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Post your Feet Pictures! (AKA: Good Hoof Stuff Every Horse Owner Should Know!)

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  • <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Dune:
    It is a great idea in theory, but is not perfect, and you still have to have a farrier that can perform the trim/shoeing job for you. I just don't see that it is any more helpful than just taking the x-rays and shoeing/trimming from those.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Dune, you raise a good point. I evaluated the software for hubby thinking he may want to use it for tough cases, but in all reality saw what you did...x-rays provide much the same info.

    IMO, it provides farriers that can't copy the x-ray info onto the real foot with a way to do that. I do see a need for it in some cases, but generally not.

    And, I agree...you can still have a farrier trim incorrectly no matter what you use to determine correct balance. The key still lies in the farrier understanding the way to accomplish a trim that correctly balances and aligns the bones.

    Proud member of the * Hoof Fetish Clique *
    December 13 - National Day of the Horse!
    Proud member of the * Hoof Fetish Clique *

    Comment


    • Ok...that's about it for tonight...I'll come back to discuss some of the other questions tomorrow night (or is that tonight).

      Dune...thanks for your contribution...I wish more people would comment with their experiences what worked or didn't work. We have a pretty narrow view here.

      Proud member of the * Hoof Fetish Clique *
      December 13 - National Day of the Horse!
      Proud member of the * Hoof Fetish Clique *

      Comment


      • OK, so I'm back...Bensmom's question about cutting the toe to short was bugging me, so I wanted to address it.

        Yes, you can cut the toe to short, that's when you hit blood. So, now that I gave the simple answer, here's the complex one. If you try to match pastern angles (which are not fixed), if you assume the toe as the point of breakover, or if you "dub" the toe back (like make a verticle cut across it) with no regard for the sole, then yes, the toe can be cut to short. What happens...changes in stride/gait, possible soreness/lameness, and possible tripping/stumbling.

        How to avoid cutting the toe to short...
        Trim to the live sole plane. Pay attention to the calous at the tip of the coffin bone. This area needs to be left intact. Removal in any way means weakening of the structure that supports the coffin bone. This is generally the location for the point of breakover. The hoof should maintain a natural 1/3 (front) 2/3 (rear) ratio from the widest part of the foot (just behind the apex of the frog. Cutting behind that ratio or cutting into that calous result in to short a toe. Dubbing vertically can result in cutting into that area. Leaving the toe, placing the shoe back to optimize breakover, and rasping the toe in a 15-20 degree upward angle from the toe calous provides a natural toe that appears short, but is correctly balanced and will blend into the point of breakover and the shoe.

        So, Bensmom...did that help?

        Proud member of the * Hoof Fetish Clique *
        December 13 - National Day of the Horse!
        Proud member of the * Hoof Fetish Clique *

        Comment


        • Bensmom...here's another thought that might be easier to understand...this is a big generalization, but serves to simplify the aspects of "toe shortness". If the spacial orientation of the coffin bone is correct (not rotated) and you parallel the dorsal hoof wall with the coffin bone, then the angle that it follows to the ground will be the correct length for that foot. In other words, to long a toe, or to short a toe is the result of the angle it assumes (unless it is to long from lack of trimming...which is a flare...like any other).

          When the hoof capsule is not correctly aligned to the coffin bone, then the coffin bone will be "rotated". This could be from actual rotation, or more commonly, from the hoof wall being allowed to grow away from its correct postition around the coffin bone.

          How's that?

          Proud member of the * Hoof Fetish Clique *
          December 13 - National Day of the Horse!
          Proud member of the * Hoof Fetish Clique *

          Comment


          • Ok so I admit I didn't look through this entire thread for info I am searching for, it's late and I'm pooped. So perhaps wthe answer to my question is in this thread. Someone let me know if it is. But...

