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Thoughts on feet

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  • Thoughts on feet

    Hello all,

    I am looking for some input on these feet. I have used the same farrier for 6+ years for this horse. The past 3 years the horse has been barefoot and, while he didn't have a ton of foot, he stayed in balance, sound, and the feet looked well. He has now had 4 rounds of shoes, I think (IIRC, we put shoes back on in April). These pics were taken today, he is at 4.5 weeks. I feel like the feet do not look great. To me, the toes are incredibly long and the heels are running forward. When I look at the bottom of the feet, there seems to be a lot of toe in front of the point of the frog. He has upright conformation but I feel like the angle of the feet have maybe even begun to change the alignment of the pasterns. He also trips constantly up front, which is new since shoes. BUT I am not an expert and don't want to cause a stink over nothing. I like my farrier and I don't know other good ones in my area (but surely there are, it is very horsey). I would love input from you more seasoned feet people. I am hoping to get the farrier out this week but maybe next, and if there is something up, I'd love some direction on what to say to him. He does not take criticism well, but I don't really want to criticize, I just want to understand the feet and how to make them the best they can be.

    Thanks in advance!
    LF RF LF
    Last edited by firefoot; Aug. 5, 2019, 12:41 PM.

  • #2
    Can you get a shot of the horse standing square showing all 4 feet? Or at least shots of both fronts and both backs together for comparison purposes? Hard to look at just a single foot.

    Offhand, shoe looks a little short under the heels on the side shot. On the bottom of the foot shots, one shoe appears ok at the heel, the other not so much.

    But Im no guru. Have learned if you are unhappy with a farriers work? You are wasting your breath questioning said work.
    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

    The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

    Comment

    • Original Poster

      #3
      Originally posted by findeight View Post
      Can you get a shot of the horse standing square showing all 4 feet? Or at least shots of both fronts and both backs together for comparison purposes? Hard to look at just a single foot.

      Offhand, shoe looks a little short under the heels on the side shot. On the bottom of the foot shots, one shoe appears ok at the heel, the other not so much.

      But Im no guru. Have learned if you are unhappy with a farriers work? You are wasting your breath questioning said work.
      I will try to get better pictures today. These pictures attached are from just after the last shoeing in July (he's a little downhill there) and then a shot from December for reference. He is a big horse and he needs enough foot to support him, I just feel like the feet could be better.

      Comment


      • #4
        Yeah, the heels are running forward.

        Why did you make the decision to put on shoes? Do you need shoes for your discipline? These shoes look a bit wider than normal, but I don't think they are actual slider shoes?

        If your horse is tripping, something is wrong. I would as an experiment, get another farrier, take off the shoes, get a really good barefoot trim that corrects heels and toes (might take a couple trim cycles), use boots for trail riding, and see where you are in a few months.

        The tripping could be related to hoof balance or it could be some other problem in the front end. Any such problem brewing such as navicular can only be helped by correcting the trim, and made worse by allowing the balance to deteriorate. So fixing hoof balance is the first step. If the tripping continues, involve a vet and get rads.

        So yeah, I'd get a new farrier. I am lucky in that I can collaborate with my trimmer who trusts my eye and sense of how the horse is moving. I can't imagine using any service provider, farrier vet or body worker or saddle fitter, that didn't collaborate with me. That said, you also need to self-educate so that you know what you are seeing, and are confident in your assessment and questions. I would suggest going to the better barefoot sites (Pete Ramey for starters) because even if you end up putting shoes back on, the barefoot folks have the most nuanced understanding of hoof balance and angles because it is so important to being sound barefoot.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by firefoot View Post
          Hello all,

          I feel like the feet do not look great. To me, the toes are incredibly long and the heels are running forward. When I look at the bottom of the feet, there seems to be a lot of toe in front of the point of the frog. He has upright conformation but I feel like the angle of the feet have maybe even begun to change the alignment of the pasterns. He also trips constantly up front, which is new since shoes. BUT I am not an expert and don't want to cause a stink over nothing.
          Toes look really long and heels underrun to me. He's probably tripping because his toes are so long (imho). I wouldn't say it's making a stink over nothing, if my horse's feet were long like that and underrun I wouldn't be happy about it. When do you plan on having the farrier back?

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            Originally posted by Scribbler View Post
            Yeah, the heels are running forward.

            Why did you make the decision to put on shoes? Do you need shoes for your discipline? These shoes look a bit wider than normal, but I don't think they are actual slider shoes?

            If your horse is tripping, something is wrong. I would as an experiment, get another farrier, take off the shoes, get a really good barefoot trim that corrects heels and toes (might take a couple trim cycles), use boots for trail riding, and see where you are in a few months.

