Farrier Services during Covid-19

Farrier Glue on Shoes

With essential businesses closing down and vets delaying non-essential services like vaccines, I’m feeling lucky that my farrier will still come to the barn. Her very reasonable request is that the horses be put on the cross ties and that she be alone with them.

Zelda and Curly are easy. They are both barefoot and will happily stand on cross ties without fuss.

Freedom is the problem. First, Freedom is not good at standing still. He will, but he usually requires some entertainment. That means me standing at his head. Second, Freedom wears glue-on shoes. They are fabulous once they are on, and they stay on for a long time. But, and this is the crux of the problem, they take a LONG time to apply and the horse has to cooperate by standing still while the epoxy sets.

Farrier services glue on shoes
Freedom’s glue on shoes require patience, dry weather and skill to apply.

This is not a situation where he can stand on the crossties and get his manicure. Even with a bit of sedation Freedom gets antsy.

So, I’m debating what to do. His current glue on shoes were put on in January 11th. That’s a pretty good run for a set of shoes. I’m not sure how much longer I can count on them staying on. And, one of the problems with glue on shoes is that they are glued to the hoof wall. If they come off unintentionally, you don’t just lose the shoe; you loose a good amount of hoof along with it. Trust me, it happened once and his feet were in such bad shape, I wasn’t able to put any kind of shoe on his hoof for about a month.

I could put regular shoes on. Freedom is pretty good at losing shoes. He’s never had great feet and with the amount of rain we’ve had recently, I cringe at the thought of watching him stand and run in ankle deep mud. I don’t care how many bell boots you put on (I used to double up for him), those shoes are unlikely to stay on.

Or I could go with the fact that the ground is soft and pull his shoes altogether. I’ve had him barefoot in the past and it’s not pretty, but he’s survived. In fact, for several years I kept him barefoot and put hoof boots on to ride him. At least then he’s not dealing with the extra damage that can occur when a shoe is ripped off.

Right now I’m leaning toward barefoot. My farrier is coming on Wednesday and we’ll look at his feet and make a decision. What do you all think? The best solution would be for Zelda to magically gift some of her amazing hoof growing capacity to Freedom. Wish that were an option!

Update: Today we pulled Freedom’s shoes. His feet look fantastic after the glue-ons. We decided that with the soft ground, this was the best time to remove his shoes. Next step — applying hoof hardener and crossing my fingers.

13 thoughts on “Farrier Services during Covid-19

  1. My vote is for barefoot. Foremost because it sounds like the easiest option for your farrier. I feel like we should be doing everything we can to help those who are continuing to take care of our horses (and humans), and if that includes not getting shoes for a little while, I think that’s a small issue in the grand scheme of things right now. IDK how hard you are training right now, but if he’s done well in hoofboots before that sounds like a reasonable option for the moment.

    1. I’m leaning that way. Mostly, I’m taking my horses for very light hacks. While I enjoy being with them, this is not the time to be riding hard or pushing them. I’m sure Freedom will have some degradation in his hoof quality by removing the shoes, but not as much as he would be if they came off. Plus, if he’s barefoot, it gives my farrier a lot of discretion on when she comes back.

  2. I pulled Cassel’s shoes two weeks after paying almost $200 for a reset. He threw a shoe when I couldn’t get to the barn for a few days and nobody noticed. Decided to go barefoot for the duration of the quarantine. But Cassel does have really good feet and I’m not riding until the curve starts to flatten.

    1. I really wish Freedom had better feet. Zelda has gravel-crunching hooves, thank goodness. I do like the convenience of barefoot and there’s more rain in the forecast so the ground will stay relatively soft. Still leaning toward barefoot.

  3. I, too, vote for barefoot. I think farriers should be considered essential personnel, because we all know what happens when a horse goes too long without a trim and a reset, or loses a shoe. I hope your weather improves….maybe it’s not the same in CT as in WA State, but we get so much rain for so long that barefoot sometimes equals white line. So I’d pull his shoes and wait until things improve and we can all go back to ”’normal”-and keep an eagle eye on his feet for white line.
    I’d use the hoof boots and keep him legged up, gently, of course. Walking works.
    By the way, expect a huge PUD once things return to normal. PUD meaning Pent Up Demand. Everyone will have been holding off getting: a haircut, a surgery, a tooth filled, a celebratory dinner out at a nice restaurant…all sorts of things that we’ve had to put on hold in order to keep from being infected. It’s all going to hit the fan at once.

    1. Yes, I’m very conscious that my farrier is essential and I’m grateful that she’ll come to the barn. You’re right, there will be a huge pent up demand for everything! A haircut is top of my list!

  4. I think, should this epidemic drag on and on, there will be a new fashion…Covid Hair. Mine will look (as my mother used to say) ‘like a busted out mattress’. Either that or I will get out my horse clippers and………………..well, I don’t know about giving myself a buzz cut, but in the summer my head gets so hot from my thick hair that I might just go that route…

    1. LOL! Agreed!
      A few years ago I got an undercut, which then grew to a side shave. Now I’ve let it grow out this Fall/winter/quarantine and I am thinking ALL of it is going to come off soon! (Clipper style)

  5. THen you must be very good. The first time I ever clipped a horse it was mine..my little fleabit grey Arab, Jordan. Jordan had Cushings and in July, still had a full winter coat. I’d bought him in February, and he didn’t shed out and didn’t shed out and DIDN”T shed out..so…I decided to clip him. The ”’riding school”” that I rescued him from had never clipped him (or bathed him) in the years they’d had him, so the hair was, oh, 4 inches long!

    Poor guy…anyway, I had purchased a clipper..one of those tiny little Osters that is better suited to trimming whiskers (which I’d NEVER do). I decided to clip him with it. What did I know? Nothing…….
    Well, after two days and a burnt out clipper, he was ‘done’. He looked as if he’d been attacked by a thousand starving moths.
    Jordan was mortified. He was so embarassed by the horrible job I’d done that he refused to come out of his run in shed for three days.

    My vet came to float him and said, “Well…that’s an unusual clip job”…no kidding.

    but I can tell you this….owning a Cushing’s horse (and Oster’s BIG clippers, the ‘shears’, as they call them), teaches you how to clip a horse. I had to clip him 4 times a season. Yes. By the time I was forced to have him put down, I could clip him in a few hours.

    I never was be able to do the works of art you see in clipping contests, but I can take a horse out of his winter jammies, and have him look good, a lot quicker and neater, now.

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