            My horse is recently barefoot (well 8 weeks now)in the hind per my barn owners request. He has long toes low heels up front and in back. perhaps he has underun heels as well ? (I am just learning all this vocabulary) Anyhoo I read in a CHerry Hill Maximum Hoof Power book that the frog should not rest on the ground in a barefoot shod horse. My horses frog does. Actually if I pick up the hoof and rest a straightedge across the hoof, the frog is higher than the walls of his hoof, esp in the heel area. So therefore he must be resting his weight on his frog more than his hoof wall right? This is bad right? How bad?

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              Hmm the frog question is interesting.... I'll let the experts take that one. From what I've been learning, the frog SHOULD in ideal circumstances (barefeet) be in contact with the ground, at least at maximum weight bearing.... but the to extent you describe.... hmm

              As for long toes, low heels - READ THE THREAD. It's why I started it, I have the same problem, along with, oh maybe.... 60-90% of the horse population not living in the wild.

              I have some good pictures, I think, of my horse Java - I posted them from December on the first couple pages, and then updates later on in Feb., and there is a nice improvement in some respects. Many many comments here regarding the low heel long toe problem. You will see pictures reflecting this from all of us throughout the post.

              martha

              martha

              Proud member of the * Hoof Fetish Clique *

              **Give a person a fish and you feed them for a day; teach that person to use the Internet and they won't bother you for weeks. **
              Proud member of the * Hoof Fetish & the NervousNellieWorryWart* cliques!

              Comment


              • Just now found this post! I've been working with Zephyr's feet for the last couple days. He saw the farrier 5 weeks ago for a trim, but was starting to flare. It will be another 3 weeks before the farrier is back.

                I do not profess to be any kind of foot expert, nor have I ever worked on any other feet than his. However, a farrier-friend of mine gave me a rasp last summer, and told me to keep his feet cleaned up between farrier visits. I didn't do all that much, nothing more than keep the edges from being rough and chipped.

                I've been doing a lot of research in the last couple days since I noticed the flares starting again, in the hope of being less clumsy about trimming, and more knowledgeable. I also suspect my farrier rushes through the trim, an leaves a lot to be desired! I want to be able to talk to him about it and not sound like an idiot.

                In particular, Zephyr's left front foot tends to grow longer on the inside of his toe, and he develops a flare there. Also, his hind feet both have stretched white lines on the outsides with teeny tiny corresponding flares, and he stands a little bit toed out behind. Plus, he almost never stands square, behind. Usually, it's the right hind foot that he places forward, and it's usually by at least 12".

                Can y'all take a look and give me your thoughts? FYI, he's a 7yo gaited RMH/Arab, and he goes barefoot year round.

                Some of the photos have a "before" shot on top, and an "after" shot on bottom. I'm sure there is still work to be done - today I tried to do only what I knew was OK, with the plan of coming here for guidance about what else needs to be done!

                Here's a link to a webshots album, with all the photos. I've made notes on the photos where appropriate. LOL http://community.webshots.com/album/38083743zOLXtA

                Thanks in advance for any help you can give!
                -Zephyr's Mom



                http://community.webshots.com/user/sharon_kenney1359

                http://www.ZEGifts.com
                http://www.ZEGifts.com
                http://community.webshots.com/user/sharon_kenney1359

                Comment


                • wow...i just found this thread and have spent the last 2 hours reading it. it is fabulous!

                  so now i have a question of my own. about a year ago i bought a big 16.2 QH as a resale project. his feet, esp. the front, were pretty bad in that they didnt match at all. the left front was okay...a little long of toe, short of heel, and just generally flat, but not too bad. the right front however was totally different. much more upright (although not clubby) with high heel, not much frog and a short toe. the horse passed his flexion tests in all four legs, although the vet thought there was a *little* something in the right front, but couldnt pinpoint what/where. i didnt get x-rays because this horse was a bargin and i honestly didnt really have the money (i know, poor excuse...). also, this vet hardly ever gives a clean soundness check for any horse...we call him the lameness nazi . when i got this guy i was a working student in southern pines, so for 3 months he had a great farrier who managed to get both feet in better balance and more matching...the left still had a tendancy to be a bit flat and the right a little upright, but much better. then i went off to college, and the horse went home to alabama, where there is a shortage of good farriers (at least in my area). my mom had recently switched to a new guy, because of some personal issues with the old guy. ive never met the new farrier or had a chance to talk with him, but im not a hugh fan of what has happened to our horses feet. but i digress, thats another story for another day.

