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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan. 17, 2008

    Default Limb Length Disparity - Successful management advice please.

    I'd appreciate anyone sharing their experience on which field of expertise to use to manage this successfully.
    I have a 10 yr old 17.1 TB that I've owned for 3 yrs now. Last night after I picked out his feet in his stall I bent down to pick up
    his hoof pick and brushes; looked over my shoulder at where his front feet were before I stood up and noticed that his rt knee is roughly 1/4 of an inch lower than his left. His feet were squared up and his legs were evenly spaced and he was standing in a level spot. He's got some conformational quirks all over; very long legged, short backed, odd ball shaped feet and 6 months before I took him on he fractured his rt. lateral malleolus which healed pretty well but I think there was also some collateral lig involvement. He's lightly rideable.
    Before I go financially from pillar to post trying different professionals to see if I can or need to get him some help I'd love to hear the experiences of others that have dealt with this and if you found that chiropractors, massage therapists were the root to go or something else.
    Thanks a million.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr. 7, 2004


    Timely post! I have an oldenburg mare who has a club foot. She has been barefoot for almost 15 months now- in full work, competing at Training/First level dressage. It took a while, but I was able to get a farrier in our area with a good reputation for specialty shoeing, to take my mare on.
    He's only trimmed her a few times, though we've talked extensively about her club foot, movement, hoof health, etc. She moved better when she did have shoes, but pulled 11 shoes in 10 months- almost always on the club foot, so for the sake of my sanity, pulled her shoes completely.

    Anyway, now that the background is out of the way. The last time my farrier was out, he had me look at my horse's hindquarters, back, scapula/shoulders, pectoral muscles, and hoof placement from the front, back and sides. He then explained to me, what he had been learning more about as far as LLD. Though he himself did not have much experience shoeing horses in a way that compensates(?) for LLD, he had been studying the publications and work of Dr. Esco Buff who has apparently done extensive work with it.

    In the case of my horse, her club foot is her right front. Her pectoral juts forward on that leg, and her scapula is noticably higher then her left shoulder. When left on the crossties or halted in hand, she rarely stands "square" in front. I was bombarded with more information then I could soak up at the time, but the skinny of it was that on the leg that was longer, there was some deal with every 1/2"(?) that that scapula was raised over the other side, a 1/8" pad placed on that hoof. Something to do with the pads, the shoulder would rotate in a way that it was more "in alignment". I recall thinking that it sounded backwards- you would think it makes more sense to raise the "shorter" leg. I have to say though, we duct taped 2 pads to the club foot, and looked again at my horse from the front, back and sides, and there was a noticable difference in the height of her left & right shoulder (more even), and after walking off and halting, she consistantly stood "square" in front. I didn't want to put shoes/pads back on my horse that farrier visit since I had an upcoming event and didn't want to make too drastic a change right before it.

    Now, since I can't give any technical terms, or explain what was actually supposed to happen or how the idea of shoeing a horse with LLD, I do recommend looking up Esco Buff. My farrier has only shod one other horse where LLD was a factor in the hind end due to an injury as a youngster.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar. 24, 2004
    Central PA


    Esco Buff. He does clinics all over on LLD and has written a book on it. I you can't get him, he might be able to recommend someone in your area.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct. 21, 2003


    My pony had the issue with a mild clubby foot. I tried everything, but ultimately discovered she was best suited as a hunter. She was perfectly sound and even in front if allowed to go in a natural frame, but beimg on the bit, bending and doing lateral work made her sore in the shoulder. Corrective shoeing made her worse. My vet-chiro had one she had the same experience with.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul. 5, 2007
    Beside Myself ~ Western NY


    We had an old three gaited Saddlebred that had one knee higher than the other by almost a quarter inch. The short leg ended up with some arthritis in the shoulder, but that old guy was serviceably sound way into his teens. When the farrier finally noticed it, he trimmed and padded him to compensate.

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