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Club foot and vet checks

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  • Club foot and vet checks

    Will a horse with a short stride on one front foot due to a club foot be able to pass a vet check at an endurance ride? Let's assume for argument's sake that the horse is "sound" other than the stride difference.

    Thanks for any advice,

  • #2
    This is hard to deal with, a friend had a vet at one ride question her horses soundness. Her horse has a moderate club foot and did travel very slightly shorter on one side. After that she made a point of pointing out to the vets at the vet-in that her horse has a club foot and does travel a bit different. Some vets would put a note on her card and as long as it didn't change (never did) she was never questioned again.

    I have a horse with a moderate club foot but he travels pretty equal side to side.



    • #3
      My stock horse mare did two LDs and the vet's immediately questioned me about her choppy sewing machine trot. They put hoof testers on her and made her do circles. They really thought she was lame since she wasn't a floaty Arab. They watched her very closely through the rides and determined that she got better as the ride went on because her big heavy muscles were getting looser and more limbered up. So they made notes on her card about it. If she were ever to do an LD again (she probably won't), I would just tell them up front about her gait.

      Another similar issue - Sweets has white spots all along her spine - has had them since she was a foal. They look like godawful saddle scars. I tell every vet right up front that they are not saddle marks, she's had them since she was born. They immediately get their hands on her back and start pushing to see if she's sore. Of course she's not, and they make a note of it and that's that.


      • #4
        Been there done that.

        They will say there is some unsoundness if the horse is at the right place in the foot growth, and bobs the head. Why would the vet think anything other than that? They do not know your horse, and have never seen your horse, they have fresh eyes. Just because your horse has a club foot and head bobs or whatever when you present the horse for the first time, a head bob is a head bob. An irregular stride is an irregular stride. The vet is impartial and has no dog in the ride, and we expect them to be this way.

        YEARS ago, I did know somebody who had a waiver from their vet. They had to get the horse evaluate by many many vets/xrays etc to come to the consensus that the horse *had* an irregular gait (which is what they called it) due to club foot and that the horse was not lame. Also the horse had to prove after a ride the gait was the same. This info had to be with the horse at all times, and presented each time, but it didn't always mean the horse would vet.

        I had a mare (years ago early 90's) who had a hi/low club and bottom line: I will never ever ever ever EVER have another club footed horse. I spent untold amounts of lots and lots of money trying to fix, and bottom line, she just looked unsound due to her hi/low feet in the front, and then sometimes she wasn't. Club foots are like a sine wave, and or they are cyclical. I did vet, farriers, etc. I never got pulled at a ride, I was careful, but one of her last rides, the vet(s) said there is just something not right, but couldn't determine where. I did pass vetting, I was way in the back of the pack. That was the last time I rode her on an endurance ride. I knew she wasn't lame, just an odd gait. But you can't fool the vets, nor ride her at a show unless she was at the "right" growth on her foot. Nor should you try to fool the vets. Her foot was mild, then over time as she got older she started to stumble, and when we almost went over the side of the mt, I got terrified and sold her to a pasture ornament once a month type home. Her hi/low got worse over time, which they can do that. Then you start over with another prospect. SAD. I really learned alot on the hi/low.

        Fine if you think you can manage it. I am happy for you. All horses are different and each situation is different.

        Since I have learned a lesson, the number one dealer breaker on a horse for me is a club foot. It is a constant: is the horse sore or is it just an irregular gait. What if you ignore thinking irregular gait and then it becomes something else and you missed it?


        • #5
          My Arab has a club foot and a mild irregular gait. I did a CTR last summer and was not counted down for her irregular gait...mostly, I believe, because it was the same gait she demonstrated throughout the whole ride. The judges may have picked up on her club foot at check in and considered it, I failed to mention it to them...so can't be sure.


          • #6
            I had an Arab x Saddlebred mare (Moonshine) with a clubfoot and she was lame a lot. The vets focused on the club foot and missed the fact that she was lame on all 4! I really think it interfered with getting her diagnosed with chronic long term Lymes disease. Vets are definitely biased against club feet.

            My purebred Arab mare Tepwan also had a clubfoot. Neither one of these mares had an irregular gait. Tepwan was never lame. My friend Ardel, a farrier, who had a World Champion Endurance horse did not worry about clubfeet.

            I have been a volunteer at CTR's and endurance rides. It is the judge's job to observe what the "baseline" is. I think what Mersy says is good. Go for it!


            • #7
              If shod properly there will not be a difference. This does not mean "matching" the hooves it means allowing the legs to mechanically move the same. Randy Lukehart (sp?) was spectacular with shoeing club footed saddlebreds and having them win.