                  anywho, i have now brought the before mentioned horse up to school with me to work with a bit more and then find another home for him. his feet are right back where they were when i got him! if not worse! ive found a farrier up here who im happy with who has shod him once, and is again working on evening up the feet. now this horse has never, and will never be the greatest mover in the world, but i have noticed since i have him back in work (he was out of work for ~6 months) that he feels slightly uneven in the right front. defintly not lame at all but just slightly different. back during his soundness exam, i wondered if the *slight* something in the right front was due to his foot, and i also wonder if it is now.

                  i dont have any pictures, im sorry, and i realize that without actually seeing the horse, it is hard to give advice about this kind of thing, but i was just wondering if anybody had any opinions/ideas about it.

                  hope that all made sense. thanks.

                  Comment


                  • Thanks for the speedy reply martha. I had also thought that the frog was to come into contact with the ground to "pump blood" into the hoof area. But this one book, the Cherry Hill Maximum Hoof Power, states that is a myth. Increased activity pumps blood from the heart through the limbs. The frog is not a second heart or so this book claims. The book furhter states "It is not necessary or desirable for the frog to bear weight when the horse stands on level ground." pp48. ALso the book said the "short walls casuses the sole to bear weight." and that "the (hoof) wall can wear so excessivly (when barefoot) that the horse is walking on his soles. This often results in sole bruises and sole abcesses." pp 18.

                    So since the farrier had me use Venice Turpentine on my horses soles because they were so thin, I was assuming, that after reading this, my horse with thin soles, wet weather, low heels and short to no hoof wall leaving the frog exposed to bear weight, I was doing my horse more harm than good by leaving shoes off his hind feet.

                    But I am hesitant to trust just one book to be an authority on this subject which is why I posted here, seems some farriers are following this thread.

                    I'll read the thread to learn more about the low heel, long toe issue. thanks but still windering about the frog issue.

                    Comment


                    • <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by NRB:
                      Thanks for the speedy reply martha. I had also thought that the frog was to come into contact with the ground to "pump blood" into the hoof area.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
                      Hi NRB, glad you joined us and brought such a good question. I'll try to add to Martha's comments and clarify why there is so much confusion. The "pump blood" theory is still a confusing and controversial issue. However, according to recent research at Michigan U (Bowker), when the frog comes into contact with the ground it increases circulation in that it improves action in the digital cushion. The digital cushion is a key structure that supports the rear of the coffin bone and absorbs concussion. It also is the one structure that suffers the most damage from poor trimming and shoeing. The problem is, with it being internal, it is often overlooked and the importance of its health ignored. It is thought that lack of health in the digital cushion could be the reason for several undiscovered lameness issues.
                      <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>But this one book, the Cherry Hill Maximum Hoof Power, states that is a myth. Increased activity pumps blood from the heart through the limbs. The frog is not a second heart or so this book claims.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
                      This statement is true to a degree. Most would not dispute the importance of increased movement playing the biggest role in increasing circulation...especially in the feet.
                      <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>The book furhter states "It is not necessary or desirable for the frog to bear weight when the horse stands on level ground." pp48.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
                      Wild horse studies compared to improved health in domestic horses and studies of such, have now proven this untrue. Bowker, Ovnicek, Jackson, and many others have found that the frog must touch the ground to improve health in the foot. If this doesn't happen, often the frog will over compensate and try to grow down to touch the ground. Ovnicek's EDSS system of therapeutic shoeing is based on frog pressure theories and is highly successful because of it. If the frog deteriorates because it is not retaining its elasticity and health (due to lack of ground contact), then the digital cushion suffers. If this happens, the whole foot suffers.
                      <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>ALso the book said the "short walls casuses the sole to bear weight." and that "the (hoof) wall can wear so excessivly (when barefoot) that the horse is walking on his soles. This often results in sole bruises and sole abcesses." pp 18.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

