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High low syndrome

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  • High low syndrome

    What does having one front hoof an inch or more higher than the other indicate.

    Thank you very much!

  • #2
    Look to the hind end. Something is not correct behind, horse then moves differently in front. Usually whichever is lowest, look at the diagonal hind.

    Comment


    • #3
      1" is a LOT - are you sure about that?

      Pictures would really help.

      Front hoof differences are not always caused by hind end issues, and some hind end issues are there because of the front issue.

      Different front feet can be 100% genetic, it can be a "grazing foot syndrome" that the farrier/trimmer can't see in order to manage, it can be from a shoulder injury, it can be from a leg lameness, there are many things that can cause it.
      ______________________________
      The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by JB View Post
        1" is a LOT - are you sure about that?

        Pictures would really help.

        Front hoof differences are not always caused by hind end issues, and some hind end issues are there because of the front issue.

        Different front feet can be 100% genetic, it can be a "grazing foot syndrome" that the farrier/trimmer can't see in order to manage, it can be from a shoulder injury, it can be from a leg lameness, there are many things that can cause it.
        Ditto. Is the horse shod?
        Caitlin
        *OMGiH I Loff my Mare* and *My Saddlebred Can Do Anything Your Horse Can Do*
        http://community.webshots.com/user/redmare01

        Comment


        • #5
          Depending on the angle, etc, "high/low" to me means one foot is a club foot and one is a low slung foot (iow not much heel).

          Been there done that on a horse with a club foot, NEVER again. I will never have a horse with a club foot again.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by rmh_rider View Post
            Depending on the angle, etc, "high/low" to me means one foot is a club foot and one is a low slung foot (iow not much heel).

            Been there done that on a horse with a club foot, NEVER again. I will never have a horse with a club foot again.
            DITTO! I know plenty of horses are fine, and my last pony is fine as a pony hunter, but it was a NIGHTMARE trying to do dressage.

            My pony actually seemed to have one leg shorter than the other, at least it measured that way. Her right front heel would grow high, but her right front shoulder was at least 1" below the left. Her knees were uneven.

            We tried several different things. We tried trimming them even and putting a pad on the clubby foot, which helped the first week after shoeing but then she was lame. Trying to work her bending and "on the bit" made her shoulder very sore.

            I found that as long as she was trimmed in a balanced way,and allowed to go on a loose rein, she was fine and stayed sound, but she had to be allowed to go how she was comfortable.

            Sure was an eye opening experience.
            On the Internet, nobody knows you're a dog

            Comment


            • #7
              Fharoah, this is almost certainly because of his fused pastern. His feet will probably never match, and that is okay.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Fharoah View Post
                What does having one front hoof an inch or more higher than the other indicate.

                Thank you very much!
                It indicates that one foot is standing on something that is an inch or more higher the other.

                Sheesh!

                Comment


                • #9
                  My guess would be LLD.
                  Against My Better Judgement: A blog about my new FLF OTTB
                  Do not buy a Volkswagen. I did and I regret it.
                  VW sucks.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by amastrike View Post
                    My guess would be LLD.
                    IMNTBCHO, LLD is an overrated concept that fails to adequately account for the anatomy and mechanics of how the front limbs are maintained in place in the horse.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Rick can you elaborate more?

                      Also, love to see pics of this high low horse. Any xrays?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by FSPBeth View Post
                        Rick can you elaborate more?
                        Sure. As regards the front end of the horse, the limbs are 'slung' in place by muscle and sinew. So, when the horse is high-low, the appearance is usually that the high side limb is shorter than the low side limb. the only way to accurately determine if this is indeed the case is by autopsy and actually measuring and comparing bone length from both limbs. However, many people believe that you can overcome this [alleged] discrepancy by adding shims under the functionally shorter limb. This is accomplished in various ways but is most often done by adding rim pads sufficient to overcome the perceived inequity. This may work for a very short period of time. However, because of the unique way the front limbs hang in place, the horse merely has to 'shrug' its shoulders to return it to what it perceives as comfortable. IOW, pushing on the bottom of the apparatus(adding shims) doesn't work unless the horse wants it to work, which rarely occurs. A simplistic example of what I'm describing is to take a rubber band and drape it equally over a pencil held horizontally. The rubber band represents the horse's forelimbs. Now, gently push up, from the bottom, on one end of the rubber band and watch what happens. Is there any real resistance to your action? In real life, the bio-mechanically shorter limb actually causes a 'slabbed' appearance at the withers on that side while the low side limb bulges at the withers. This happens because of what occurs at the point of the shoulder(Scapulo-Humeral/shoulder joint). As the S-H joint closes because of the high side conformation, The shoulder blade(scapula) moves downward and gives the external appearance of what we refer to as a 'slabbled' shoulder. Conversely, on the low side, the S-H joint opens, the scapula moves upwards and gives the external bulged appearance.

