If you have been around horses for any amount of time, you have probably experienced the dreaded pulled shoe. When your horse decides to play farrier or become Cinderella and leave a shoe behind you can be in for a world of possible problems. Knowing how to handle any issues that may come up will save you time, money, head and heart aches when your horse decides he needs new kicks.
If your horse isn’t lame, great! All you need to do is call your farrier out to replace the missing shoe. I would ask what may have caused the shoe to come off so you can try to avoid it in the future. If your horse is lame, there a couple of questions you need to ask in order to get a plan of action.
Depending on how the shoe came off and the damage, there can be a possibility for an abscess. An abscess is trapped bacteria that will eventually make it’s way out of the hoof through the path of least resistance. To treat an abscess you will need to soak that hoof in a mixture of water and Epsom salts. Your farrier should be able to tell if an abscess is causing the lameness or if it is possible to form because of the shoe damage.
If there is no abscess and your horse is still lame, the best thing to do is wait it out. I use Durasole and Magic Cushion to speed up the process of healing and make my horse more comfortable. You can use poultice as well depending on personal preference. I put the Durasole on first, pack my horse’s hoof with Magic Cushion, and then put a layer of sawdust on top. This is easier and more wallet friendly than vet wrap and duct tape. I have had better luck with sawdust than wrapping in the past. Bute is also a huge help as it helps with inflammation and eases the pain. Stall rest and light lunging, hand walking and hand grazing is the best way to get you horse moving without giving them the chance to hurt themselves more.
There are many options out there that help prevent lost shoes. Products like Venice Turpentine, Rainmaker, Farriers Fix, hoof sealants and many more help slow down or stop the exchange of moisture. Some riders also use bell boots or boots that go over the whole hoof during turnout. If your horse has weak or thing hooves, a hoof supplement may help your horse grow a stronger hoof. There are so many options out there to help your horse have better and stronger hooves. Talk to your farrier and other riders to see what they recommend and what works for them.