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

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    OK - I'll try for Zephyr.

    I did some lines on the feet - I picked the Left Front side images.

    First - don't worry about his pastern angles, we have already decided that pastern angles are not what you should measure to - as they are not constant. See one of SLB's fabulous posts in a previous page.

    ** my comments based on pictures provided, and MAYBE are incorrect if the picture is distorted due to angle! ** EDITTED NOTE! I posted this and IMMEDIATELY realized my post was based on thinking the original was BEFORE and AFTER, not the same trim. WHOPS. But that made me realize that my line drawing indicated something interesting… read on!

    Here are the originals, without lines

    So - After looking closely at them zoomed in - I think that the "Inside" has a more “under run” heel to it. The heels appears to be longer in relation to the foot, and its angle is more steep as illustrated by the blue line.

    The Outside picture almost has a really nice heel - at least a good portion of the foot coming out of the heel is at a good angle, and seems as if it’s growing in on the right track.

    So – basically there is a difference in the heel growth outside to inside on these LF’s. Maybe it’s camera angle. Maybe its causing these flares you mention….. or visa versa, chicken egg.

    My other thought was that the toes could stand to be squared or shortened. They seem longish and pointyish.

    I also stuck an interesting pic on the bottom of the image - the RF seems to have a dish in it? I know he is standing funny, but the HOOF should remain normal regardless of his "boney column", right?

    I didn't look closely on the right front like I did the left's, but it LOOKS a little clubby or something, but that dish is throwing me off. Am I seeing things?

    The bottom’s don’t look good to me. You said that yourself. I almost wondered, on the whiteline spread, if it was a gravel or abcess or something. Other than “they don’t look good” – I have nothing constructive to add…. And that comment in itself, isn’t really constructive, so I’ll stop myself there.

    Alright - I'm ready for another to critique *my* critique. Don't take my word for it!

    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. **

    [This message was edited by mcmIV on Mar. 04, 2003 at 08:05 PM.]
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    Proud member of the * Hoof Fetish & the NervousNellieWorryWart* cliques!

    Comment


    • Martha...some good observations and comments. Here is a sole pic that will help you understand better why you think the heels appear longer on one side than the other (they are), as well as the toe is to long, and what is happening because of it.

      The red lines indicate where the heel currently is and approx. where point of breakover appears to occur. Notice it is at an angle. Generally horses with long toes will begin to breakover at an angle inorder to avoid the long toe and inappropriate point of breakover at the end of it.

      The green lines indicate approx. where the heel and toe should be. The blue line, the point of breakover. Currently there is more than 50% of the foot in front of the widest part of the foot (a little behind the apex of the frog)...meaning that the bulk of the weight is being carried on the front half of the foot rather than the back half. The black arrows are exactly the same length, so you can see the difference in heel height....the right side (from the view) is forward of the left.

      White line separation is most likely a simple result of the misplaced, distored hoof capsule and will resolve as the hoof approaches optimal form. The flares are also a cause.

      I thought I should add....please Zephyr's Mom, don't use these examples as trim guides. I have no idea where the landmarks are for the coffin bone, so I am only guesstimating where these points should fall. You really should get x-rays, find the sole calous that protects the tip of the coffin bone and determine were point of breakover should be and how far back to cut the toe.

      Proud member of the * Hoof Fetish Clique *

      [This message was edited by slb on Mar. 05, 2003 at 12:41 AM.]
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      December 13 - National Day of the Horse!
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      Comment


      • The dish....Martha, the reason that you are confused about the dish is two fold...one, because it is there (although slight - a result of the long toe and white line separation allowing the hoof capsule to distort away from the parallel connection with the coffin bone...similar to what happens in founder. It is simply a flare and should be treated as such...taken off. And, secondly, because the broken back axis results in an optical illusion that you can't quite pinpoint. But, you can see it well in another foot noted in my comment pic below.

        There is also a slight difference in toe angles from one foot to the other. However, I wouldn't worry as much about that as I would all the other stuff.

