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

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  • slb -- you are SUCH an angel to try to keep up with both of my boys. On Ben, who is the concern of the moment, it is both hind feet. I will ask him exactly what he means by "narrowing" the foot -- he did take off the flares from the outside of both hind feet.

    One other thing that is interesting -- to me, I look at a flare and one thing that occurs to me is that where the flare is is taking too much stress -- i.e. when the hoof flares on the outside, it makes sense to me that the outside is lower than the inside and the tilt is squooshing the hoof outward to deal with the pressure. My farrier says the opposite -- that a flare proves that that is the high side, since it is striking the ground first and flaring out to try to compensate for being too high.

    So, you see, we've got a basic disagreement as to what we see and what it means. Just to recap -- this is both of Ben's hind feet and I believe that both the photos and the x-rays show high inside/low outside. In fact, I should go back a couple of pages, as you drew me lines that showed that the hairline backs up exactly what I think is going on.

    I'll be printing that out for our next reset!!

    Keep up the good work guys!

    Libby

    *Proud member of the Hoof Fetish Clique*
    *Proud member of the Hoof Fetish Clique*
    **********************************
    I have Higher Standards ...do you? Find us on FB!
    Higher Standards Custom Leather Care -- Handcrafted Saddle Soap

    Comment


    • I've been following this thread for awhile now, although I do have to admit I'm a couple of pages behind. However, I am looking for some opinions on a new type of shoe my horse is currently in. Like many horses, he has that long toe, low heel syndrome so my farrier has him in shoes that are convex, so that when he stands the back of the shoe does not actually touch the ground. Only the toe of the shoe touches. In theory, it's supposed to act something like a wedge by changing his toe angle, but at the same time it's supposed to allow his heel to grow since there is no pressure on his heel (not touching the ground). However, he's having some new back end issues that are currently pretty subtle, but I am afraid that they may be due to the shoe and may get worse. Any opinions on the shoe, good or bad, will be greatly appreciated!

      Comment


      • Hi everyone....sorry that I haven't had time to answer questions lately...under the gun to get taxes done!

        Anyway, thought that I would post these two very good articles that might help in filling in the gaps of my "simple" summaries of what is going on with balance and underrun heels.

        http://www.equineoz.com.au/art20.htm (underrun heels)

        http://www.equineoz.com.au/art14.htm (balanced defined)

        Happy reading....

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

        Comment


        • Thanks for the articles!

          Question (hope it hasn't already been discussed): Why are underrun heels so incredibly prevelant at the track. I know that "tradition" has alot more weight with trainers than science, but I don't get it. Go to Churchill and watch the paddock and underrun heels exisit in more than 50% of the horses. Higher in younger ages. I don't beleive it's genetic because I've seen it fixed again and again with OTTB. I swear I think trainers shoe intentionally to create underrun heels! What's going on?

          Comment


          • Well...they don't exactly shoe to promote underrun heels...they shoe to promote long toe, the heels just follow!

            Old track tradition dictates that horses run better with long toes...short breakover shortens stride, long breakover lengthens stride. But, as we have discussed here...point of breakover is not at the end of the toe, it is at the end of the coffin bone. Additionally, enhancing breakover can create many things...it can either lengthen or shorten stride, depending on how it is addressed and what the intent is.

            I could hazard a guess at why you see it more on younger horses than older...those younger horses will have a shorter career because they will fall into some sort of typical hoof/leg injury/pain that prevents them from furthering their careers. The older horses have better balanced feet and therefore can continue in their jobs longer without problems.

            I have a link somewhere to a winning TB that had its career suddenly ended as a result of it becoming so over at the knee...couldn't even stand straight. The person that now owns him balanced his feet and he is now sound and standing correctly!

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

            Comment


            • Bensmom....sorry I am pressed for time, but here is a link that might help you understand how fast a horse can and should be balanced.

              http://www.ironfreehoof.com/

              Look under case studies...3 (I think)...the unbalanced foot. Note how she indicated that she didn't shorten the longer side, but let the shorter side grow to match it. This is what I suspect needs to be done on Ben. Maybe your farrier can see that! Maybe if you say...good job with this side, now take off the flare and get the other side to match in length, he will get a clearer pic and be more postive in his approach.

