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Al - Aleclipse - 2005

A potential champion laid low by thrush? We'll never know.

Al is (or was) a full Arab endurance horse - a very competitive endurance horse - owned by World Cup winner Becky Hart and Judith Ogus. At the time of these shots, he had a suspensory injury in his front left leg and has been laid up for several months.

These are old pictures, from back in July 2005, before I had fully realized the damage that Thrush can do to a horses feet, legs and body. I wasn't going to use these shots because I only trimmed him once. Becky and Judith have lots of horses and use several farrier's to trim and shoe, and at the time, they were interested in Barefoot but not committed to it.

Al was being considered by the Saudis last year, however he has an odd way of going in the rear that the Saudis felt indicated a future injury so they didn't buy him. It was close, though. I didn't watch him walk out, but in retrospect, I bet it was thrush related. They were asking several hundred thousand for him at the time.


I asked Becky and Judith if they'd leave him barefoot and they said no, they need to sell him, and hope to get $50k once he'd healed. At the time, Barefoot was not a common choice for a serious competition horse. Now, in 2008? Endurance horses are competing at top levels barefoot and in boots.

Before seeing him, I was told that Al has weird feet, feet like a mules, and as we go on, I'll explain why. I know, now, but didn't know back then.

He was always sound out of shoes. I was "trimming" him, but at the time, I was at a loss trying to figure out what to do with his feet.  I asked my buddy Pete Ramey:

This is what I wrote to friend Pete Ramey back then:

"His feet have lots of depth to the sole, and once you get below the surface it all feels "live". I get the feeling I could easily take 1/2 inch off his feet, but really don't know if it's appropriate."

"He also seems to have a bit of white line disease or fungus going... he's been in a stall for the past few months.  Am I safe taking this guys feet down a lot farther, like 1/4 to 1/3 inch?"

"I have a feeling that his suspensory injury and odd way of traveling behind are due to the shoes and his odd foot shape in front. "

"Why do I always find the tough horses that I shouldn't be trimming yet? "

Pete said that taking the retained sole out would be a good start, but that retained sole perplexed me...why was the foot hanging on to it??I

I couldn't bring myself to trim it out. Remember, this was back in 2005.

Pete didn't have a lot of other answers for me except that the horse definitely had thrush and I could probably shape the sole mechanically to give it a better shape. I don't think either of us realized the strong association between Thrush, high bars and deep sole at the time.



Al's AERC History In 2005, Al had finished 23 endurance rides and won the Best Condition award in 5 of them (that's come in in the top 10 and had the best finishing results). He was started slow and easy, and not allowed to move out until 2003.


Hind-Sight Is 20/20!

So here are the feet that I couldn't figure out back then and what I think of them now in 2008.  Also, check out the Thrush page and associated pages!

If you've spent much time on my site, I bet you know why Al had such odd feet ... Barefoot knowledge has come such a long way. As you look at the feet below, check out the horrible thrush infection! In the Body shot above, Al's stance indicates that he DOES NOT want to weight his heels at all - front or back. That is probably the reason he "moves funny behind" and is probably partially to blame for the suspensory damage.

The "Mule Feet" was a reference to all the retained bar and sole. Horses retain bar and sole in order to provide a "Cast" so that the hoof doesn't flex and expand. Why does that happen" Because these feet are excruciatingly painful! Thrush is an exposed, rotten frog - a DISEASED frog, and sometimes the frog corium is involved, too.

In Retrospect...

If this guy was a client now, I would recommend Oxine Soaks for 3 to 4 days in a row, and would clean that frog up a little better.

I would have the soaks followed up by daily frog scrubbing with Dawn detergent and a brush, then have them dry the frog, use Oxine Tincture in the cracks and fissures, wait ten minutes and use Pete's Goo in any cracks and between the heel bulbs.

Becky and Judith, I sincerely wish I knew then what I know now.

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Rear Feet
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Serving the greater SF Bay Area & Northern California
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