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

        Comment


        • <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by katelyn:
          More info on the farrier. He had undetected White line for a while (had a resection, almost all the hoof wall was taken off) and typical bad feet. It wasn't so much one botched trim, but more of a continual 6 month thing (stupid me, I didn't know).<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
          OK, I think now I would agree that the farrier may have foundered your horse!
          <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>I'm sure you can imagine how terrible I felt......I had no idea.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
          Yes, I talk to people all the time that feel that it was their fault...but you can't blame yourself for trusting a "professional" and for not understanding the entire workings of the foot....that's like saying that you feel you must know the entire workings of your body because your doctor might be incompetent (but, that's another thread...)

          <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>We too all thought of a metabolic/underlying problem. Actually, my vet thought it was Cushings or insulin problems (only 9 yrs old)...but all the blood work came back clear (did each test 2 times).<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
          Just a note about this...I also have a mare that continues to suffer laminits every winter (each bout is milder, so we expect that we are begining to get a handle on it). But, we have drawn bloodwork on her 3-4 times with no abnormalties. Because it is a defined cycle, it is obviously metabolic in nature. She is carb intolerant (responds to high carb levels with signs of laminitis, but doesn't have high insulin or glucose levels).

          <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>The new hoof growth does look better, so as his foot grows out I assume it will look better as it grows out.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
          Yes, it should start looking better this summer as it grows out. The problem will be in keeping correct hoof form and alignment as it grows. The hoof will want to diverge from the "normal" parallel path to the coffin bone.

          <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>The first time he foundered was 2 years ago, and the rotation/sinking was pretty much put back into the correct position. So he really only has rotation on the front 2 now...but his coffin bone is sitting directly on his sole.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
          That will take time to fix...must first get a good stong laminar connection. But, as the new, stronger connection grows down, it will help "raise" the coffin bone up in the foot. Again, correct form with good verticle depth of foot (not the same as a long hoof wall) is important and helpful. You may have to wait 2 to several years for this to resolve.

          <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>He eats a lot less grain (was an OTTB), and also isn't allowed on grass (most recent founder was because barn workers put him on a new lush paddock for the entire day after being on a dry lot).<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
          I would most likely classify him as carb intolerant and put him on a forage only diet...things like beet pulp (without molasses), alfalfa cubes or pellets, and sunflower seeds are acceptable foods. Hay should be low in NFC..no more than 20%. Some horses can't take more than 12%. The beet pulp, cubes/pellets, and seeds shouldn't total more than 20% of his total diet by weight. You would also do well to get hay test for mineral balancing if possible. There is a great Yahoo group that deals with treating metabolic disorders...even if we don't know what they are...with mineral balancing and all forage diets. Check out EquineCushings for more info. Lots of cutting edge discussion and people to help you. Start with the New Member Primer in the files section.

          It sounds like you are already on the right track. Good luck to you and your horse

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

          Comment


          • <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by mcmIV:
            I think SLB should be salaried for this thread. What's your going rate SLB?! <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
            Thanks Martha...I'm not a professional, so I don't think I should get paid. I'm just sharing my opinions, experiences, and research. Wish HS would join in with his thoughts...but he is a professional and probably is busy with work.

            My going rate...if I can get even one person to gain an understanding and get their horse in a balanced trim with sound, healthy, happy feet...then, I have been rewarded for my efforts. In the case of this thread...maybe more like 5 would be good.

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

            Comment


            • <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Meg!:
              Well, the whole story is he developed an abcess one week after being reset and bleeding all over.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
              Do you mean that the sole was bleeding from the trim or there was blood coming out of the abscess blowout area?
              <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Vet thinks maybe the abcess was already there, and just didn't have anywhere to go as it was under his shoe.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
              This doesn't sound good either. Can't really tell because I wasn't there, but an abscess under the shoe sounds like misapplication of the trim or shoe or both.