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

              Comment


              • I decided to post the updated pics under this thread rather than the "Need donor legs" thread I started. Just a quick recap - redpony bowed his left front tendon in January. In looking for answers as to why this happened again, (third time, second time this leg), I posted some pictures I took in February and got some excellent feedback which resulted in a change of farriers. I think you can see the difference in the last two trims. His heel is starting to come more under his leg and he has more support. Let me know what you think.
                Attached Files

                Comment


                • WOW Redpony....what a difference! You must be pleases.

                  This is a standard example of how quickly those underrun heels can be brought back into shape. The solar view looks nice...bars nice and straight, heels full and in good position at the back of the foot.

                  Thanks for posting the progressive shots...it really helps for everyone to see the way this can go.

                  All you guys still waiting for underrun heels to be fixed...this is a heads-up....it can and should be done in a few trims...it doesn't take a year or more...unless the foot is really distorted.

                  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:
                    Well...they don't exactly shoe to promote underrun heels...they shoe to promote long toe, the heels just follow!

                    Old track tradition dictates that horses run better with long toes...short breakover shortens stride, long breakover lengthens stride. But, as we have discussed here...point of breakover is not at the end of the toe, it is at the end of the coffin bone. Additionally, enhancing breakover can create many things...it can either lengthen or shorten stride, depending on how it is addressed and what the intent is.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

                    *sigh* well THAT explains a lot. Thanks to this thread, and some other reading I've been doing, I've been quite disturbed by how long and un-balanced my horse's feet are. They seemed "normal" to me because it seems that MOST of the horses around here look that way, and all *4* of the farriers I've used in this area have trimmed that way. No wonder so many horses around here are navicular!!

                    Turns out the farrier I've BEEN using for the last 2 years does a lot of track horses. DOH!

                    I'm so desperate to fix my horse's feet that I'm flying a farrier in from the other end of the coast.

                    My horse has long toes, narrow solar views, heels tending to under-run, and wind-puffs in his hinds. My trainer's horses had wind-puffs, too, that went away with the new farrier. I have a sneaking suspicion that his stifles will straighten out a bit, too.

                    Comment


                    • Okee Dokee, I figured this thread needed bumping, and I've got some questions related to my previous post.

                      My horses front hooves are pretty normal, just way to long with a broken axis - I suspect they will be pretty easy to fix. It's the hinds I'm worried about. I'd post pictures, but it would be a major project to make that happen..

                      The last farrier has been shoing him with a rocker toe in back for the last year. At a glance, it always looked just fine, but on closer inspection, I'm worried. His heel angle is very low to the ground - I'd say it was under-run, but the front hoof angle is about the same! How could I not notice? Becuase the front of the hoof appears rasped off, so that the front is actually convex. ...not like squaring a toe at all, it's actually quite odd looking, now that he's over-due and it's starting to grow out. He's got trailers traight off the back of the shoe that look over 1" long. Looking at the growth of the tubules, it seems as if his foot would be enormously long if it weren't chopped short! We are letting him go over-due waiting for the new farrier to get here in 3 weeks (seems like forever!) and I'm planning on pulling his shoes next week. It looks like he must have a terribly broken axis, and likely explains the mystery wind-puffs in his hinds.

                      My questions: he's been having intermittent trouble with catching stifles, for which he has no conformational pre-disposition - is it possible that the broken axis in his hind is contributing? What should I do for him over the next 3 weeks? I ONLY have hilly terrain to ride on - do you think I should put him on vacation? (I hesitate, because time off always makes the stifles worse) Light hacking? He's turned out 12hrs/day.

                      I AM planning on calling my new farrier, but wanted some other thoughts on the matter. The farrier we're flying in is familiar with this horse and is very good with corrective and preventitive trimming/shoing. Right now, 3 weeks seems so VERY far away!!! Oh, if only I had learned more about this stuff sooner...

                      Am I blowing this out of proportion?

                      Comment


                      • Hi Inspired...
                        Yes, the stifle problem could be related to his feet, but more often I think if slight EPSM, mineral deficiencies (specifically magnesium and/or selenium and vit. E). Have you tried a high fat/low carb diet with added Se+E?

                        I think you are right, exercise is the best. Riding at a walk should not be too taxing while you wait for the farrier.

