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Sore feet...
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Sore feet...

A friend was just given a 20 year old quarter horse which looks like he has some thoroughbred in him. The woman who gave him away doesn't know a thing about him as she tried to warn of some bad habits of his which I have never seen - in fact, he's a dream! To ride and hang out with. I am concerned for a few reasons....1) I love this horse - I'd buy him from my friend if I could! 2) He is fine on soft terrain and level grass but CANNOT withstand ANY walking on pebbled surfaces - like the gravel driveway we use to get to the trails near her house. He doesn't have shoes right now (the woman who gave him away didn't know when the last time he had shoes on and I see no signs of nail holes, etc). My friend has a ferrier coming in October - I am concerned that is too long to wait, but he shows no signs of lameness. Aside from his hoofs being a bit rough around the edges and needing attention, his frogs are in good shape and there are no noticeable soft spots on his hoofs, he doesn't flinch in pain when I touch his hoofs and he has no trouble letting them get picked/cleaned each day. He canters smoothly (on smooth grass surfaces) and doesn't balk when you saddle him up for a ride. And, 3) he is losing weight. He's been wormed and has been see by a vet recently. He's eating lots of hay, grain and corn husks as well as the occasional treat (cobbed corn, apples). Finally 4) is it OK to pasture horses in a 90% shaded, dirt and rock pasture?

I know that's alot of questions...thanks all for your replies!
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This horse would be classified as a "senior" horse and therefore would be needing some special attention.  I will try to address the issues you bring up;
-The sore feet:  could be something as simple and correctable as just getting some shoes on him. If a gravely driveway is the only place he is tender, that may be it.  Otherwise, he could be showing signs of something else. He could be bruised, or any number of things that would be more serious.  Your best bet in this case would be to get the farrier out as soon as possible and have him take an assessment and follow his advice. As well, there could be an arthritis issue involved.
-The losing weight: As I said, he is a senior guy now and would need some special attention. I would start with  a vet looking at the horse, doing bloodwork,diagnostics, etc. Did the vet take any blood, etc? Next..have his teeth been floated? At least once per year, preferably twice this should be done so he can chew and process his feed properly. Is he up on all his vaccines?  Also, I know he is being fed hay, grain, etc...but HOW MUCH are you feeding?  Have you weighed it out?  The amount of food you feed her in a day should be about 2.5 percent of her body weight (the weight you want him to be). For a 1200 pound horse , that would be about 8.2kg (18.0lbs) of forage per day, and 5.5kg (12.0lbs) of concentrates per day.
-The pasture:  Horses do best on as much open land with forage (grass) as possible, but it is not always possible in smaller confines of a farm.  What is the size of the paddock you are talking about? Is he in a paddock with other horses? I would say the dirt and rock would not be the absolute optimum for a horse, but would also matter if it is mostly dry dirt, or really how rocky it is...in certain parts? In relation to his losing weight, does this horse have access to clean water and forage while he is turned out in this paddock? Is he in that paddock 24/7, or does he come inside to a stall sometimes?

Keep in touch..and let me know more and I can try to help out more.

Linda
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