                      Noone can deny these statements...however, are these things beneficial or are they harmful? A seminar at Tufts U last year presented Strasser's trim (see previous posts early in thread) for peer review. The panel of farriers, vets, and a barefoot trimmer all questioned that Strasser's trim leaves the wall as a primary weight bearing surface. They all disagreed and indicated that the sole should play a part in weight bearing also. (See Hoof Care and Lameness Magazine...Strasser trim link off the front page...for more info on what they felt was wrong).

                      Ir is very true that in a hoof without sound internal structures, with a thin sole, or with the coffin bone tipped or sunk (from high heels or founder) that excess pressure is placed upon the sole corium from within...with additional pressure on the sole from outside, bruising is generally severe and difficult to resolve. However, if the hoof capsule is balanced and the coffin bone is in correct alignment, then the sole will generally thicken to protect the sensative structures and no bruising will occur.
                      <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>So since the farrier had me use Venice Turpentine on my horses soles because they were so thin, I was assuming, that after reading this, my horse with thin soles, wet weather, low heels and short to no hoof wall leaving the frog exposed to bear weight, I was doing my horse more harm than good by leaving shoes off his hind feet.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
                      I am not convinced that putting anything on the sole actually helps much...except that it drys it out...so, if overly wet, that may be a help, but could also be a hindrance. In the case of your horse's frogs, there could be a couple of general reasons for it being overly large. It could be robust and well functioning. It could be trying to protect the foot from imbalances that casue pain, loss of integrety, or improper function and therefore it becomes overly large as a case of protecting the foot. The final reason is that heels are really too long, not too short (if they are underrun...generally they are too long, but appear short) and the foot may be contracted. In some feet the frog makes an effort to touch the ground to help repair the problems realted to contraction and underrun/overly long heels. It is very easy to believe that a foot is healthy when it has high heels and contraction. The reason being that it does "seem" to meet the criteria for a good hoof: concavity, robust frog, apparently short heels. The reality is that the concavity is excessive from the heels pushing in on the cadual structures. The frog is becoming enlarged in an attempt to heal itself. And the heels are long, just growing forward rather than downward.

                      Proud member of the * Hoof Fetish Clique *
                      December 13 - National Day of the Horse!
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                      Comment


                      • Thanks for all the info slb!

                        So underrun heels are long heels that have, well the wrong angle, shooting forward under the hoof and having a smaller angle than healthy heels which may distance wise be shorter in legnth, but has a more open angle. ( ie open anlge like 45 degrees, smaller angle is like 35 degrees)

                        Lots to think about. I figured that one book doesn't have all the answers. In my case I just figured that there should be more hoof wall supporting the heel area than there is now, seems the frog and bulbs of the heel hold this horse up more than the hoof wall, but I'll need to post good picts to get more info here. And I'll talk to my farrier and see what he thinks when he comes in two weeks.

                        I guess what got me going was this horse has never been barerfoot in the 1 1/2 yrs I have had him nor in the 3 years his previous owner had him. So since it was wet soft going when we pulled the hind shoes I was happy to see his hooves stay intact. No tearing at the edges or anything. But now, some time after the second trim he's lost a fair sized chunk of hoof wall back near his heels. That got me worrying and looking closer. His hind feet are not perfectly flat, but they do not appear to be cupped enough, they tend more towards the falt end of the scale. And spring is coming, soft wet ground, seems to be ripe for stone bruises.

