I will never again buy a club footed horse. It cost me big BIG bucks, in farrier work, vetting too.
Over time my horses foot got worse, she had a hi-lo thing going on. And she got so she appeared to be lame. I had a shoer hand making shoes, and she would still depending on where she was on her foot cycle appear to be lame, off, or whatever. If I had been married to a farrier, maybe it would have worked out better?? BTW, you can't have a horse AT ALL like that when you endurance ride, or show english. They will pull you in a heart beat. She started to stumble at the most unexpected times. One time we almost went off the side of the mt. She also stumbled on total flat surfaces. No rocks no inclines pretty much perfect footing. I had to sell her to a once a month or less rider/home. Wow was she SO well bred, and oh so lovely too, great ride. But I could only afford one horse.
No. I will never buy another horse with one. Yeah, I know, some do fine, great for them. But what if this one doesn't? There are plenty of horses without a club foot. Club foots can change over time.
I bought the love of my life and he had a clubbed LF. Normal xrays good flexions etc etc. 6 years down the road after a very so far successful hunter career, he went lame. MRI showed that he had previously (guessing on the track) torn his DDFT and fractured his P3, which is probably why the club hoof resulted. Additionally, he managed to strain his collateral and sesamoidal lateral ligaments. That is what we are currently trying to figure out how to fix.
I don't think I'd buy another with a clubbed foot I cried for days after his diagnosis. He is still half hobbling after being nerved, although I think his pain is related to his more recent ligament strains.
I'd also like to mention we used to be able to keep his clubbed hoof nice and short and managed it will little to no problems. It always got longer than the RF more quickly. Just in the past year have we had issues with the growth causing significant changes to how he goes.
Thank you all for your comments. I am looking for a horse who can become an upper level event prospect.
Whoever it was who talked aobut the tripping got my attention. The terrain on cross country might be less than ideal for a horse with feet like this.
My farrier (who has just seen this one picture) commented that he would like to see both front feet in person. The low heel, long toe of the right foot worried him as much as the left foot. Beyond that he did not want to diagnose without seeing the horse. Since it is in another state, that ain't goona happen.
Another young horse I fell in love with today has had chips taken out of his ankle. My plan is to keep this horse for several years, until his talent makes him a profit making venture, and then selling him. But I do not want to start with a horse with dicey x-rays. He might be a hard sell. I need to arrange all my ducks now so I have the best shot I can to make a boatload of money on the horse I buy.
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I think I would be looking at both feet critically.
The LF is not trimmed well either. Yes, this horse probably has a high-low syndrome going on, maybe even a bit more pronounce than "average" (whatever that is). Maybe the LF IS a low grade club. But there is enough of a wave in the RF coronet band that tells me that foot isn't being trimmed properly, and the RF is out of balance enough that it tells me that's not being trimmed properly either. I suspect the difference in these feet is not genetically as great as this picture presents.
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______________________________ The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET
If you are looking for a performance horse, don't do it. I bought a 4 YO gelding with a mild club. Got him under saddle and hit the show circuit with gusto, he was being shown training level dressage. Went to a show two weeks before our regional show, scored 70's on all our tests, went home and he was lame. He had strained a tendon, went to a specialist who noted there was a lot of scar tissue in his tendon sheath, he recommended surgery, which I went through with. Three years later we still battle on going issues with the tendon, I have to be super careful of the footing he gets turned out in or is ridden in, I have spent thousands in vet bills trying to get him fixed up. I asked the same question you did and got tons of stories from people who had a club footed horse that was sound their whole lives. I know a "perfect" horse can develop soundness issues, but why start with one strike against you? For the number of horses that are on the market, I'd say keep looking, it's not worth the heartache. I'd never buy a club footed horse again.
I would take a club foot over the chips in the ankle. From a buyer's perspective, I did buy a mare with a club foot. She was very green and out of shape. She has been barefoot the whole time, I trim her, and she is now 4th level PSG within five years and two foals. No soundness issues with the club foot. It's something I manage, just like her other issues. Oh, by the way, she lives in a 60 acre pasture with steep hills and really uneven terrain and does Man From Snowy River kind of trail riding with me, and I have never once had an issue with tripping.
I would let the farrier/vet speak to their side of it, as they have chimed in, but there are a LOT worse things horses can have and people are buying them. I would certainly not rule out something you're interested in because of it.
I would consider buying a horse with a club if it was SOUNDLY doing what I wanted to do, at the level I wanted to do it.
I would not even consider a horse with a considerable club foot like in the picture otherwise. At five, I cannot imagine this guy has proven that he'll remain sound at the upper levels, so it would be a pass for me.
As for horses with chips, I would ask to see the images from the scope when the chips were removed. If there is little to no grooving in the cartilage and my vet approved the radiographs, I would not have any issues moving forward. If chips are removed before there is cartilage damage, there are generally very few future problems.
I have a thoroughbred with a moderate club foot. 10 years of jumping and showing throughout the entire summer has proved to me that his foot, legs etc. are just fine. I never tried to re-angle it, or "fix" it as there really was no problem. Otherwise, his front leg conformation is very correct (not over at the knee, behind the knee and pastern angles on both legs are equal) - I think this also plays a role in soundness. Some club foot horses have bad knees/ankles and angles not just related to the club foot.
I think some horses can be just fine and never have any issues, while others do have difficulties. I think it not only depends on the severity of the club foot, but how fast (and if) the farrier alters the foot.
A bunch of years ago I was shopping for a dressage horse; tried a lovely mare, 6 yrs old, nicely trained, sound, good show scores. She had a mild looking club. I did feet xrays and owner offered my vet old films from when the mare was 3 yr old. There had been clear rotation in the club foot, so I ran away from this one. Not too long later, I found out that the mares full sister also had a club, and that the dam did as well. The full sister made it to at least 4th level, maybe PSG but was still not all that old when retired - maybe 10ish.
We don't get less brave; we get a bigger sense of self-preservation........