            The tripping could be related to hoof balance or it could be some other problem in the front end. Any such problem brewing such as navicular can only be helped by correcting the trim, and made worse by allowing the balance to deteriorate. So fixing hoof balance is the first step. If the tripping continues, involve a vet and get rads.

            So yeah, I'd get a new farrier. I am lucky in that I can collaborate with my trimmer who trusts my eye and sense of how the horse is moving. I can't imagine using any service provider, farrier vet or body worker or saddle fitter, that didn't collaborate with me. That said, you also need to self-educate so that you know what you are seeing, and are confident in your assessment and questions. I would suggest going to the better barefoot sites (Pete Ramey for starters) because even if you end up putting shoes back on, the barefoot folks have the most nuanced understanding of hoof balance and angles because it is so important to being sound barefoot.
            I put shoes on because, while he was fine enough for the field barefoot, he is much more comfortable in shoes. Without them, he just didn't have enough foot between him and the ground for things like rocky/gravely terrain. Especially the frozen mud in the winter, that was especially difficult. Plus we have been riding much more the last year (I've known the horse for 6 years, he's been mine for 3 and for the first 18 months of those 3 years, he was off work for a suspensory). Even though the trim isn't great, he moves much better and genuinely more comfortable with shoes, so I don't think I'll pull them.

            My gut says the tripping is because of the long toe. I agree about fixing the trim and then going from there.

            And thanks, I will look up Pete Ramey!

            Comment


            • #7
              Those toes look painfully long to me

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                Originally posted by Larbear View Post

                Toes look really long and heels underrun to me. He's probably tripping because his toes are so long (imho). I wouldn't say it's making a stink over nothing, if my horse's feet were long like that and underrun I wouldn't be happy about it. When do you plan on having the farrier back?
                I agree, the toes look SO long. That is why I think he is tripping, also. Hoping to have the farrier out this week. Maybe it's the poor trim, but the past few cycles I've felt like he's really on a 5 week schedule and the farrier prefers 6 weeks for his own schedule, which is frustrating.

                Last time he was out, he was bitching about someone we know being unhappy with his work and saying they complained the toes were too long and heels underrun. He kind of went off about it, saying people who say that (long toes/underrun heels) don't know what they're talking about, and that really stood out to me as I was already starting to be concerned about the feet. For the record, I really like this guy and he turned some gnarly feet around in the past. But with this horse this time, I feel like it could be much much better and his comments last time make me feel like talking to him about it won't go that well.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I think it's SO important to have a farrier that:
                  1) doesn't bitch about other people or other horses in front of you
                  2) listens to your concerns
                  3) takes those concerns seriously

                  I liked my old farrier well enough as a person. But he was also on the whatever schedule he wanted, trimming my horse however he wanted, and didn't take my concerns seriously.

                  New farrier -- horse is now much happier.

                  Sometimes it's easier to just find a new farrier and start with a blank slate. I think we'd all agree those feet shouldn't look like that at 4.5 weeks.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Contracted Heels
                    Long toes/under-run heels
                    Negative Palmar Angle



                    It can be fixed. I've done it: https://www.facebook.com/ChocoMare/m...3456046&type=3
                    <>< Sorrow Looks Back. Worry Looks Around. Faith Looks Up! -- Being negative only makes a difficult journey more difficult. You may be given a cactus, but you don't have to sit on it.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      As stated several times, the toes are quite long and the heels pretty underrun.

                      On one hand, it's hard to accurately judge work when the feet are at the end of a cycle. However, in this case, it's clear the toes have been too long, for too long, as that flare goes all the way up the foot. And the heels and heel bulbs show long-term contracture.

                      If this farrier had worked on these feet 1-2 times, it could be suggested that the trim cycles were too long to get ahead of the length

                      But 6 years? These feet should not look like this, not even at the end of a cycle.

                      And given the above, I would strongly suspect that the very reason he wasn't comfortable barefoot was because of the trim, and shoes have only bandaided the discomfort. They won't fix it.
                      ______________________________
                      The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by firefoot View Post
                        ....Even though the trim isn't great, he moves much better and genuinely more comfortable with shoes, so I don't think I'll pull them.

                        My gut says the tripping is because of the long toe. I agree about fixing the trim and then going from there.

                        And thanks, I will look up Pete Ramey!
                        No trim, no foot. Shoes or barefoot.

                        Those shoes are not sliders, those would provide more under the heel. Just wide, are they keg shoes? Good keg shoes or cheapest you can get? Does he heat them up and reshape or just cold shoe?
                        Makes a difference in fit or sort of fit. These, to me, sort of fit, one is narrower under the heel or one hoof heel is wider. Or both. They aren’t the same.