                        Now, when we shim the high side to equalize the limb length disparity we are attempting to get the limbs to be the same length when in fact, they are already, anatomically the same length. The horse reacts to this by adjust its posture such that 'true equilibrium' is re-established. Remember, there is nothing to resist this action. It is further postulated that the horse rotates its thorasic cavity in the direction of the low side to further aid in its compensatory actions. You can get an idea of how this works by holding your arms out in front of you horizontally and then rotating your chest cavity to one side or the other. Feel what happens to your scapula.

                        The reason that shimming a hind limb is effective is because of the presence of the pelvis and the resulting hip joint. When a shim is added at the bottom, resistance occurs at the hip joint and allows the changes made to remain in effect.

                        In my custom and that of other farriers of my acquaintance were we are dealing with fore and hind limb hi-lo syndrome, it is far easier to effectively adjust/alter the hind limbs than it is to adjust/alter the fore limbs. And, in most instances of fore limb hi-lo syndrome, the contra-lateral hind will exhibit, often to a lesser degree, the same symptoms.

                        And, yes, I have read Esco's book on LLD, as well as its predecessor "Proper Balanced Movement" by Tony Gonzales and where I find commonality is that I too subscribe to treating/managing the whole horse to most effectively address existing and often, potential, issues.

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Originally posted by Rick Burten View Post
                          Sure. As regards the front end of the horse, the limbs are 'slung' in place by muscle and sinew. So, when the horse is high-low, the appearance is usually that the high side limb is shorter than the low side limb. the only way to accurately determine if this is indeed the case is by autopsy and actually measuring and comparing bone length from both limbs. However, many people believe that you can overcome this [alleged] discrepancy by adding shims under the functionally shorter limb. This is accomplished in various ways but is most often done by adding rim pads sufficient to overcome the perceived inequity. This may work for a very short period of time. However, because of the unique way the front limbs hang in place, the horse merely has to 'shrug' its shoulders to return it to what it perceives as comfortable. IOW, pushing on the bottom of the apparatus(adding shims) doesn't work unless the horse wants it to work, which rarely occurs. A simplistic example of what I'm describing is to take a rubber band and drape it equally over a pencil held horizontally. The rubber band represents the horse's forelimbs. Now, gently push up, from the bottom, on one end of the rubber band and watch what happens. Is there any real resistance to your action? In real life, the bio-mechanically shorter limb actually causes a 'slabbed' appearance at the withers on that side while the low side limb bulges at the withers. This happens because of what occurs at the point of the shoulder(Scapulo-Humeral/shoulder joint). As the S-H joint closes because of the high side conformation, The shoulder blade(scapula) moves downward and gives the external appearance of what we refer to as a 'slabbled' shoulder. Conversely, on the low side, the S-H joint opens, the scapula moves upwards and gives the external bulged appearance.

                          Now, when we shim the high side to equalize the limb length disparity we are attempting to get the limbs to be the same length when in fact, they are already, anatomically the same length. The horse reacts to this by adjust its posture such that 'true equilibrium' is re-established. Remember, there is nothing to resist this action. It is further postulated that the horse rotates its thorasic cavity in the direction of the low side to further aid in its compensatory actions. You can get an idea of how this works by holding your arms out in front of you horizontally and then rotating your chest cavity to one side or the other. Feel what happens to your scapula.

                          The reason that shimming a hind limb is effective is because of the presence of the pelvis and the resulting hip joint. When a shim is added at the bottom, resistance occurs at the hip joint and allows the changes made to remain in effect.

