By now, you probably guessed: there is NO exact timeline… There are times, when managing a horse barefoot is quite a hustle. However, often, with just a few tweaks, it can work out just fine.
Whether your horse has just had his shoes taken off or she / he is suffering of a specific pathology, the timeline will entirely depend on the following factors.
HOW CAN THE RIGHT PROFESSIONNALS HELP?
• Initial Hoof quality / health assessment from you vet or hoof care professionnal. Also the horse’s general health (eg: ulcers can hinder proper nutrients ingestion, leading to weak hooves = slower evolution)
• Trimming method applied (certain trim styles can work against rehab)
• Trimming frequency. If the horse is just trimmed every 6 months, that might not work as well as every 6 weeks, or whatever your hoof care practitioner recommends.
HOW CAN THE GUARDIAN’S INVOLVEMENT HELP?
• Can the horse’s guardian care as often as needed in order for the horse to get “optimal” recovery time: observe the horse move daily, picking feet daily, daily thrush / fungus / cracks / white-line treatment, abscesses management, booting/un-booting as often as necessary,
• Can the horse’s guardian give diet balancer daily, daily stimulation of the foot, daily stretching if needed?
• What about a weekly maintenance trim if needed?
• Is the guardian able to set the horse’s environment up for success, like taking the horse off grass, leading to feeding hay, maybe even in nets, scattered around the pasture?
• Or place water that much farther away from shelter and hay to encourage movement, but meaning carrying the water that much more?
• Has the guardian the possibility to respect the horse’s rehab time or are important competitions scheduled soon (and might not allow the horse enough time to feel ok in his feet)?
• Will the guardian research on the topic as much as possible? To know what to do, what professionnal to chose, what a healthy hoof should look like?
CAN THE GUARDIAN’S FINANCIAL SITUATION MAKE A DIFFERENCE?
• Yes, whether you can have your horse roam free on endless pasture or box / paddock is the only option for now?
• Can you call on all the useful / necessary professionals to assist with rehab and as often as necessary?
• Can the guardian afford the treatments or feed supplements necessary?
• Can he / she afford to order several boots and pads (feet change rather quickly as they evolve)?
• Can he / she afford as many X-Rays, or other sorts of medical imaging, as necessary for the professionals working on rehabbing the horse?
• Can she / he afford to send a foundered horse to rehab on a Paddock Paradise?
Remember trim’s best friends for barefoot success:
• Diet balancing: Has the guardian the possibility to properly balance the horse’s diet? Take her / him cereal-free? Or if the horse is boarded and yard management is handling feeds? Can the guardian offer the horse free access to hay or grazing 24/7?
• Proper stimulation: it kind of falls under “guardian’s involvement & means”, but that plays a huge part in the development of the foot.
In many cases, the barefoot adventure is simple and easy.
However, there are times, when managing a horse barefoot is quite a hustle.
The horse might be sensitive or even sore, release abscesses, display lameness, discomfort, lack of energy, is unable to work for quite some time, and require extensive treatments and follow-up.