                        Its your money and you defer to the farrier for their expertise. As you learn more, you will see and understand more you will outgrow some of your service providers, be it a trainer, vet or farrier. Don’t be afraid to make a change and if you know they will get defensive, grumpy or unwilling to explain themselves or educate you? Just try another.

                        Never burn a bridge, just don’t use them any more. They won’t miss you if you just don’t call to schedule your next appointment or cancel one you have already made and never call back. You have a barn full if 15 horses, yeah, they’ll be in touch. Single horse owner? Never be missed.

                        When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                        The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Yup. That's why he's tripping. Way long toes, way high/underrun heels, stretched frog.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by firefoot View Post

                            I agree, the toes look SO long. That is why I think he is tripping, also. Hoping to have the farrier out this week. Maybe it's the poor trim, but the past few cycles I've felt like he's really on a 5 week schedule and the farrier prefers 6 weeks for his own schedule, which is frustrating.

                            Last time he was out, he was bitching about someone we know being unhappy with his work and saying they complained the toes were too long and heels underrun. He kind of went off about it, saying people who say that (long toes/underrun heels) don't know what they're talking about, and that really stood out to me as I was already starting to be concerned about the feet. For the record, I really like this guy and he turned some gnarly feet around in the past. But with this horse this time, I feel like it could be much much better and his comments last time make me feel like talking to him about it won't go that well.

                            If you live in a "horsey area" I suggest you ask the vet, at a tack/ feed store or best yet visit some area barns and when you find horses that have feet that look good find out who they use.

                            I have had good results by getting a farrier through a vet, by word of mouth from horse people I trust. I found 2 great farriers from the internet and 1 from meeting new neighbors (when I moved) who rode up on their horses to welcome us to the area.
                            I looked at the feet of their horses and immediately asked who they used.

                            Bottom line is your horse is being left way, way too long. If your farrier refuses to take off the needed toe you are going to eventually have soundness issues. When he comest this week request that he take more off and then look for a new farrier.

                            You shouldn't have to tell them how to do their job. I have been there in the past and my horse suffered because of it. I literally begged him to take more off and he replied that he took off all he could.

                            My new farrier has no problem keeping my horses short, their feet look great and I don't have to ask . Ever.

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              Originally posted by findeight View Post

                              No trim, no foot. Shoes or barefoot.

                              Those shoes are not sliders, those would provide more under the heel. Just wide, are they keg shoes? Good keg shoes or cheapest you can get? Does he heat them up and reshape or just cold shoe?
                              Makes a difference in fit or sort of fit. These, to me, sort of fit, one is narrower under the heel or one hoof heel is wider. Or both. They aren’t the same.

                              Its your money and you defer to the farrier for their expertise. As you learn more, you will see and understand more you will outgrow some of your service providers, be it a trainer, vet or farrier. Don’t be afraid to make a change and if you know they will get defensive, grumpy or unwilling to explain themselves or educate you? Just try another.

                              Never burn a bridge, just don’t use them any more. They won’t miss you if you just don’t call to schedule your next appointment or cancel one you have already made and never call back. You have a barn full if 15 horses, yeah, they’ll be in touch. Single horse owner? Never be missed.
                              They are keg shoes, and probably not the cheapest possible but I don't buy them. He used to make his own for each horse but that stopped a couple years ago. He does hot shoe and I do think they fit mostly, I think the biggest issue is obviously the trim.

                              Thanks everyone for the validation of what I'm seeing. As with so many things in the horse world, the relationship with this farrier is tied into other friendly relationships and I am dreading firing him and finding someone else. He is technically my husband's cousin, and does my best friend's barn where I also ride. And yeah, it's a horsey area but I am only immediately acquainted with the bad farriers, I will have to do some digging. But like others have said, I shouldn't have to ask them to do their job correctly. I rode the horse today, just a walk, and ugh, he feels so flat and stabby. I feel bad for trying to ignore how poorly the feet were going. I think when he was barefoot he could do enough self-trimming, but now he's stuck with these big paddle feet.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Yep, those feet look awful. There is way too much old dead sole and bar material in the feet and your farrier has just been taking the walls down to the existing sole plane at each trim and allowing this to build up. Over time the toe and heel have been allowed to stretch more and more forward as the sole builds up. You can see rings in the hoof wall of one of the feet showing the amount of excess pressure in the quarters area as the hoof has moved out of proper alignment. Any good farrier should be able to see all of this for themselves. Time to move on to a new farrier.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by firefoot View Post

                                  They are keg shoes, and probably not the cheapest possible but I don't buy them. He used to make his own for each horse but that stopped a couple years ago. He does hot shoe and I do think they fit mostly, I think the biggest issue is obviously the trim.

