Lost shoe, no farriers available for at least four days - solutions for turnout?

On today’s episode of “Buy an OTTB, they said. It will be fun, they said,” my 6yo overgrown beastie has half-removed his left front shoe and is quite sore on that foot, despite the bell boots that he wears on all four hooves (one of which he also removed). Of course, because he has perfect timing, our farrier is out of town on a work trip in the midwest (we are located in southwestern PA), two of the other local farriers are in Canada on a hunting trip until October, almost all the other local farriers and a number of the vets are up in New York at the NAEP conference, and our farrier’s last possible emergency contact that he reached out to for me is out of state until next week.

My horse is due to be shod again on Thursday (a week from today), which is one week past his normal cycle due to how scheduling worked out around our farrier’s trip, and if it was a hind shoe, I would just pull it and let him hang out in the field until next week, but I’m hesitant to pull only one front shoe (which we will be doing when I can get out to the barn to help my barn owner remove it tonight) and turn him out on one shod and one bare foot, especially given his propensity for Antics™ (aka tearing around the field at top speed at least once a day).

He becomes a bit of a menace when left inside for a prolonged period of time because bored horse = troublemaking horse (he’s too smart for his own good), plus I’m just generally not a fan of stalling more than overnight at most, so keeping him in for six to seven days until our farrier can make it out to us again is something that my barn owner and I both feel would invite its own form of catastrophe. He also just had his SI injected two weeks ago (that is a separate story unrelated to this incident aside from the fact that I’m meant to be bringing him back into full work right now) so keeping him in an environment where he can still move is preferable. His feet are a lot better than they were when I bought him a few years ago, but he’s still growing out the last bit of less-than-ideal hoof from before we switched to our current farrier last year and they definitely aren’t in a place for barefoot to be a reasonable option at this point without him becoming even more foot-sore.

I can run up to our local tack store and Dover this weekend to see if either has any hoof boots on hand that I could turn him out in, but I’m not sure if I’ll be able to find one that’s suitable for that as opposed to just for riding (if anyone has any suggestions for boots that will work for turnout short-term, please share—I might buy one to keep on hand for future situations like this regardless). I have all of the usual abscess-wrapping supplies, so I can wrap it, but it’s supposed to rain Sunday through Tuesday, so I’m not sure if that’s the best idea if he’ll be going outside then. Indoor arena turnout during the day to keep a wrap dry during those days is theoretically possible, but a lounge/tack room addition is being built off the back of the arena right now, so TBD on whether it would even be safe to turn him out in there (it’s fine for riding, but there’s a big hole cut into the siding for the viewing window and glass had not been put up yet when I was last out earlier this week, so that plus unsupervised horse seems like a recipe for trouble).

I’m open to any and all ideas here - he’s been engaging in absolute chaos for the last month and a half and will not let me go a week without some sort of nonsense occurring right now and I would really like to just get him through to next Thursday so he can have his full pedicure without having to stall him the whole time if that’s possible. Thanks in advance for any suggestions :slight_smile:

Keep him going out in as normal of turnout as possible - the worst antics are usually after trying to keep a horse in/quiet for a few days so I’ve found it’s better to just keep letting them go outside.

For my fragile horse, when he’d pull a front shoe, I would let him bop around barefoot if the ground was soft. If it was hard, I had an Easy Boot Trail boot to put on him and also got an extra wedge pad from my farrier cut to fit in the boot.


I use Woof Medicine Boots when that happens. I know Big Dee’s has them in stock and ships quickly.

It’s actually called Woof Wear Medical Boot.

I always had a pair of Easy boots on hand for when my Tb mare lost a shoe. I also wrap the hoof in vetrap or duct tape before putting the boot on, it stays on much better that way.

In a pinch, I have wrapped the foot using vetrap and duct tape alone, just to provide some cushion during turnout.


Easy Boots hold up well in turnout.

I’ve had carefully applied duct tape survive a day of paddock turnout (barely), but would not trust it for roomy or damp accommodations.

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If you can’t find boots and he’s sore I’d pack his foot with something like Magic cushion. The packing usually doesn’t stay in very well without a shoe to hold it there, so you might have to put a duct tape boot on.

My horse is on soft rides for turnout 24/7 without issue

My best friend has come to the rescue and has an Easy Boot Trail that I can borrow courtesy of her own problem child TB who is even worse about his shoes than my horse, so she’s meeting me at my barn tonight and fingers crossed that it fits until I can get one of my own. Thanks all! Much appreciated.


I have one that is turned out in boots. I have her in a smaller pasture with an older pony so she can’t get up any speed running around. I have gone through hundreds of boots over the years and I find the Old Mac G2’s have been holding up the best. Her boots tend to shift on her feet and the gaiter things that come with the boots help keep the boots from turning on her feet. Unfortunately they made the boots with velcro closings too short to be able to use them some of the time. When I put those on the velco straps that close the boot are too short to reach. You may not have that problem. Depending on how active the horse is in turnout - Softrides will probably not stay on a bucking running fool.

I have a myriad of different boots that I use for this situation. But since murphy’s law dictates that they shall all be hidden in a secret place not to be uncovered when they’re needed, I usually end up doing an abscess-type wrap just to protect the foot until the farrier can get there. And if the horse is sore anyway, it certainly won’t hurt to do an epsom salt paste (or magic cushion) poultice, diaper, duct tape. I’ll leave it on for 3-4 days if necessary.