              <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>I have another mare that bled when he did her feet, and she is fine. The pony with abcess bled much more. I was a little put off because the farriers explanation was that the mare has funky feet, and she has bled before. I couldn't get a specific explanation about why my gelding bled. I've never had any trouble before, and all of ours have great feet.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
              Is this a different farrier than usual, or a new one? Any time a farrier draws blood, it should be questioned. Any time blood is drawn, there is a chance of damage to the sensative tissue and infection. If blood is drawn on the sole, the sole is being trimmed to thin. If is is drawn elsewhere, there better be a darn good explanation...not just "funky feet".

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

              Comment


              • <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by betsyk:
                My 20-y-o Arab has always been sickle hocked and had trouble with long toes and no heels behind, pretty much no matter what anyone did. This last trim our farrier must have decided it was time to take a chance. He took his toes WAY back, so it appears that there's about an inch of foot ahead of the tip of his frog, and voila -- he stands under himself like a normal horse!<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
                Isn't it GREAT?!!
                <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Part of me is still holding my breath, because messing with a sound 20-year-old horse carries its own risks, but he seems bright and perky and not at all sore.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
                I can understand your concern. My husband and I were discussing this very subject recently. He, too, was concerned, but I asked if his 5-7 year projects were still sound and with good feet even when they were in their late teens and my primary riding horse (at 26). He answered yes, so my reply to this would be, it might not work for all horses, but so far has worked for all that my husband has trimmed.

                <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>So my question is --

                His front feet appear to follow the 1/3-2/3 shape described above in this thread. That 1/3 represents quite a bit more than an inch ahead of where my untrained eye estimates the tip of the coffin bone to be. His hind feet look more like my other gelding's feet when we were in the middle of reconstruction last year -- an inch or so of foot ahead of the tip of the frog, which is much much less than 1/3 of the foot. Why not do the fronts to match the hinds? it's not like he has much for heels in front.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
                Are the fronts distored also? Sometimes you can get a 1/3 2/3 configuration and still have distortion. If that is the case, (like with underrun heels) then the hoof capsule has migrated forward and shortening the toes more than the 1/3 goal is sometimes neccessary to get the foot to move back under the horse where it belongs. I think you have a good basic understanding of all this and it sounds like your farrier has his act together also.
                <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR> will the hinds reshape themselves to create that 1/3-2/3 ratio if he ever grows a heel?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
                Yes, as the hoof capsule migrates gack to where it belongs, then the form will start to look more like the optimal goal. However, if the heels are not addressed, then just shortening the toe will not allow for correct form...just a distorted foot with a short toe. Do you understand the difference?

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

                Comment


                • There......I think we're pretty well caught up on all the posts. If we missed anyone, just hollar...not ignoring, just so many posts to keep up with.

                  Thanks for all your participation and thanks Martha for starting this...this is great!

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

                  Comment


                  • <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by slb:
                    However, I wouldn't worry as much about that as I would all the other stuff. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

                    Thanks for your thoughts, slb.

                    I have to admit, I knew there were some problems, but I honestly didn't think it was as bad as all that! (I'm referring to the sole pic.) I mean, when I bought him I thought to myself, "What fabulous feet! Nice and round, and tough. He'll never need shoes!" All I'm saying is that it's a bit nervewracking to find he's actually got some pretty bad issues.

                    Don't worry, I won't do anything drastic myself. Maybe after his regular farrier does him in 3 weeks, I'll take more pictures and see if you think he's improved.

                    I do have one more question. Martha mentioned that pastern angles had already been determined not to be a factor. But you mention a "broken back axis." What is the difference? Sorry if this seems like an elementary school question.

                    Thanks!

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

                    http://www.ZEGifts.com
                    http://www.ZEGifts.com
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                    Comment


                    • I too, think slb should get at least eternal gratitude, if not pay for all her work!

                      I'm on hiatus a bit at the moment. We are at D+1 for Red Hills (D-day for the barn staff being the day our riders arrive!) and I've been away from the 'net and the next five days will get worse.

