As the great Yogi Berra said, it's deja vu all over again.
Last year at this time when Buttercup was shod, her flares worsened and that balanced hoof that we thought we had was gone in weeks. Now, that balanced barefoot hoof we had is falling apart. But you know, this happened two years ago and four years ago too. I'll get to that in a little bit.
Buttercup never regained soundness after the last trim and has no regained soundness after her trim on Monday. As you can imagine, this is heartbreaking for me. But it also lit a fire under me to put a new plan in order.
But first, pictures from the trim. And I want to start with the solars.
Ignore the bondo for now (I know, super hard to do especially now that I've pointed it out). We developed a ton of sole growth these past two cycles and my farrier ended up having to remove a ton of dead sole. He removed much of the bars but still not the collateral groove. How amazing do those frogs look? Wow. I love them.
Buttercup's recent unsoundness has been all toe related, especially on that front left. Last trim, my farrier rolled up (or beveled) the hoof wall up to alleviate pressure. This time around, he didn't remove so much hoof wall.
OK, the bondo. What's it doing there? I'm skeptical too.
According to my farrier, it will prevent the hoof wall from stretching too much creating further separation. Though it is not uncommon to see bondo on hooves, it can be uncommon on bare hooves. It is a pretty neat product that once applied and hardened can be rasped down like a regular hoof to have a smooth, hoof-like surface and help with balance and flare issues.
But the bondo isn't the biggest thing going on this post. No, we need to ask ourselves WHY are we getting these flare. WHY are the hooves coming undone after nearly six months of positive.
Here is a timeline to the riddle:
Summer 2006: Barefoot, Buttercup gets a succession of abscesses that leads to the crack on her front left hoof, scarring the coronary band. She is shod.
Summer 2007: No hoof problems to report.
Summer 2008: Due to farrier issues, Buttercup's hooves begin to fall apart with LT/LH
Summer 2009: Came into spring with an essentially well balanced hoof that then begins to flare and fall apart, letting the shoe sink into the white line and create further separation
Summer 2010: Came into spring with an essentially well balanced hoof that begins to flare and fall apart despite being barefoot
Nothing more than coincidence that our problems crop up at around late spring or early summer? And what about the summer of 2007 where we had no issues?
Here's more clues to the puzzle:
Summer 2006: Buttercup moved to a new barn in spring. Though the barn feeds SafeChoice, it also offers a very rich pasture
Summer 2007: Again moved Buttercup that spring. Though I'm feeding a complete sweet feed, her diet is mostly grass hay and the pastures are barren
Summer 2008: Buttercup is eating a sweet feed diet and on a rich pasture
Summer 2009: Again Buttercup is eating a sweet feed diet and on a rich pasture
Summer 2010: She is on a low carb pelleted feed but on a rich pasture
Starting to get the picture?
Now we aren't 100% sure that the rich pastures are creating all of her issues, but it is worth a shot. We are enacting an action plan this week to help save her hooves.
1. Start ProAdd Ultimate supplement and probiotic regime. I was going to start a new supplement to help her hooves and figured I would get her gut in order too in case that was out of whack.
2. Switch to a beet pulp based diet. Though she's already being fed a low carb/starch feed, we can't eliminate all the sugars since she's out 24/7. The best bet is to eliminate sugars in her daily feed.
3. Muzzle her from 10 a.m. until afternoon feeding to decrease grass consumption during high sugar hours.
According to some literature, the sugars from grasses and feeds destroys healthy laminae and decreases blood flow to the hoof. According to that same literature, the hoof should show improvement after six weeks of eliminating those sugars.
More information on sugars can be found here: www.safergrass.org (sorry about links lately, every time I hyperlink them it tries to put this blog's url in front of it, even when I put it correctly in html code ... so copy and paste it is! Back to the stone age)