                        It sounds like your guys feet are long and flat looking as opposed to upright? Although not generally called for, radical dubbing of the toe would help get the foot back under him and get rid of the broken axis.

                        Good luck and keep us updated with the results of the trim.

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

                        Comment


                        • Hi guys....I just wanted to put a few thoughts out there about weak feet and shoeing to fix them...

                          I have recently been reading some threads about how owners have noted that some shoeing applications...egg bars in particular...have increased or created underrun heels. The replies from the professional farriers and trimmers were interesting.

                          While we have touched on the frog touching the ground or being supported, I don't think we really noted its importance in getting underrun or contracted heels fixed. It is pirmary to affording the correct support that allows the heels to grow correctly! Without correct heel support, the frog could prolapse through the shoe. Additionally, an already weak heeled hoof wall would only be supported on the wall and not on the structures in between that are primary in getting the foot to open up and move back. Further loading of the hoof wall (applying forces directly to) will only cause the weak wall to continue to move inward/forward, or even crush it.

                          The foot does not bear weight on the hoof wall alone...it should be distributed thought the foot. The rear 2/3 of the foot should be the primary weight bearing surface and the frog plays an extremely important role in this.

                          In addition to this, if the toes are not adequately shortened and point of breakover addresed, and the heels brough down...then the foot cannot be returned to optimal form.

                          Hope this wasn't too confusing....

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

                          Comment


                          • Thanks slb, I've already been keeping the EPSM idea in the back of my mind, however he seems to be blooming on his diet with nearly 20% fat INCLUDING oats (carbs). I did notice an improvement in muscle building on the higher fat diet, which has enabled me to condition the catching mostly out of him - although right now, with his toes so long, I don't think I can do much for him in that regard.

                            The think about chopping the toe off is: his axis is STILL broken. The angle of his heel is so flat, it is only about 15-20 degrees off the ground, and the rest of the tubules seem to line up with it. If his toe wasn't chopped off, his toe looks like it would be about a foot long!

                            Fortunately, my horse has good hoof, consistancy and growth. His feet are quite long right now, but not flat like some of the "pasture feet" I've seen.

                            The selenium is a good question. He does get supplimented with magnesium in his electrolytes. The vet's coming Saturday for spring shots, and I was thinking of having some blood work done...

                            <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Although not generally called for, radical dubbing of the toe would help get the foot back under him and get rid of the broken axis.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

                            How can it correct a broken axis if the angle of the trim still appears to be at the wrong angle? Maybe I just don't understand.

                            I should also note that his hoof walls are not symmetrical, one side being higher than the other and at different angles, front and back, looking generally unbalanced. They didn't look like that 2 years ago...

                            Comment


                            • <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>
                              How can it correct a broken axis if the angle of the trim still appears to be at the wrong angle? Maybe I just don't understand.

                              I should also note that his hoof walls are not symmetrical, one side being higher than the other and at different angles, front and back, looking generally unbalanced. They didn't look like that 2 years ago...<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

                              It sounds like your horse's feet are overall unbalanced. Look back of some of the pics that I posted and comments that I made addressing unbalanced feet. The feet should be as symetrical as possible, otherwise there is misalignment in the joints...this will eventually result in pain somewhere in the upper body or legs. There really is no excuse for the hoof wall to be unbalanced like this...the farrier must be having lots of "bad hair" days if it is.

                              As to changing angles through trimming:
                              This is done all the time...it is how a deformed foundered foot is returned to healthy form. The farrier must realize where the underlying coffin bone is and trim to make the hoof wall parallel the same planes. The angles are set by nature, but the farrier's hand changes them everytime he/she trims. Sometimes the changes are positive, sometimes (as it sounds in your case) the changes are negative.

                              In the case of long toes...most likely the toe is slightly dished...generally the upper 1/4-1/3 (depending on severity of deformation) of the hoof wall is growing at a correct angle. The toe hasn't really started growing at a "wrong" angle, it has started to stretch and seperate at the white line and thus the forces of the long toe have pushed it out and away from the parallel connection with the coffin bone. The connection at the bottom of the toe (depending on how severe the stretching/seperation is) is just causing problems for the horse and is not of any value anyway because it is usually damaged. By cutting it back, the leverage is relieved and the hoof wall can now grow straight at the correct angle from the coronary band. This is sometimes refered to as "unloading" the hoof wall...this relief of forces on the wall allows it to grow as it was intended. The same is true of flares that form on the side of the foot. Farriers generally understand not to leave them, it just doesn't make sense that they don't understand not to leave one at the toe...they are identical.