                      However, I did want to add/ask about bleeding from a trim. Buzz bled a bit from the toe of his front foot at his reset on Monday. I looked like this but my farrier assured me that that happens when you square/rocker toes once in while. He said that if he had hotset him in front it would have sealed it and we would never have seen it.

                      I've never seen this before, and I actually wondered if he'd had a small abcess there -- he pulled that shoe a week ago, and went around without one for a couple of days. This horse abcesses more than any I've ever owned. It is almost as if he's allergic to nails and or rocks -- anything he steps on, he gets an abcess and he's had more close nails (even when they are outside the white line) than any of my farrier's other clients. Actually, he's had more than all of his other clients put together.

                      So, since it bled a little, stopped and he isn't pasture lame, I've not paid a whole lot of attention. He will be 3 legged lame if it develops an abcess, so I should know.

                      That is, if someone at the barn tells me. Today is the day I start running out of time, unless I go out at 1 am to check on them.

                      Speaking of problems like metabolic problems -- have you guys seen a horse like this that seems "allergic" to nails? We thought this was a joke until he had three hot nails in the same reset, all safely outside the white line and we noticed he is reacting now to any injection (the vet says he's allergic to needles) and any little cut type place is developing an abcess like area.

                      Really odd. Of course, Buzzy is odd, so maybe that explains it!

                      So, have you noticed any bleeding with a rocker or squared toe? Is it really "normal" once in a while?

                      Thanks!

                      Libby

                      *Proud member of the Hoof Fetish Clique*
                      I have Higher Standards ...do you? Find us on FB!
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                      Comment


                      • Bensmom...IMO, a horse should never bleed. Perhaps there is a time when it happens that I am unaware of, but, in my mind, if the horse bleeds from a trim, the farrier hasn't a clue...or is pretty reckless with your animal. That's like saying its ok for you to bleed when you cut your fingernails!

                        If the horse bleeds, the farrier cut him too short, plain and simple. Even wnen resections are properly applied, there shouldn't be any blood. The farrier should know when to stop. In order to draw blood you have to cut into sensative tissue...not acceptable!

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

                        Comment


                        • I got my pictures up! Please let me know if I need to take more at different angles, etc. I took these right after I was done with my ride and dusted off his hoof with a brush (as well as I could- someone else was holding him). Please excuse the sand.

                          Hoof pictures

                          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

                          Comment


                          • Some comments on hot nails...
                            You'll need: 2 oz Scotch, 1 oz Drambuie, a dash of lemon juice, slice of lemon and orange, boiling Water, cinnamon stick... Oh, sorry, that's another thread

                            There are a couple of ways that a hot nail can occur. One is to set the nail too close to the white line, the other is for the path of the nail to bend and come too close to the sensative tissue further up in. Also, the wall between the sensative tissue and the white line can be too thin. When this occurs, the horse might not ever be lame, or it might be lame a couple weeks after shoeing.

                            In some applications, I think that nails that are too big for the job might be a cause. With wide web shoes (like NBs) nail placement is criticle and small nails are required. Some farriers simply force fit larger nails into the holes. Also, if the shoe is being set back, there is a chance for a hot nail because of the placement of the nail groove in relation to the hoof.

                            I really shouldn't even be commenting on this stuff because I haven't had any experience with it. IMO....it simply shouldn't happen. Once maybe, if the farrier is new to the horse. But, if it happened more than once...again another simple case of incompetent farrier, or one that simply doesn't care about your animal. It's just sloppy workmanship and shouldn't be acceptable.

                            But, now that I ranted about that...
                            In this case, I guess there could be a chance that the hoof wall is very thin. If that is the case, then the farrier should seek alternatives...like barefoot or glueons...some farriers are now gluing on metal shoes. But, it still boils down to a problem with the application. The farrier should have the skill and knowledge to know if the foot needs alternative applications!

                            Do you think I am being too hard on your farrier? Geezzz Bensmom...I know uneducated iron hangers that have more sense than this guy. Sorry, but that's my experience. Bleeding, hot nails...just unacceptable workmanship to me.