                        I agree that the frog should probablly contact the ground to maintain health, but to the degree that it contacts and carries weight is what I question. I mean even in a shod horse in soft or deep or wet ground the frog comes into contact with the ground, you can see it in the hoof print left behind.

                        Isn't a healthy sole cupped shapped a bit? Not flat? So in a sole like that the outer edges would bear mroe weight than the inner edges right? A flat sole would bear weight equally across all surfaces. My horses sole flexed under finger pressure at the farrier visit whne the farrier emntioned the Venice Turpentine idea. That is too much movement? A thins Sole?

                        I am aware of folks studying wild horses for more info on how we should shoe our own animals but am skepticle of how much info we can draw from these horse that live a life radically different from my horses. And really if my horse were wild, he'd be dead long before now. Natural selection would favor sound animals, kill off the weak and unsound. Man on the other hand goes around and actually BREEDS unsound animals. Sheesh, then nutbars like myself try to keep them sound as best we can.

                        [This message was edited by NRB on Mar. 02, 2003 at 11:14 PM.]

                        Comment


                        • Yes, NRB, you have the right idea.
                          Just to help clarify in case others are confused, here is EventGurlie's pic. This is very generalized in that I am using angles to indicate where the correct shape of the foot should fall...since every horse is different and we don't know what's inside, we know that these angles are not perfect, but give us a guide to discuss a better shaped foot.

                          Note that the heel is only slightly underrun (compare red line (ideal) to green (actual). See how the two lines are much closer as the heel is shortened? And note that the hairline doesn't look to bad, but diverges from the straight as the heel runs forwad and pulls it. Then, if I take and put a line across where I want to start getting the heels more correctly placed...note how the heel shortens, and the whole foot starts to come into a better alignment. I would also need to move the shoe back toward the red line to offer support for the heels.

                          The frog: according to Bowker's and other studies, the frog should touch the ground when the horse is standing on a hard surface. It should probably be sharing the weight with the two points on the heel where the wall hooks into the bars. In order for this to happen, it would tend to be slightly higher than the wall (as it compresses). But, most agree that it should taper down to meet the sole and is only higher in the rear most part of the foot. An important point in having the frog touch the gound is that the propiorceptors are mostly located in the frog and rear of the foot. These are the sensors that send messages to the brain (actually the spine) to tell the horse where and how he is stepping.

                          Your concerns about the coming wet weather and bruising are understood. However, if the spacial orinetation of the coffin bone is correct, then you shouldn't experience bruising. But, in most cases, even if the coffin bone is correctly oriented to the gound plane, in many cases of imbalanced feet, it will reside to low in the foot and thus already be applying pressure to the corium, which is enhanced by the sole softening caused during wet weather....resulting in bruising. I know that doesn't help you now, but if you plan to leave the horse barefoot, then this should be a goal.

                          Yes, a healthy hoof should show some concavity, however, not all feet are the same and some (like drafts) are more genetically prone to being flatter. But, generally, the healthier the foot, the stonger the interior attachments, the higher the coffin bone sets in relationship to the ground plane, and the the more concavity can be attained. You are right, if you can flex the sole with your finger, it is generally to thin. This, however, can generally be fixed and a thicker sole is more the result of a balanced trim and environment rather than genetics.

                          You raise an important issue about the wild horse studies. But, I think that those who study would generally be the first to agree that wild doesn't = domestic (there are some that don't agree, and so far from what I see, they have not been as successful in their efforts as those who agree). The important thing was to note what parts of the foot were used (and how) to support the coffin bone/foot. When these particular principles are applied correctly, it is apparent from anecdotal evidence, as well as recent studies, that addressing these differences in domestic horses are generally all that is needed to create a much healthier, stronger, and correctly formed foot. Their attempt has not been so much to match form as to match function. I think that few would debate that alignment of the boney column and proper functioning of internal structures to provide optimal shock absorbtion, correct placement of breakover to provide optimal movement, or correct spacial orientation of the coffin bone to prevent it from pressing on the solar corium (thus thinning and even bruising the sole) are, or should be, that different between domestic and wild horses.

