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Crappy Thoroughbred feet - any supplement recomendations?

(22 Posts)
HairyMuff Wed 20-May-09 19:32:25

Hi all,
I have a 9 year old Thoroughbred who throws his shoes off left right and centre.
Apart from Superglue anyone any tried and tested recommendations for getting them to stay on a bit better? He is having biotin in his feed at the moment. Have read about something called Keratex which gets mixed reviews.
Would cornucresine help at all do you think?

I've only had him 8 weeks, don't think his diet was that brilliant before I had him as he was underweight and out of condition.

Owls Thu 21-May-09 08:50:40

My old TB mare used to have shocking flat feet and couldn't hold her shoes. I used Biotin and Cornucrescine also fed Blue Chip. No longer than 5-6 weeks between the farrier visits (assuming she kept the shoes on that long).

tbh, I'm not really sure that anything helped long-term. Ocassionally the farrier used to say "what you been giving her as her feet are really good" then the next time they would be back to normal - brittle, poor growth and he'd sometimes struggle to find the best place to put the nails.

So to sum up, I'm not sure there is a cure-all for bad feet. Actually, just realised I haven't really helped much have I? grin

Another thought though, when she retired I left her shoes off altogether and just had her trimmed. Does he really need shoes? Depending on what you're doing with him of course.

alicecrail Thu 21-May-09 09:03:15

I feed my TB sharp nutrition pure grow 28. It is like blue chip, but i find it works better on him. I also add vegetable oil to his feed and apply to his feet during the summer which seems to help a lot. Your best bet is to have a decent farrier who has the interest of the horse as the most important thing. You may find you have set backs but i would go for the long term solution. Cornucresine is good, and if you have already got some then i would put it on everyday. Obviously grass is the best thing for your horse, so if you have access to decent grazing that would probably do the most good.
Good luck with him smile

alicecrail Thu 21-May-09 09:04:18

Oh, and i meant to add that we only put front shoes on him now

Nekabu Thu 21-May-09 17:37:48

How are his shoes coming off? Is he treading on them from behind and pulling them off? Or from the side, so he's standing on the inside of the shoe and pulling it off that way? Or are his feet not holding the nails and they're coming out? How many weeks does he go between shoeing?

If his feet are brittle then steer clear of Keratex as although it's great at hardening up feet/soles it isn't good to use on brittle feet as they don't need to be hardened up any more. Kevin Bacons hoof dressing (red pot) is good with dry feet.

Cornucrescine is a mild blister and increases blood flow to the area by irritating it. AFAIK it may help with hoof growth but it won't improve hoof quality.

AFAIK biotin on it's own won't do anything; it needs a couple of other things in order to 'work'. I've found this to be the best supplement for my TB's crappy feet and I've had him for donkey's years, so have had plenty of opportunity to test various things!

Do bear in mind that now you are giving your horse a good diet that his feet in a year's time may (fingers crossed!) be a hell of a lot better than they are now as it takes roughly a year for a hoof to grow, so this time next year you'll be looking at hoof that's grown since you've been feeding him.

HairyMuff Thu 21-May-09 23:02:22

Thanks so much everyone. I've only had him 7 weeks, he is on loan. He wasn't in too good condition when I got him but after only 7 weeks he's looking alot better - since I've had him I give him Baileys No 4 Top Line conditioning cubes, mollichaf, veg oil in feed and Top Spec senior feed balancer. He is living out on plenty of grass.

He had new shoes on when I had him yet 3 weeks later had pulled one off (not sure how he is doing it - but he does it in the field - lives out 24/7 and is quite calm in nature for a TB, doesn't tank about) so farrier came out. 2 weeks after that he had a full new set. 2 weeks after that he had pulled one front shoe and 2 back ones off! Farrier says his hoof isn't growng much so I was thinking of somethng to promote growth - like Biotin?

He is a dying swan without shoes and hobbles pitifully around until he has them back on so I can't envisage him going barefoot.

I will look into that stuff you recommend Nekabu - looks good. At the moment he's costing me a fortune in farriers bills so spending it on a supplement would be peanuts in comparison. Think I will try some cornucresine as well if it stimulates growth which is what he needs. Thanks for your advice as I didn't know that.

And lastly sorry for my ignorance but what is blue chip? is it worth a try do you think? Have come back to horse ownership after a 20 year break and everything has changed!

HairyMuff Thu 21-May-09 23:05:29

alice -can you tell me more about sharp nutrition pure grow 28 - never heard of that either! Is it a supplement or feed?

KingCanuteIAm Thu 21-May-09 23:14:47

Have you thought about using boots on him rather than shoes?

Using boots means a couple of things, 1 there are no nails going into the hooves so no holes to contribute to them crumbling, 2 when they get pulled off (which is not easy) they can just be put back on, 3 the farrier can concentrate on getting the hoof as good as possible without having to leave things correct for putting a shoe one (it can sometimes be a compromise for a farrier to get both).

Using boots allows the hoof to grow through and back to a more natural state whilst protecting the foot and hoof from tarmac, stones and so on.

Anyway, just an idea for you to think about! There is some information here or google them, there is loads of stuff out there about it!

alicecrail Fri 22-May-09 07:59:24

Pure grow 28 is basically the same as blue chip, which is a feed balancer. It is technically a supplement i suppose, it looks a bit like fish food pellets and during the winter mine have a cup in each feed every day (thats 2 feeds) and during the summer they have 1 cup with a handful of mollichaff. Blue chip is about £35 for a sack but lots of people swear by it. The pure grow was recomended by my feed merchant to go with another feed for weight gain. It costs £9 a sack and i find it actually works very well (i had mine on blue chip for about 8 months but found it didn't do a great deal)

There is also a cornucrescine especially for brittle feet. That may be worth a go.