              Originally posted by Ozalynda View Post
              Will a horse with a short stride on one front foot due to a club foot be able to pass a vet check at an endurance ride? Let's assume for argument's sake that the horse is "sound" other than the stride difference.

              Thanks for any advice,


              • #8
                Some horses with club feet are never, ever lame, and many are. But it does put additional strain on a horse and is not desirable. Having owned one horse with a club foot, I would hesitate to do so again...but some people are lucky and it has less impact.


                • #9
                  Thanks for your input. I am shopping for a horse right now and the last two horses I looked at both had a club foot in front. One was quite severe. I had asked around for people's opinions about it, and was told that it probably wouldn't affect the horse's soundness, but I ride a lot, so I passed on both horses. Why start out with a horse that might have a problem?? It costs just as much to feed one that doesn't have a club foot, and less to shoe one that doesn't have a club foot.


                  • #10
                    OK, since you are still shopping and do not currently own a horse w/ a club foot, I will say this: do NOT buy a club-footed horse. It may not be a problem but with a lot of work on trails it more likely, will. Many farriers will try to correct it to "look better" thereby causing even more strain on the soft tissue structures. Either way you're starting with a strike against you.

                    Then, there is resale to consider. You may be someone who never sells a horse, but I do. And it is HARD to resell a horse with a club. Every vet check will point it out, some ppe's will actually try to sway the buyer against it, etc. You may have to sacrifice some sale price because of the fault.

                    I would avoid it, in fact it's one of the first things on my list to avoid!


                    • #11
                      A good friend of mine campaigned a club footed Arab for a number of years, - no issues with vetting. Was always sound. I would probably not purchase a club footed horse however -given the choice.
                      Originally posted by ExJumper
                      Sometimes I'm thrown off, sometimes I'm bucked off, sometimes I simply fall off, and sometimes I go down with the ship. All of these are valid ways to part company with your horse.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by rainechyldes View Post
                        A good friend of mine campaigned a club footed Arab for a number of years, - no issues with vetting. Was always sound. I would probably not purchase a club footed horse however -given the choice.
                        Oh it's very possible. Some club footed horses never have an issue, at least not an issue that bothers the owner/rider. We all have different opinions also on what's proper or sound movement, and all vets do, too. Some club footed horses compensate well and retired totally sound.

                        But the chances are SO GOOD that they will have issues...whether it be soundness, stumbling, etc that to me it's not worth it. And like I said, having owned one and knowing friends with horses with club feet, it can be real problematic. I wouldn't have a horse who toes out wildly either, although some do stay sound...same reason.


                        • #13
                          then there was my buddy's horse, not a club foot but to some eyes an odd and uneven way of going. certainly. 2 out of I think 3 vets went round and round at one LD wanting to pull him for being lame. At the trot. Buddy screamed HE'S A FOXTROTTER!!! He is NOT lame!!! and tried to explain about head bob and the timing of the gait but was getting nowhere.

                          Finally a vet who knew his gaited horses waved him on and he finished in great shape. This horse CANT do a "normal"trot.

                          I myself once owned a horse with a club foot. Never again. She was always just a little off and couldnt hold shoes (worse on that foot) and eventually she was not ridable. She'd been a barrel horse which I'm sure didnt help her stay sound but I think a club foot is asking for problems.


                          • #14
                            Re: Club foot and vet checks

                            I forgot to remind judges at my last CTR that my horse was a foxtrotter and we lost points for "rough uneven trot" at the final vet in. My fault. I won't forget again!

                            I once had a horse that had a clubfoot. It turned out the foot was clubby due a shorter leg. Nature's way of evening out his leg. As he grew in the year I had him the leg and foot got progressively worse and led to damage in the "good" leg. It was not a happy ending. Club foot would be a deal breaker for me.


                            • #15
                              then there was my buddy's horse, not a club foot but to some eyes an odd and uneven way of going. certainly. 2 out of I think 3 vets went round and round at one LD wanting to pull him for being lame. At the trot. Buddy screamed HE'S A FOXTROTTER!!! He is NOT lame!!! and tried to explain about head bob and the timing of the gait but was getting nowhere.

                              Finally a vet who knew his gaited horses waved him on and he finished in great shape. This horse CANT do a "normal"trot.
                              As someone that knows nothing about gaited horses it freaked me out the first time I saw one vetted in ....LOL I would have had the same response as the initial vet
                              I have horse to sell to you. Horse good for riding. Can pull cart. Horse good size. Eats carrots and apples. Likes attention. Move head to music. No like opera! You like you buy.