shoes or no shoes for lame horse

renee lefthand

Good day everyone 
My 2 mares are lame again this fall for the  last few weeks. One already has cushings no shoes went up to 2 pills and diet change  ..... took one mare to vet  because she got severely lame and got xrays and shoes because of vet and farrier recommendations and we probably waited too long! 
We got blood work and diagnosed cushings and IR (I believe) she started on half pill; needs one but stopped eating so dropped back to half for now. My vets never seem to never give us copies of blood work gonna have to ask again to upload and xrays for that matter . My question should I have my other mare xrays and shoes ? 
She is not as bad but is like this every fall. I am worried about rotation but I do not know if I should do shoes on her too ? She does not tolerate shoes very well we tried them last year not much improvement so did not put them back on and she also needs to be traq. each time which I do not like either. 
I am guessing I better get her xrays done but they will insist on shoes etc. 
I have also changed their diets since and they are both heavy and cannot be excercised due to their pain level.
Hopefully I get the copies I need to upload !!!!  

Renee SD 2020

Sherry Morse

Hi Renee,

As you have already guessed, we need more information to help answer any questions.  You've been here long enough to know that we prefer no shoes and boots as needed for comfort so frequent trims are possible.  

The mare that is confirmed PPID and IR - what are her test results?  Is she the one that went to the vet?  Did the trim get changed based on x-ray results before shoes were put on?  Can we please have you at least create a photo album and upload current hoof pictures and body shots of this mare.  A case history document with information on her height/current weight/ideal weight/current diet/when diagnosed with PPID/what medications she is on and how long she has been on them would be helpful to answer questions on her.  You say you 'went up to 2 pills and diet change' but then say she started on a half pill and needs one - which one of those is correct?

Your other mare that 'is like this every fall' is probably also PPID or IR but it sounds like you haven't had her tested at all.  Is that correct?  If so, I would suggest having her blood work done ASAP so you know how to treat her.  If you are worried about rotation you need to have her x-rayed to see what is going on internally.  Again, we do not recommend shoes as you can't trim as frequently as most of these horses need so boots would be a better option for her as well.  Again, a case history document with all the information as for your other mare will be helpful.

Remember, you are in charge of these horses and are paying their bills.  The vet cannot force you to put shoes on a horse that you don't want to put them on.

renee lefthand

understood .... sorry I must of missed no shoes and I have seen regular trims so I misunderstood 
thank you 
I dont have access to upload at this point and I have to get their records as well
No internet at home and I  have to use my phone and it limits me on this site 

Renee SD 2020

Kirsten Rasmussen

Hi Renee,

We will still work with you if you do have to use shoes, although it sounds like you don't want to go that route.  Like Sherry said, you are your horse's advocate and you can thank your vet and farrier kindly for their advice and tell them you'll think about shoes but you'd like to try padded boots first.   It is much better for the horse to be barefoot (with padded boots as needed) so frequent small trims can be done.  Plus shoes suspend much of the load from the hoof wall, and if you think about it any horse with laminitis has compromised whiteline so the hoof wall is not as tightly attached to the internal bones...this could cause sinking and thin soles.  Once pathologies are fixed and hoof wall growth is tighter many horses can have their shoes put back on.

Are you able to get some boots and put pads in them to help with their comfort?   It can make a big difference.  There are therapy boots, like Easyboot Clouds, and there are riding boots (Cavello Simples are one of the cheaper ones)...usually if you get a size bigger of the riding boots you can get a 12mm hoof pad in them.

I hope you can find a way to get more information uploaded, including the case histories.  It's definitely hard to use this site with a phone but some of our members manage it somehow! 

Kirsten and Shaku (IR) - 2019
Kitimat, BC, Canada
ECIR Group Moderator
Shaku's Case History  
Shaku's Photo Album   

Bobbie Day

Hello Renee

When my little mare was first diagnosed I agreed to shoes although my horses have been barefoot for a long time.
We had to find a farrier that was skilled enough to put them on. As literally everyone here knows my girl has horrible arthritis. Well I had to dope her just so he could work on her. Not once but several times (she’s very determined) and the farrier was well over six feet tall. It was absolute hell on her. After the second reset because they need trims so often I told my husband to get them off , and well the rest is history. The farrier was so mad at me when I told him she would be in boots instead. He got so argumentative with me that is when we started our road to trimming ourselves.
Either the barefoot trimmer would cancel at the last minute or a few times they refused to work on her. This hasn’t been a easy journey but a lot of us here have taken on the trims ourselves. I would plead with you to reconsider. Get pictures and post them in a album here. Lavinia, Dr.K and mods can give you directions on what needs to happen (x-rays too). It takes a serious commitment but your not alone.
Good luck 😊

Bobbie and Desi
NRC March 2020
Utah, Nov 2018