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Chronic corn/heel bruising

I have a 15 yr old OTTB event horse that is having an issue with chronic corns/ heel bruising. This has been going on for 6 - 8 months.
I am looking for any stories on similar experiences, what you did, if you ever found a cause, etc.

Last summer, horse would occasionally take ouchy steps on hard ground going to the right. He was shod and after noticing the occasional ouchiness we used equipak. At the end of the summer he was suddenly toe pointing lame - hauled him to a well respected vet who removed the shoe and found what appeared to be a dry corn. Poulticed, packed, babied for a couple of weeks. Reshod. Lame again. Small slit opened on heel bulb, never saw any drainage. Had x-rays, they looked perfect.
Late fall, farrier made an “onion” shoe, which actually made the horse worse. (BTW, This farrier is well known and respected by the vets and has been my farrier for 20 years) Pulled that off and made a bar shoe, we let him adjust to it for 2 weeks, and then started lightly working him. He looked good for 1 month of light riding (slowly introduced trot and canter and jumping small cross rails). Farrier came to reset shoes, and when he pulled the bar shoe saw a fresh bloody looking bruise on the heel AGAIN… he reset the shoe, I rode the horse the next day - was sound. Then 4 days later went to ride again and BAM back to lameness (gimpy on turns in aisle way, lame in a straight line and on a circle to right). Now we have pulled the shoe, I am booting him with a therapeutic pad for turn out, magic cushion, magnawave for the bruise. And farrier plans to make a Z Bar shoe, to relieve the pressure on that heel. I would love to just pull the shoes and let him heal, but I live where it is currently frozen hard ground that would add more bruises to his hooves.
Any advice or stories appreciated.

There’s a horse in my barn right now who has this issue. He does best in full leather pads with just a smidge of wedge, regular shoes. Bar shoes made it worse. Last time we tried going back to just plain steel shoes, the corns came back in one cycle. For whatever reason, he needs Magic Cushion, full pad, and a little wedge for his feet to be happy.

I changed farriers.

The most common cause of corns are ill fitting shoes and unbalanced trimming.

But what do I know, my horse spent 4 years “on and off” lame and then was diagnosed as having corns (as he never needed his shoes removed to have his x-rays). And then had his feet done by a new farrier and never had a problem with them again. After we sold him the same (new) farrier was able to get him down to regular shoes in front.

But if he’s been your farrier for 20 years and is “well respect by the vets”, whose to say he’s going to EVER shoe a horse wrong. Not every farrier is going to be good for every horse.

The Z bar is a good choice. I had a horse in one for 3 shoeings. It gave his deep bruise a chance to truly heal and he never had another issue.

My horse gets corns and the only shoe he could wear was round (eggbar) with equipak. However, when I bought him, my farrier was the same and he suggested going barefoot. He does great barefoot, but it does require some management. Frequent trims (four week cycle) and Easyboot Gloves for harder footing. Lots of Durasole.

He is older and we only do 2’6" hunters, but he does just fine showing barefoot. Sure improved his hack ribbons!

Once I tried eggbars without pads, and he let me know in no uncertain terms how uncomfortable he was in those!

As long as there is shoe pressure where there should be no pressure the horse will have corns.

Two options in my book, go barefoot or change farriers. The difference is not in the type of shoe but how it is fitted.

I once used a very well respected farrier for about 5 years and suddenly noticed a big change in quality of the work. As in the shoes were too small and he was cutting and shaping the foot to fit the smaller shoe.

I mentioned it to him, he blew it off. Horse went lame a couple of weeks later, vet ended up pulling the shoes off. Had to call and try to discuss vets findings Spoke to his wife, didn’t make any accusations but she wanted to argue that the vet was “effed up”. Finally said “I am sorry but I have decided to go a different direction with Ginger so will be discontinuing our regular appointments”. She blew up on me, screaming insults. I hung up and called another farrier with a good but not spectacular reputation, more a journeyman type.

Horse quickly recovered. Shortly afterward I heard that farrier was almost blind, lost his drivers license and remaining customers. I felt awful but…

This last horse I have had for about 16 years this month (wow, time flies) has the best feet and has been very durable, TB too. Had a bout of on again off again NQR that was diagnosed as corns, was using a very highly recommended farrier and had been for about 3 years. Switched on vet advice, corns went buh bye in two cycles.

Things change. You need to either address it with him ( possibly being prepared to duck) or just change farriers. Corns don’t just happen.

Thank you all for your input and shared experiences.