                              As the hoof grows, if the toe is kept at a proper length, it will allow the hoof to keep growing parallel to the coffin bone...the angle it was intended to be at. Once the angle of the hoof wall is back in parallel with P3, as long as the heels are the correct height, then there cannot be a broken axis.

                              As the toes come back, the heels will also follow...just as they did when the toes crept forward. They will need to be trimmed (many times farriers back up the toes, but do not trim heels thinking that they are too low) to help return them to the widest part of the frog. Look back up the page and find Redpony's post...it has great examples of how the hoof angles and heels can be changed in just a couple of trims.

                              As to the low angles on the heels...they are either crushed or underrun. There are at least a half a dozen posts with drawings on what the angles should look like throughout this thread. Since I refuse to pay to post pics...I can't do that anymore, but they are mostly already there...you just need to find them. Probably if you run a search for my name, it will be easier to find them. When the toes get out of control, the forces on them cause the heels to follow forward. This in turn generally makes the bars start to curve. When the bars straighten, then you know that the forces are balanced and the toe and heel are in correct alignment.

                              Hope this helps....

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

                              Comment


                              • Thanks, slb! You've been so helpful in helping me understand some of the theory in a more practical sense.

                                You know, before he started putting shoes on my horse's back feet, the only problems he had were some minor cracks (which I now understand was likely from his toes being left too long). They were a bit out of balance, but never any sign of dishing, etc.

                                I'm trying to wrap my head around all this, so that I can be an intilligent horse-owner from now on. I've taken some books on horse-shoing out from the library, and reading discussions like this one have really helped, too. Yup, this farrier has been having "bad hair days" a bit too consistantly. ...that's why both myself and my trainer are switching.

                                You know, he was trimming the resident ancient pony, who moves so slowly, you only see her trot once in a blue moon. He left her toes so long over the winter, she actually bowed both tendons! Poor little girl. The last time he came out to trim her, he left her sooooo long STILL that she didn't even look trimmed - her owner was so frustrated that she took the situation into her OWN hands. The woman, having NO experience with trimming horses, rasped the pony's toes herself, and I SWEAR I've never seen the pony move better!

                                *sigh* What does it take to get a good farrier these days? My trainer and I are resulting to flying in the farrier she uses in FL during the winter...

                                Comment


                                • UPDATE

                                  The new farrier won't be here for another 2 weeks, but over the weekend, I had someone else (new to shoing) come out to pull his shoes and give him a "pasture role" without taking off too much. That was the plan, anyway, but he was missing too much sole in the quarters of his hind feet that she had to do more trimming to prevent his hoof wall from breaking up without the shoes on.

                                  The result? Well, his toes are still too long (we intentionally didn't try to fix that much), but his feet DO look closer to being balanced in back, AND his STIFLES are AMAZINGLY improved! I simply CAN'T believe how much better he's walking!!! I haven't seen him walk that well, just on his way to the pasture hay, ever!

                                  I wish I had taken before pictures. I guess we'll see what hapens over the next 2 weeks. Now, I'm REALLY looking forward to my new farrier!

                                  YAY!

                                  Comment


                                  • That's great! It is amazing how much better a horse does if he is allowed to share the load between his sole and hoof wall rather than just walking on the wall.

                                    A lot of people ask what is all this "natural" stuff and how can it be better...it is mostly based on the premise that the current/old model of trimming (and even research) was based on the hoof wall being the primary weight bearing surface. The new or "natural" model explains how a shared load provides a better structure for the horse to walk on.

                                    A quick analogy would be think about pressing down on just the tip of your finger on something hard. Which would feel better...pressing with just the nail or pressing with the whole tip? If just the nail (hoof wall) is bearing all the forces, then you get some pain, tearing of sensative tissues (especially with a longer nail/toe/wall), and potential for many other problems created by the loss of shock absorption. If the load is shared, the shock absorption is so much greater and there is prominant forces on the part that is attached with sensative tissues (the wall).

