Completely agree! I have 3 OTTBs and they are all barefoot with great feet. I've had a couple in the past with bad feet, but for most of them, the key is giving them some time to adjust to a lifestyle change and then managing them correctly. I've never understood the saying "crappy TB feet."
1) They don't breed for good hooves. Many TBs are not only thin skinned they have thin soles and walls. Some if it is genetics. 2) They let them grow a lot of toe, and the heels become under slung. That is a typical TB track hoof. I don't know why they think that running on clown shoes with no heel is a good thing, but there you have it. Once they are properly trimmed, bringing the toe back and taking nothing off the heel for awhile you wind up with a proper looking foot.
I have on that still gets the small nails because he has a thin hoof wall.
There are other things that can be corrected with proper nutrition. Mine gets Grand Hoof pellets with MSM. He has since he was 2. He is also fed a balanced diet.
... 2) They let them grow a lot of toe, and the heels become under slung. That is a typical TB track hoof. I don't know why they think that running on clown shoes with no heel is a good thing, but there you have it. Once they are properly trimmed, bringing the toe back and taking nothing off the heel for awhile you wind up with a proper looking foot.
Well, that's my point...TB hooves don't HAVE to be crappy...they can be a "normal" foot just like any other breed. Like I said, I think its a management issue, not a breed-specific issue.
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I'm not asking why OTTBs come off the track with crappy feet, I know why.
I just think after they go to a new home, the owners always say "Ugh, my OTTB has such typical TB feet..." They don't need to remain crappy just because they weren't taken care of at the track...make changes to give them a good foot!
"If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."
Thoroughbreds are not bred with good feet in mind. That's not to say all of them will have bad feet, but breeders do not place importance on passing on genetically sound hooves. Compared to say, a ranch bred QH,who is bred to have feet that will stand up on all terrain, no matter what, TBs will have a much higher instance of poorly made feet: thin soles and the like.
That being said, I know a number of TBs who are quite happy going barefoot. My mare has decent feet, and with the help of a good farrier, she now has pretty great feet! She wears front shoes and is on an MSM supplement.
Genetically, TB feet are not the greatest. That's just the truth. But a good farrier can make a world of difference, as the OP stated.
I completely agree SFH! If they were managed properly from the beginning, so many of us wouldn't be dealing with the issues that we do and I also feel that more would come off the track sound if they weren't raced in clown shoes. I don't believe for one second that the horse gains any ground or races any faster with LTLH's.
Boyle Heights Kid 1998 OTTB Dark Bay Gelding
Tinner's Way x Sculpture by Hail to Reason "Once you go off track, you never go back!"
There is some thought that it makes them break over in a manner that makes them faster. It doesn't. The nutrition is different probably mostly balanced if they are using commercially prepared feed.
Crappy to me are the thin, shelly, feet produced by improper nutrition and genetics. Track feet are from incorrect shoeing and trimming. Even with correct trimming and shoeing the first kind of feet can only be improved to a certain point.
I think something else to consider is the farrier. It takes a talented farrier to rehab a LTLH foot, and if you don't have that sort of talent available, well, then you live with it and make excuses (or at least explanations.)
Sometimes the horse also just needs time. I have one right now with pretty crappy feet. They're improving and she's barefoot (has been since she came off the track) but my farrier and I don't expect that she'll have anything approaching a "good" foot until she's grown out the entire hoof capsule. If I didn't have the time and she needed shoes, I don't think we'd see nearly as much progress as we're getting with her barefoot.
My guy doesn't have crappy feet IMO, although he does have sensitive feet. He only has front shoes and after some initial foot rehab (he did come to me with long toes, low heels) his feet look fabulous. He does fine on rocks/uneven footing/whathaveyou so long as he has front shoes on. I'm comfortable with that.
1) They don't breed for good hooves. Many TBs are not only thin skinned they have thin soles and walls. Some if it is genetics. 2) They let them grow a lot of toe, and the heels become under slung. That is a typical TB track hoof. I don't know why they think that running on clown shoes with no heel is a good thing, but there you have it. .
I remember hearing, from the mouth of a well known, relatively famous trainer who shall remain nameless, that the long toes on the front are so the horse can pull himself along faster as he can dig into the track better and he went on to explain that the back feet are irrelevant as all the back end does is trail along and support the rider. Damned near died trying not to laugh out loud and finally exited because his theories were getting more and more bizarre and people were just lapping up these gems of wisdom and the other trainers were agreeing very loudly that the famous (for these parts) was absolutely correct. That school of thought still carries on and is perpetuated and, yes, said trainer is still training, and still laming dozens of horses a year. The man has a 50 horse stable and rumour has it, he starts with 3 times that number and just lames them one after another. He never races anything older than three because he breaks them down by the end of 3yo stakes. No one ever questions him though.
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1) They don't breed for good hooves. Many TBs are not only thin skinned they have thin soles and walls. Some if it is genetics.
Sounds like my TB mare (OTTB, ex-broodmare). Same farrier for 3 horses, a pony and a mini and only one with "crappy" feet - thin walls, thin soles. She wears shoes, everyone else is barefoot. It's not the diet or the trim, it's the genes. (In her case).
Some TBs have crappy feet. I have owned many with fabulous hoof conformation and quality.
Some TBs may have shelly feet due to poor nutrition, or have contracted heels from poor farriery. Those horses situations can be resolved through due dillegence.
But some horses though have really crappy feet due to genetics. I'm not just taking about a bad trim ie LTLH, but foot conformation, thin soles and negligible digital cushion. Sadly I owned one of those. Big Brown is another example. Remember him? He won the Derby and the Preakness, and sprung a shoe in the Belmont. Money and care certainly weren't an issue for him.
I have to agree with what a lot of other posters have said: some OTTBs will always have crappy feet, regardless of their post-track hoof care regime. Sure, there are things owners can do do mitigate hoof problems, but as far as I know, there is no panacea for genetically crappy hooves.
Got my TB when he was 18. He had been shod all around from his track days until I got him. He had TERRIBLE feet when I got him. The first thing I did was have the farrier out (but not before he managed to pull two shoes...in 12 hours) and she pulled his shoes, trimmed him up, and told me to use my QH's boots if he was sore or ouchy.
The horse never took a lame step. He is sound on pavement, gravel, rocky trails, etc. I don't buy into the crappy TB feet. I buy into the crappy farrier!!
3 Tbs at my barn, all have great feet. 2 are barefoot, 1 is UL eventer and is shod in front.