                          Well...just my opinion, but I admit bias because I see these methods fixing bad feet nearly every day.

                          Opps...forgot to attach the pic

                          OK...that was freakin' huge...I'll try again.


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                          Comment


                          • Here is a good link that offers some info from the mouths of some of those (Gene Ovnicek) that study wild feet.

                            Additionally, the article below it will provide more (and better) info on trimming to attain a more balanced foot and how to address underrun heels and frogs.

                            NRB, there is some good info on the frog and why it might be overly developed.

                            Natrual Hoof Prints Newsletter

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                            December 13 - National Day of the Horse!
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                            Comment


                            • Also, wanted to show you all what would happen if we just took the heels down, and didn't address the toe. Now you can see how long the toe is and how steep the angles are in relationship to how the form would be if the heels are the right height. This should help explain why we sometimes don't see the flaws in some distorted feet.

                              Wanted to add...the begining angle on this front foot was about 60 degrees (better for a hind) and the foot trimmed to address the high/underrun heel now has a more appropriate angle of 50 degrees.

                              Please remember that these are simplistic in their attempts, and do not address the underlying structures or their orientation. But, serve to offer insight into what can happen when the foot is unbalanced.

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                              [This message was edited by slb on Mar. 03, 2003 at 01:51 AM.]
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                              • Beyond the Trim
                                Here is another pic to show what the coffin bone is doing as we take the heels down and get the hoof in correct balance. This is a poor attempt, with camera angles different, mismatched scaling, and the coffin bone angle exagerated, but will give you all and idea of how the spacial orientation of the coffin bone changes as the heels are lowered. Note, that not only did the coffin bone realign, but it also came up higher in the foot. While the first issue can be addressed in a couple of trims/resets, the second issue sometimes takes a year or more...depending on how damaged the internal structures are.

                                As the attachments become stronger and the digital cushion healthier, the coffin bone slightly "rises up" in relationship to the hoof capsule. The sole has a chance to thicken and the coffin bone "rotates" to more correct orientation within the capsule. Importatant here is that in reality, the hoof capsule is being reoriented, the coffin bone generally is fairly static in orientation (often even the case in founder).

                                Is this too much info...am I confusing everyone?

                                Proud member of the * Hoof Fetish Clique *
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                                December 13 - National Day of the Horse!
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                                • Hey Libby and Martha...how about some comments on Zephyr's feet!!!

                                  Proud member of the * Hoof Fetish Clique *
                                  December 13 - National Day of the Horse!
                                  Proud member of the * Hoof Fetish Clique *

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                                  • Right now I don't have time to read through all 20 (!) pages, but if I took some pictures of my horse's hooves would someone tell me if everything is okay?

                                    Dressager
                                    No two smart men ever agree on anything -Harry Truman
                                    You don't throw a whole life away just because its a little banged up - Tom Smith

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                                    • Sure Dressager...glad you could join us
                                      I think at this point we are having problems keeping up with the thread...but, we'll get to it asap.

                                      Proud member of the * Hoof Fetish Clique *
                                      December 13 - National Day of the Horse!
                                      Proud member of the * Hoof Fetish Clique *

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                                      • What angles do you want? Side? Frog?

                                        Dressager
                                        No two smart men ever agree on anything -Harry Truman
                                        You don't throw a whole life away just because its a little banged up - Tom Smith

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                                        • Ok, slb -- you come back from actually getting some work done and pose all sorts of interesting questions!

                                          I'm in the middle of prepping for Red Hills (the barns are up and it is only MONDAY! ) but I'll go through and comment and look as soon as I can devote some actual attention to it.

                                          Libby (whose been busy supervising the grumpy AAA guy changing my tire this morning . . .)

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