Nekabu Fri 22-May-09 09:34:23

HairyMuff, biotin doesn't work on it's own, it needs a couple of other things (can't remember which) in with it to make it effective.

KingCanuteIAm's suggestion of boots is a good one too - I'm trying mine in them for a while (long story) and am using Cavallos. They are expensive (though not I guess when you think of a set of shoes or two) but seem very good.

In the meantime, I'd suggest over reach boots in front and a sausage boot behind. Hopefully that'll stop him hoicking them off and would also try Kevin Bacon's Hoof Dressing on them as it is good for brittle feet.

BTW, if you are at any stage perhaps thinking of buying him, please ensure you get a price set by the owner now (in writing) as it sounds like the horse you have taken on loan is likely to be worth a lot less than the horse you'll end up with after you've been feeding him and sorting out his feet! Having done that one myself (got a horse on loan, put a load of work in and promptly got charged for it in the increase in price by the owner!) I just wanted to say a word of warning!

Pixel Fri 22-May-09 18:43:15

I would say use Cornucresine but that's only because I just love the smell grin.

We used to put limestone flour in the feeds for strong feet, do people still do that?

HairyMuff Fri 22-May-09 22:42:56

Hey Pixel I'm loving the price of that Limsestone flour but have never heard of it. Wonder if it does much to help?

Pixel Fri 22-May-09 23:17:37

Well ours all lived to a ripe old age so it obviously didn't do them any harm and we never had a problem with any of their feet either so who knows? If I had a horse with bad feet now I think I'd probably try it, if nothing else it would end up with good bones and a Hollywood smile grin.

alicecrail Sat 23-May-09 07:07:07

pixel you're not the only one who likes the smell. I caught my friends little girl eating it!!

HairyMuff Mon 25-May-09 22:46:26

Love the thought of my new boy with a Hollywood smile grin. He already thinks he's one for the ladies.

Not thought about boots to be honest as I know nothing about them and don't know anyone that uses them. He really cannot cope at all without shoes on so wonder if he would struggle in boots. We have to do a lot of roadwork by us too.

Butkin Tue 26-May-09 12:15:26

Quite a few TBs I've known have used glue-on shoes and they work well for horses who can't take a nail.

Possibly not a long term solution but may be a good idea - particularly through the summer - until your better feeding regime pays benefits.

frostyfingers Tue 26-May-09 15:29:53

My TB had terrible feet when I first got him, he'd only go 4-5 weeks, and would always pull off his front shoes. Now, he's much better and for the last couple of years we've got to 8 weeks between shoeing.

1. Nekabu mentioned Kevin Bacon's hoof dressing - this is brill stuff, recommended to my sister for her TB and it's done the trick. Put it on every day, nice and thick. In winter you need to warm it up, and in summer keep it out of direct heat, but it's fab stuff.

2. I fed Biotin as well through the winter, although have stopped now.

3. When freshly shod, I put extra large overreach boots on the front when he was turned out so he couldn't pull them off, and proper size ones when riding. Again, don't do this anymore, as he doesn't seem to pull them off now (haven't lost a shoe for ages).

4. Most importantly - my farrier moved him on to Natural Balance shoes in front, they're a different shape, and don't have the toe clip at the front. Not sure how they make a difference, but they certainly do. They are, of course, more expensive, but certainly seem to do the trick. Your farrier should be aware of them, or have other helpful suggestions.

Whatever you do, the result won't be instant, but you should make good progress over 6 months or so.

Good luck

broguemum Thu 04-Jun-09 07:07:07

My TB had terrible feet and wouldn't keep shoes on. My farrier tried all sorts of solutions but in the end I switched to Boa boots. After a couple of years in Boa boots for road work / hacking and bare foot for school work and field we switched and are now entirely barefoot. It's great. Love the bare foot horse.

HairyMuff Fri 05-Jun-09 14:08:33

Thanks folks. Have been rubbing cornucresine into his feet (ever tried washing it off your hands, it sticks like glue!?) and he now has overeach boots on permanently. I am really interested in the possibility of boots and will do some research. So far so good with these shoes, he has had them on a whole 3 weeks ! wahoo!

Loshad Fri 05-Jun-09 23:01:31

I have to keep overreach boots on my Tb permanently as well - she has eggbars with a supra-expensive packing so major incentive to keep them on for 6 weeks! however now sound so not a bad result. Some folk swear by farriers formula, other folks horses won't eat it - horses eh wink

GothMummy Sat 27-Jun-09 23:29:34

If you are feeding Top Spec Senior you should not have to feed any other supplements (including limestone flour). Check with Top Spec before you do or you will unbalence what they have worked so hard to formulate ;)

Top Spec Senior may have their hoof supplement in already but check that out, they may suggest you change to their Top Spec Comprehensive which definately has got the foot supplement in, or I think the Top Spec Lite has the hoof supplement as has Top Spec Anti-Lam.

No, I dont work for Top Spec, just a big fan and their helpline is great ;)

If you have only had him for 7 weeks dont panic too much it takes at least 9 months to grow a new hoof so you wont see the results of your new feeding regime for almost a year!

If you decide to feed biotin then NAF Biotin hrefills are the cheapest - I think 11.90 for 2kgs, and it also contains methionine lysine and calcium and other things that apparently horses need to absorb biotin.

ohnelly Tue 15-Sep-09 21:21:49

try farriers formula, it is like a hoof oil you put on twice a day(inside and out). Our farrier swears by it and we used it for a tb gelding with crappy feet and they defo improved

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