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

                            Comment


                            • Abscessing....
                              I think that there are several reasons for abscesses, but your remark about allergies or more likely metabolic disorders is a good start. Many horses abscess because of unbalanced or misaligned feet, and/or thin soles. Generally, these are directly related. More often than not, correct form produces tough thick sole.

                              But, aside from that, horses with metabolic issues do seem to abscess more often. We have found that these horses are often mineral imbalanced...most often a magnesium or selenium/vit E deficiency...sometimes excesses of other minerals like calcium, aluminum, or iron can interfer with uptake of other minerals thus causing imbalances. Field trials that we conducted resulted in fewer to elimination of chronic abscessing in all cases.

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

                              Comment


                              • Comment on the bleeding after trimming....never, never, never should this happen! I've been around horses for years and have seen some really not very good shoers and even those guys never drew blood. I would seriously consider finding someone else for the job! Something else to think about regarding the "hot nails", I had a horse that used to really react when the shoes were being nailed and he would be sore after shoeing. He would not react to just the pounding with the hammer so it was actually the driving of the nails. I suspected that he was very mildly laminitic in some way. Not one vet would agree with me and he was never diagnosed this way. However, now that his feet are balanced, he is no longer overweight and is on more of a cushings-type "diet" he no longer reacts to the nails. This is not quite the same scenario as your horse, but I thought I'd throw it out there for you. It was just so peculiar and like I said, no vets would ever back me up on it, but it seems to be fixed now. Also, the current farrier uses very thin nails, which also help a variety of problems. Just thought I'd give you something else to think about.

                                Comment


                                • Just a quick addition, regarding the abscessing. I knew some people who were working on horses with some pretty severe hoof distortions. They would really "get into" those feet...too much, in my opinion. Those poor horses would abcess all the time. They claimed that it was the old, necrotic tissue coming out from the bad shoeing, trimming. I wasn't around to see if those horses got any better, I doubt it. I thought that they were abscessing because the trimming was compromising the hoof's integrity too much. I'm not an expert, but it just seemed like too radical. I really think that a good farrier can make some good positive changes in two, maybe three shoeings and that the horse does not have to get worse before he gets better. That was this group's spiel and I never bought into it. PS It was not a Strasser group, although I know it sounds that way. Anyway, good luck!

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                                  • WOW Dune....I thought Strasser followers had a copyright on this type of thinking! So, they're right, Strasser isn't presenting anything new...there are others out there...OMG!

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                                    [This message was edited by slb on Mar. 05, 2003 at 05:31 PM.]
                                    December 13 - National Day of the Horse!
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                                    • Dressager...your pics are ready
                                      They were a little blurry, so I cleaned them up enough to talk about them. These present a very interesting issue. I think we would all agree that the sole view doesn't look to bad. I would say general shape isn't bad, but the protruding bulbs indicate contraction.

                                      However, the side view presents the reality. The toe is long and low as well as the heel. This results in the whole foot moving forward, misplacing the weight bearing forces and forcing the horse to walk on heels that are probably painful (thus he doesn't fully weight them resulting in contraction, resulting in further pain)...that doesn't mean that he would exhibit lameness either. The red lines are the current trim with the matching coffin bone alignment to far forward. The green lines and matching (filled in) coffin bone show how the foot should be a little steeper and moved back under the leg.

                                      There is a significant dish in the toe, so we will talk about that. I have incorrectly aligned the coffin bone with the red hoof wall angle(just thought of that and don't want to redo the pic). Had I correctly aligned it with the top of the hoof wall (where the dish is most indented) it would become evident why there is a dish to the foot. The hoof wall is moving away from the coffin bone at the bottom half of the foot. This is resulting in stretched white line and a toe flare (which I can't see, but can tell you is there). The laminar attachment at the bottom half of the coffin bone is weak. This is a setup for laminits/founder (mechanical). Some horses go their whole life like this sound, many do not.

