I need to talk about the hind hooves first, because they influenced recent changes we made to the fronts. Forgive me, there's some history to go through before we get to the comparisons!
At the beginning of summer, Eli was struggling with his stifles. He has struggled with toe catching behind ever since we put hind shoes on him last fall, but it started getting a lot worse once we started working outside on the harder outdoor arena. He started catching the toe more often and harder, wrenching the stifle in the process. I know his stifles turn out and he'd prefer not to track straight, but it's been getting better. I did my due diligence and had the vet out for a lameness exam even though he's not really lame, and to take xrays of the stifles.
|Long blocks of text need pictures of good boys who walked (under saddle) by themselves on the trail for the first time... after happily leaving the main group to head home alone! This was a few weeks ago.|
|From Easy Care's Website|
I was a schmuck and realized something the next morning: I should have packed Eli's hinds with magic cushion when Farrier was done the night before. I went out after work that day and packed his feet. He was still a bit sore when I brought him in, but post-MC and about 30 min later, he was already tracking better and bigger behind.
|6 weeks of toe wear.|
Eli wears size 138mm, but might have to go to 140mm in the next few cycles because his hind feet have started to widen! We can always grind off some of the length if needed when the time comes.
With the polyurethane hind shoe experiment being a success, this past week we put on these front shoes:
|EasyShoe Performance N/G|
I originally wanted to put on Versas, but the shape of the front shoes wasn't correct for Eli's fronts. I also wanted to keep the bar shoe shape with frog support. After a lot of discussion with Penn's owner, I added supporting the bony column of the hoof and leg with a frog support wedge. If you recall, Penn's owner is a corrective farrier who leans towards barefoot and alternative shoeing. She dislikes the impact of steel shoes, and won't put steel shoes on unless she's doing pads and packing under them for shock absorption and frog/sole support.
The Performance N/G fit the bill. Definitely click the link to see the shoe flex independently. Eli wears a size 4, which is snug in width and JUST long enough.
These went on just as nicely as the hinds. They fit very snugly before they were glued and nailed on, so fingers crossed they stay on as well as the hinds have!
While I don't have a verdict about these as far as function, they appear to be doing the trick. Eli seems happy in them, and he's using his shoulder well and seems happier. I thought I had video, but my Galaxy s10 fell victim to the most recent Pivo app update and I had an error happen while recording Eli going in his new shoes... so no video.
In the last year, the quality of hoof has gotten a lot better all around. Eli's hooves were crack free until summer started, then all of a sudden got a bunch of small, minor cracks. The quarter crack in his left hind is gone though!
|Of course I didn't do proper pictures of the quarter crack, so this was the best I could find. The small cracks are all remnants of his time barefoot, plus a dry summer. But it's almost gone in this pic!|
|A reminder of where we started with the fronts. These are at least 4 weeks into their trim cycle since his fronts were pulled at his vetting in early Aug 2019.|
|Almost exactly a year later. Still more to go (come on hooves, PLEASE GROW HEEL), but they're still so much better. We're still chipping away at the toe, a bit more to go there too.|
And without further ado, a video of the last 12 months of front shoeing!