                          In my custom and that of other farriers of my acquaintance were we are dealing with fore and hind limb hi-lo syndrome, it is far easier to effectively adjust/alter the hind limbs than it is to adjust/alter the fore limbs. And, in most instances of fore limb hi-lo syndrome, the contra-lateral hind will exhibit, often to a lesser degree, the same symptoms.

                          And, yes, I have read Esco's book on LLD, as well as its predecessor "Proper Balanced Movement" by Tony Gonzales and where I find commonality is that I too subscribe to treating/managing the whole horse to most effectively address existing and often, potential, issues.

                          Okay so should hi low syndrome be corrected or managed by trying to trim the feet the same length or would that be detrimental.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Thank you, Rick Burten, for a very informative post.
                            "You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed." - The Little Prince

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Rick,

                              I would love to hear more about this high/low syndrome as it relates to the hind end. I have a mare that displays high/low in the front and is off in the back but we've never been able to find out why. I'm convinced the two are related somehow but don't know how.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Fharoah View Post
                                Okay so should hi low syndrome be corrected or managed by trying to trim the feet the same length or would that be detrimental.
                                Personally, IMO/IME, you don't 'correct' front end hi-lo syndrome, you manage it. Trimming the feet to the same length/angle/heel height/whatever is an exercise in futility. Hi-Lo feet are growing in opposition, eg: as one grows toe, so the other grows heel. You can make them match on the day the horse is trimmed/shod, but from the moment the farrier puts each foot down for the final time, they begin to change. Over the years I have found that the optimal way to deal with the high side is to trim it every three weeks once the optimal trimming/shoeing has been determined. Since the show horses in my custom are on a six week cycle, it becomes 'a matter of course' for me to work on the high heeled side every three weeks.
                                Last edited by Rick Burten; Oct. 31, 2012, 05:49 PM.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by Fourbeats View Post
                                  Rick,

                                  I would love to hear more about this high/low syndrome as it relates to the hind end. I have a mare that displays high/low in the front and is off in the back but we've never been able to find out why. I'm convinced the two are related somehow but don't know how.
                                  As noted, most of the horses I deal with have the same condition on the contra-lateral side, behind, IOW, if the left front has the hi heels, then the right hind will too. Also, with your horse standing squarely (cannon bones vertical) have someone at his head keeping his head, neck, back and pelvis in a straight line. Stand behind your horse (on a milk crate or the equivalent if necessary) and look down his back. What do his shoulders look like? Work your way back to his pelvis. What does it look like? The asymmetry behind will be much more subtle but it will be there. Look at his gaskins/limb musculature. Is it the same for both hinds? Look at his hooves(and ask your farrier to evaluate their shape). Are the hooves the same shape or is one more rounded and long in the toe and lower in the heels while the other is more pointed and/or dished at the dorsal wall, have more heel and is , overall, smaller? Are the frogs equally robust? Is your horse a shoe puller? If so, I'd wager he pulls the front shoe on the low heeled/long toed side almost exclusively. When you are sitting the trot, does the impulsion from behind feel equal?

                                  If your mare is hi-lo behind and it is going undiagnosed/untreated/managed, then it is more than likely affecting her higher up the limb, into the pelvis/rump. If its doing that, then to try and mitigate the resulting pain, she is or will start trying to compensate by using her back inappropriately/incorrectly. No amount of veterinary/chiropractic/other modalities will offer more than a temporary solution until the root cause of the problem(s) is correctly addressed. And that means you have to fix the foundation first. And even when/if you do that, it will take time to get the structures above the foundation 'fixed'. Which is where the vet, et al come into play. You will also need to evaluate your equipment and your riding because it is almost inevitable that you will have to make some adjustments.

                                  The good news is that IME/IMO it is much easier to successfully manage hi-lo syndrome in the hind end.

                                  And, even if your horse does not exhibit hind end hi-lo syndrome, if the front end is not managed correctly, it can still cause hind end issues because the horse attempts to compensate through its back and haunches for the front end issue(s).

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Thank you, Rick! That was super informative!

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