                                      Also wanted to add...notice how the top of the hoof wall is close to my "improved" geen hoof angle. While this is not neccessarily a correct angle, it is closer to an ideal than the red lines. The top of the hoof is trying to grow in at a "natural" and optimal angle, but the long toe and flaring take the hoof wall in another direction...resulting in the dished look. This would probably be easy to fix, just by keeping the toe short and addressing the heels.

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                                      • <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Dune:
                                        ...Something else to think about regarding the "hot nails", I had a horse that used to really react when the shoes were being nailed and he would be sore after shoeing. He would not react to just the pounding with the hammer so it was actually the driving of the nails. I suspected that he was very mildly laminitic in some way. Not one vet would agree with me and he was never diagnosed this way. However, now that his feet are balanced, he is no longer overweight and is on more of a cushings-type "diet" he no longer reacts to the nails. This is not quite the same scenario as your horse, but I thought I'd throw it out there for you. It was just so peculiar and like I said, no vets would ever back me up on it, but it seems to be fixed now. Also, the current farrier uses very thin nails, which also help a variety of problems. Just thought I'd give you something else to think about. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>
                                        Dune, I for one support you in your thoughts on this. I have seen it more than once and after 3 years of treating metabolic cases that suffered chronic laminitis and "allergies", I can attest to the improtance of how well they seem to recover when the trim is correctly balanced and their diets are addressed to meet their "low" carb needs.

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                                        December 13 - National Day of the Horse!
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                                        • <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Zephyr'sMom:
                                          I do have one more question. Martha mentioned that pastern angles had already been determined not to be a factor. But you mention a "broken back axis." What is the difference? Sorry if this seems like an elementary school question. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

                                          No questions here are to elementary, this is just the basics ...

                                          Pastern angles are the angle that the pasterns exhibit. These are subject to change when the horse is in motion, or as the foot is moved forward or backward under the leg as the hoof angles change (or for other reasons). The angles and height of the heels also have a marked effect on pastern angle. This is evidenced when the heels become high and contracted. In order to relieve the pain, the horse starts weighting its toes...sometimes not enough for an untrained eye to notice. When this happens, it pulls the muscles short in the leg/shoulder area to help keep the painful heel from being weighted (or sometimes a non-painful heel from being over-weighted by a long toe levering the weight onto the heel). Soon the pastern and sometimes shoulder angles become steep and stay there. Think of this poor analogy...if you walk around long enough with your shoulders shrugged or head kinked over to one side, the muscles would eventually atune themselves to that position and shorten or lenghten to accommodate it. The same happens in the pastern and shoulders of the horse. If you relieve the heel pain or condition that causes "toe" walking, the pastern will relax and return to a more natural postition.

                                          A broken axis (forward or back) is the result of the interior bones (P1, 2, and 3) not aligning on the natural central axis that is needed for pain-free and optimal movement. In the broken back axis, the toe is generally to long and the angle to low. In a broken forward axis, the toe is generally to steep and possibly to short....sometimes called club or coon footed. Although we don't want to let the pastern dictate the hoof angle, the optimal angle will generally align itself so that there is a straight axis through the center of the hoof and the pastern or P1 (coffin bone), P2 and P3 (sorry left this out). This axis optimally should not be "broken". Often, farriers use the pastern to align the hoof wall, but we have seen from the many pics posted here that the hoof can be deformed and still aligned. So, if the goal of the trim is to attain optimal form and function, rather than some "dictated" angle (that may follow a pastern angle that is to steep or shallow because the foot is painful...or for numerous other reasons), then alignment will become natural and correct (supported by x-ray studies done by Page). This allows for the pastern angles to be skewed, but doesn't affect the form of the foot, and as the foot attains optimal form, the pastern will also.

                                          Does this rambling make sense?

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                                          [This message was edited by slb on Mar. 06, 2003 at 01:20 AM.]
                                          December 13 - National Day of the Horse!
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