                                  Thanks everyone for the validation of what I'm seeing. As with so many things in the horse world, the relationship with this farrier is tied into other friendly relationships and I am dreading firing him and finding someone else. He is technically my husband's cousin, and does my best friend's barn where I also ride. And yeah, it's a horsey area but I am only immediately acquainted with the bad farriers, I will have to do some digging. But like others have said, I shouldn't have to ask them to do their job correctly. I rode the horse today, just a walk, and ugh, he feels so flat and stabby. I feel bad for trying to ignore how poorly the feet were going. I think when he was barefoot he could do enough self-trimming, but now he's stuck with these big paddle feet.
                                  Where you at? In some parts of the country farriers will "bias" a trim to the dominant horse type. I live in East TN and have gaited horses (Mangalarga Marchadors). To most farriers here "gaited" means "Walker." And that means long toes and low heels as that's how many think Walkers go "best." It isn't, but changing a 100 year old equine culture is daunting task! While our specific problems might not be relevant to where you are the idea of a "daddydiditthataway" method of thinking might be VERY relevant.

                                  Our current farrier is a very competent workman who is a good horseman (has some personal QHs) and does a solid, workmanlike job. BUT, in our early days of working together, I had to regularly remind him that I wanted a trim to anatomical correctness and a shoe on those horses who needed it to protect that trim. I didn't want him to "correct" gaits by messing with angles and lengths. It took a bit of time but he's a bright guy and "got it." Now we don't have problems in that area.

                                  If the trim is wrong a shoe won't fix it. If the trim is right a shoe can still make it functionally wrong; or not.

                                  If it were me I'd likely pull the shoes, get that anatomically correct trim, and let the foot grow out for a couple of cycles, and then re-evaluate the need for the shoe at all. If it is there then the put the correct shoe on, correctly fitted, to protect the trim. If your current farrier does not do this then you have some choices to make.

                                  Good luck in your program.

                                  G.
                                  Mangalarga Marchador: Uma Raa, Uma Paixo

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by firefoot View Post


                                    Thanks everyone for the validation of what I'm seeing. As with so many things in the horse world, the relationship with this farrier is tied into other friendly relationships and I am dreading firing him and finding someone else. He is technically my husband's cousin, and does my best friend's barn where I also ride.
                                    You don't " fire" them really. You just don't call for another appointment.

                                    If they do ask why you haven't called , you just say that he was leaving them too long. No need to bad mouth the job they do. I just say that for my horses, I needed someone who could meet their needs better.

                                    Personally every farrier I have used have been really nice and pleasant people to be around. It always feels awkward if / when I have to look elsewhere.
                                    Last edited by candyappy; Aug. 7, 2019, 03:30 PM.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Or you can just say you want to try something else and not reference his work. It’s none of his business who who choose, it’s your horse and your money and he’s only going to argue with you anyway. Same with any friends or family, it’s not their business and you don’t need to explain anything. Time for a change is all the explanation they are entitled to.

                                      Just don’t call him and don’t stop to talk to him if he happens to be in your barn. Simple “Hi, too busy to chat” should suffice if he starts to talk to you.

                                      When I’ve stopped using a service provider and run into them a few months later, always surprised they barely recognized me if at all. I was simply not important in their business or to them personally and they never missed me. Don’t worry about it, just move on.
                                      When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                                      The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

                                      Comment

                                      • Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        Originally posted by Guilherme View Post

                                        Where you at? In some parts of the country farriers will "bias" a trim to the dominant horse type. I live in East TN and have gaited horses (Mangalarga Marchadors). To most farriers here "gaited" means "Walker." And that means long toes and low heels as that's how many think Walkers go "best." It isn't, but changing a 100 year old equine culture is daunting task! While our specific problems might not be relevant to where you are the idea of a "daddydiditthataway" method of thinking might be VERY relevant.
                                        Yes, there is definitely a regional component! I am in the mid-Atlantic and long toe/underrun heel is common. So are indiscriminate glue-ons. I think this farrier used to be much better, I honestly don't remember thinking the feet were this bad before, but he has had a lot going on in his personal life and I really don't think he wants to shoe anymore anyway. Plus his attitude sucks.

                                        findeight and candyappy, good advice! I texted him the other day but he hasn't responded so I think this will be easy. I think my best friend will be miffed, she basically worships him, but I think we can push past it.

                                        Thank you all for validating the terribleness of these feet. It's easy for me to see some of the posts here and think wow those are bad feet, but I was really trying to make myself think that my own feet weren't so bad. But I'm also glad to know I wasn't just making it up. The combination of shame and repulsion every time I look at his feet were certainly trying to tell me something!

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