I love the Woof Wear Medical boot, and if you have access to one, they’re a great low profile boot for that purpose too. But after leaving one on a punctured sole for 4 weeks (during which time it held up perfectly all the way to the end of week 4) my horse broke through the bottom of the boot and then through the replacement boot I bought within a couple of days. So YMMV. My duct tape boots last longer than the second woofwear boot!

Also, bell boots don’t really help to keep shoes on. They protect the back of the heel effectively enough, but aren’t really great in helping a shoe-puller keep shoes on. If you have a problem horse, the only thing I’ve ever found that works is www.shoesecure.com


I’ve also used the Woof Wear boot for something like this. Although my horse had really good feet and wasn’t sore, I didn’t want him chipping up the foot at the nail holes in the meantime. He was stalled overnight without it to make sure no chafing and that everything was dry enough.

On the same farm the TBs that were out 24/7 would get a Cavallo boot for a little more protection and sole. And a little more rugged construction. Might want a vetrap something on underneath.

I liked that the woof wear boots stayed on well, didn’t rub, and didn’t get a bunch of junk inside but the materials aren’t super tough.

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Hoof casting material. Once upon a time it was fiberglass, but now they sell all sorts of specialized fabrics. Just wrap it around the edge of the hoof kind of like a bar shoe.

I worked for a very busy lesson/training/show barn years ago and with a cast in place of the thrown shoe, the horses were still sound and comfortable for riding and turnout.

I’d pull the shoe and stick a boot on. I’ve had awful luck with the woof boots. Knock on wood, the cavallo entry level boots have been wonderful. There are even gel pads you can put in there.

This is exactly what hoof boots, like Easyboots - are good for but. . . . if you don’t have one or can’t get to a store to buy one . . . I’ve seen people wrap a hoof up in duct tape (or Gorilla tape). The hoof is a bit “mummified” in the tape and you have to change it daily. . .but it will provide some protection in a pinch.

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For him the bell boots usually do the trick—he’s honestly not a chronic shoe-puller anymore (he was the first summer I had him until I put him on extra selenium because our area has incredibly low natural levels), but on the rare occasions when he does pull them… he makes an event out of it, ha. We’ve had a lot of wet-dry-wet-dry changes in short spans of time recently and between that and fly stomping (and that last bit of less-than-ideal hoof growing out), the bottom portion of his feet is a little rough all around. I should’ve thought to ask to have his feet done at five weeks when our farrier was last out instead of waiting til seven weeks, but so it goes.

He managed to get his other front shoe loose doing whatever he was doing this morning (in a hefty helping of mud, we had torrential downpours last night), so that one had the single loose nail pulled out of it and it has been vet-wrapped and duct-taped in place until the pair of boots that I ordered arrive this weekend and we can clip the remaining nails and pull that one too. I did have to become an expert in secure duct-tape “boots” when he developed a monster abscess last year, so I know that one isn’t going anywhere at least :sweat_smile:

This still doesn’t even get close to the time last year that he got the electric fence (which was thankfully turned off at the time) caught under his shoe somehow less than a week after being freshly shod, my barn owner had to cut him loose, and I had to pry the piece of fencing out from under his shoe very slowly with pliers, one strand at a time, because we have twisted nylon fencing and it was too thick to pull out all at once without taking the shoe off (this is actually why he lost his no bell boot privileges—it had nothing to do with him throwing shoes and everything to do with the fact that I love him but do not trust him to stay out of trouble).

I just can’t leave him alone for more than two days or he Does Things, and I managed to get into a minor car accident that left me with no vehicle and then go on vacation and not see him at all last week for the first time all summer, so he had to get my attention somehow, I guess.

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hm. been there. I keep a hoof boot (could not tell you the brand, just whatever was in stock and not $100 at big dees) on hand for these shenanigans. Mine, albeit not wild, keeps it on in turnout, and he goes out in a 5 acre field. We can even usually keep up light hacks and trail rides until the shoe gets back on with the boot. If he’s extra ouchy from pulling the shoe, I’ll pack with magic cushion and wrap under the boot. Caveat, make sure the hoof is clean (rubbing alcohol works well for me) and dry before the farrier shows up. Two years ago, my farrier showed up two hours before he said he would, not giving me time to clean up the magic cushion, and I’m still hearing about it :upside_down_face:

Neat. Thanks for sharing!

If you have a problem horse, the only thing I’ve ever found that works is www.shoesecure.com

Unless the ground in his turnout is extremely hard or rocky, or the hoof is beat up/missing chunks from the shoe pull, I would just take the shoe off and turn out as normal. If he’s still sore after pulling the shoe, I’d do a betadine pack and wrap for a day or two.

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My gelding rarely lost a shoe. He had fronts only and a 2 degree wedge pad. The farrier usually came the next day or two. She knew the footing in the indoor (softest) and outdoor arenas, and the fields and paddocks. He was on outside board. Usually he was okay where he was. If she couldn’t make it for a few more days she would tell me where to move him. The priority was the missing wedge pad and avoiding stress on the back of his leg.