Quarter Horse Mare with Sore Feet

QUESTION: I have a 6yr AQHA mare that I bought as a weanling… When I brought her home, I continued her on a steady alfalfa/grass hay diet, supplemented with 1 gal of Nutreana’s Youth Design & 1/2 gal of Empower, with a daily exercise regimine of trotting behind a 4-wheeler up and around our dry farm – the exact same exercise & diet as my stud colt received (same age).

  Around her 2yr year she started to show soreness in her feet, and I simply attributed it to the farrier trimming her a tad short, as the soreness was intermittent. I waited until she was 3 to start her, but due to personal injuries, she only got about 15 rides under saddle before I had to put her out to pasture while I recuperated- and she sat in the pasture (a.k.a. corral with hay/grass feeding mmaintained.

At 4yr, the soreness in her front legs increased dramatically, and I took her in for x-rays to find ex tensor process chips growing off the coffin bone in BOTH front feet. My vet referred me to a surgeon, who took additional x-rays and decided upon initial examination that there was “more going on” with the mare than just the bone-chips. We took x-rays of the navicular bone, and found that area to be the primary area of concern. The mare is more than simply “sore”; for a mare that used to have at least a 2-ft stride, she now has (if she’s having a good day), a 10-16″ stride. This may increase slightly if taken out of her stall and left solely on soft pasture; but little improvement is shown.

We have delayed the surgery to remove the ex tensor process bone chips and have applied special navicular (egg-bar) shoes along with a 3/4″ wedge pad, plus allowed her heel to grow and trimmed her toes back. This has slightly alleviated her pain, but she still shows some severe soreness and reluctance to walk.

I have kept her feed rations to barely more than a flake of alfalfa 2x daily – even though she stands nearly 17 hands and pushes 1500 pounds  with ribs barely showing. We also added 1 gal Nutrena’s Omalene 400 with 1gal Black Oil Sunflower seeds, 4-6 oz corn oil, and 1/4 c asprin/flax seed blend to help with inflammation. Most days, she does really good to tolerate her current state of living; but if we miss a day with the aspirin (some days even adding 2gr Butte – which starts to take a toll on her digestive system), then she’s hurt’n!

I have ordered your OCD pellets hoping that they will help with the issues we are seeing in her navicular bone/bursa – any suggestions? We will be taking her in for another navicular bursa injection (with the associated x-rays) in 2 weeks, but am tempted to push them back another 2 weeks to see if the OCD pellets show any assistance in the bone matrix….I want to get her sound enough to alleviate some of this pain (ideally to breed…. again, any suggestions?). I am also more than willing to forward you a cd of her x-rays if you’d like, for “research.”


Kristin Kariger

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2 Responses to “Quarter Horse Mare with Sore Feet”

  1. DocBeebe says:


    Just a quick note about any “bagged ” feed. Check the ingredients: Protein 14-16% / Fat 2-6%. The rest is Carbohydrate. With a 16% Protein and a 4% Fat = 20%, we must have 80% Carbohydrate. Even if half (40% of the 80%) of the Carbohydrates are good Carbohydrates (fiber), the others are simple Carbohydrates (sugars). That’s why I like to feed more oats as they have less simple sugars and a lot of good fiber. Just a suggestion. Keep up the good work – things will be O.K.

    Dr. D.R. Beebe

  2. DocBeebe says:

    My heart goes out to you. You really have a project. I have some concerns, however. You are feeding a lot of oil (1 gal. of sunflower seeds/day + 4-6 oz of corn oil/day). High levels of oil tie up your Vitamin A. I do like high levels of fat in a diet, but perhaps you should consider cutting back on the oil. I also would like to address the injection of the navicular bursa. Recent research has shown injecting the Coffin Joint with vetalog is very effective in alleviating the inflammation of the bursa. This procedure would, in your case, also help as you are having some issues with the coffin joint (extensor process bone chips). OCD Pellets given at a dose of 2 oz/day should certainly help. I would also suggest you feed more oats and less sweetfeed. Sweetfeed is sweet and these sugars cause the blood sugar to increase along with increased insulin – these blood sugar and insulin spikes are detrimental for the formation of a strong bone matrix along with increasing the incidence of inflammation/arthritis. If you would like to contact me personally, I would be pleased to try to help. You can get my cell phone number from the office. I am not able to answer every time but if I do not please leave a message and I will get back with you ASAP.
    Thank you for your interest in OCD Pellets. Have a great day.

    Dr. D.R. Beebe

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