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[RC] Before and After - Kevin Myers

I pulled Redford’s shoes 14 weeks ago and I’m still trying to justify my hesitation in doing so. With shoes he had a tendency to demonstrate some tender footedness over rocky terrain, even with shoes, pads and EquiPak. I was not convinced he would be a good barefoot contender.

His feet were dry and the hoof capsule was beginning to look tubular and much longer than it should have been. The arid Arizona summer conditions were already beginning to take their toll on the moisture content in the sole, and the hoof was breaking away. We fixed the breaking hoof wall by adding some hoof cement. When I first pulled his shoes his feet were tender for a while, but that soon changed as the feet began to retrieve their natural shape.

I took a photo of his right front feet last night. His feet are rounder and the length of the hoof capsule is shorter. His feet are not dry or flaky or brittle, and there is a concave shape showing in the quarters of his hooves. He stands more squarely now than he used to, and I no longer need to use interference boots on him.

When I compare the angles of the hoof to Red’s feet today, it is obvious that his breakover is very different and is continuing to change quickly.

One of the most noticeable factors in the transition process is the speed of hoof growth in working horses compared to the speed of those who are working irregularly. The hooves of the horses who are not working appear to grow at less than half the speed of the working horses. The horses who are working regularly are definitely making the transition more quickly.

Red’s feet are so much better – even after four months of searing heat and no moisture. I’m looking forward to taking him to the Man Against Horse race this weekend in Prescott Valley. I went to the race in 2004 and had a great time so I’m really looking forward to going back.

You can see the before and after photos here.