavallo also makes a pastern wrap. Granted, they are tight the first few times, but they stretch and are cleverly made with a red strip of velco that actually folds over and fastens onto the boot velcro at the front (behind the overlapping pieces over the front of the boots). They also have to be pulled down over the full heel bulb in the back to stay down. It took me a couple times using them to figure out the latter, but they make a huge difference in preventing any chafing.
And here are the pads, which are one size with lines on one side to cut to the Simple Boot sizes and on the other side for the Sport Boot sizes:
You can buy all these at most online retailers of tack and horse products, and even at Amazon. I’ve only linked to the actual Cavallo (manufacturer) site because they have far more information there.
I’m sharing this for anyone else who might be making the transition from shoes to barefoot or who might simply want the opinion of someone who has tried them. I read the reviews online, but there weren’t many. Some complained about the pastern wraps being too small. They’re not. They’re stretchy to be snug. Order them at the recommended sizes. And to get the right sized boots, use the Cavallo measurement guide, not just any ruler or tape measure (like I did). You can get one by contacting Cavallo.
I ordered directly from Cavallo, which shipped free to me by FedEx. I received them in 3-4 business days.
The boots and all might seem expensive up front, but I’ve read reviews that stated that they’ve lasted 18-24 months with 3-4 days of work in them. At that length of time, that more than pays off what the cost of metal shoe resets every six weeks would be. And this way, my horse goes barefoot.
In the last eight weeks, Beau’s hooves have grown about 3/4 inch at the front. That little bit of new hoof already has a steeper angle. The farriers had been taking off more and more toe to bring back his breakover point. Next summer, his hoof is going to reform its own breakover where it should be. I don’t doubt that. His heels are also growing more downward. They were going underrun. His heels opened up within the first few weeks, but they continue to open even more. I’m excited to see his feet reshaping to where they should be. This has all been a major lesson in hoof knowledge for me and will continue to be from this point forward.
I have to remain diligent on the thrush, but today for the first time, I felt like all the work was finally paying off. It took a load off my shoulders and lifted me up to continue the fight. Once his hooves are sufficiently grown, the thrush won’t have so many places to hide. I’ll continue to occasionally soak his hooves in WL and/or treat with No Thrush for the rest of his life as he needs it. From this point, however, I can finally see a time when we won’t have to treat his hooves every single day. As long as I pick them out carefully and thoroughly, clean them as best as I can, my boy can live his life free of pain in his feet. For now, I’m praying for a couple more weeks of dry weather to allow his hooves to grow more before any constant battle with thrush hits again.
ps–I call the Cavallo Sport Boots “horse Nike’s” because when he has them on, Beau looks like he’s wearing something like our own running shoes, and the design on them makes me think of the Nike swoosh.