                                    It is a known fact that horses treated for founder with attention to load sharing are quickly and easily healed as opposed to those that are left with a load bearing wall. The wall can never correctly reattach parallel to the coffin bone if the lamina are always being streteched.torn and the forces on the hoof are always pushing it away from the coffin bone (that is how the curved "slipper" toe is created). Additionally, if the foot is in a shared load "mode" when a horse founders, there is less change in the structures (rotation).

                                    Thanks for the update...we look forward to hearing about the results from the new farrier!

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

                                    Comment


                                    • Hey this was getting shuffeled way back in the pack here.....

                                      "Proud Member Of The I Love Dublin, Starman Babies, Mini Horse, Sunnieflax and Horse Boxes Cliques"
                                      http://community.webshots.com/user/cotswoldjr
                                      http://temp.hillcresttrainingnet.off...m/default.aspx
                                      [url]
                                      Starman Babies

                                      Comment


                                      • Good timing Bumpkin - I have an UPDATE!

                                        I LOVE my new farrier. I just can't get over her. She's my HERO!!!!

                                        In the back of my mind, I thought it was rediculous to fly a farrier all the way up the coast when there are so many to choose from at home. IT WAS WORTH IT!!!!

                                        I swear, this was the FIRST time I've actually seen a farrier really balance hooves. I watched her very closely and she hapily showed me what she was doing, why, and what was going on with my horse's feet. I've gotta say, he methodologies were RIGHT in line with this thread! What was even cooler is that I UNDERSTOOD what she was talking about and was able to speak intelligently with her about it. She loved it.

                                        More importantly, my horse loved it. My horse is now on his way to recovery. All 4 feet are balanced, their heels brought back to where they belong, that terrible excess length of toe brought back ALMOST to where it belongs (she could only do so much the first time), and he's moving better than I've EVER seen at liberty. The catch in his stifles is dramatically improved already.

                                        Now, she was not just a farrier, she also does some message therapy, which I also believe contributed profoundly to his improvement. Total, she worked on him for 6 hours! She said next time wouldn't take so long, and she should have him "perfect" by the 3rd shoing. YAY!!!!

                                        I told her about this thread, too, which she thought was neat. HOWEVER, she's asked me to not divulge TOO much about what was done until we have a complete success story to report. ...but from my perspective, it already IS a success story!!

                                        She had a similar kind of impact on the other horses she trimmed and shod this weekend. A lot of the horses she worked on had been left with their toes too long and their break-over in the wrong spot. Many of them had narrow front feet, as well.

                                        One thing that was really interesting for me to see on my horse's feet. His hoof walls were paper thin on the sides and super thick at the toe (which was too long). She explained that to me as being the hoof's way of trying to protect the toe from the excessive force from being too long. This, of course, explains why he was constantly getting cracks at the nail holes from the other farrier. She had to nail in very carefully in the white line in order to get shoes on the front without doing damage, and we left the back feet nekkid, hoping to encourage them to widen out over the next 5-6 weeks. All 4 feet already DID start to widen out during that 2 week period of barefootness, which was truely amazing to see. She did some cool stuff with the front shoes, too, in order to give my horse support where he didn't have any hoof. When she was done, he actually looked NORMAL.

                                        Anyway, the proof is in the pudding. My horse is now trotting around his field just for the sake of feeling good. I've never seen him so happy!

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                                        • <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><font size="-1">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by inspired:
                                          _UPDATE_

                                          The new farrier won't be here for another 2 weeks, but over the weekend, I had someone else (new to shoing) come out to pull his shoes and give him a "pasture role" without taking off too much.
                                          The result? Well, his toes are still too long (we intentionally didn't try to fix that much), but his feet DO look closer to being balanced in back, AND his STIFLES are AMAZINGLY improved! I simply CAN'T believe how much better he's walking!!!
                                          Now, I'm REALLY looking forward to my new farrier!

                                          YAY! <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

                                          Hi. Sounds great about the trim helping your horse's stifle. If the trim is this helpful, I'm wondering why you don't just have this new person keep working on your horse, rather than the farrier that's supposed to come in 2 weeks. Why not stick with the sure thing?
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                                          "I don't mean to brag, I don't mean to boast, but I'm intercontinental when I eat French toast" ~ Beastie Boys

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