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Hoof wall cracks and lameness.

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  • Hoof wall cracks and lameness.

    My ISH mare is having a bit of lameness issues. I do have a call in to the farrier, and if needed after that the vet.

    She's head bobbing lame at the trot going to the left. Totally sound to the right.

    The was a bit of an issue with getting her feet done on time while she was at the trainer. I won't go into detail, but the shoes stayed on too long IMO and she got really long. What presented from that was cracks starting at the toe base and going up. They look bad, but the farrier said nothing serious. But I'm worried that one is hair line and close to the cornet band. Which I know is bad.

    I have not asked her to work at all, outside of having her do ground work at the walk. Problem is that we are talking about a horse I just put over a month of training into, who has now not been ridden in a few weeks. And while she's lovely, she goes from fine to an emotional mess in a matter of seconds. Her two favorite default naughty pony tricks are I only back up, or I like to rear just enough to scare you. Thankfully thus far the rearing as been controlled. I'm praying she has the sense not to get so crazy she flips, but that's an entirely different issue.

    So, for those with cracks in the hoof that have caused some lameness, what have you done? Have shoes solved the issue? (I know sometimes they need to actually have the hoof pulled together, but I don't think that's an issue at this point.)

    I've already had a locking stifle scare, which we have not has any additional issues with, but now we have this. I'd like to be able to actually work the monster under saddle, but I also will not ride her lame, even at the walk. (I do have a gelding that abscesses and I do lightly ride him when it happens, but more for movement. But he's also 12 and well trained.)

    Anyway, thoughts? I wish I had pics for y'all but I don't at the moment. The cracks, from what I understand, are isolated to the outer hoof wall.

    Of course, she may have a stone bruise as well. So who the heck knows.

    So, best and worst case? You know, because I need to speculate and worry until the farrier sees her.

  • #2
    I have not personally seen a hairline crack lame a horse. What I have seen is a horse pull tendons and ligaments working on long unbalanced feet. You trainer should know better and if he/she don't they don't belong on horses.
    Good luck I hope you find the problem.
    Charlie Piccione
    Natural Performance Hoof Care


    • #3
      Unless very severe a crack won't cause lameness. NOW, of course there are exceptions to this, but generally, that is the the case. So chances are her lameness is not from a hairline crack. Long, unbalanced feet can cause a lot of other issues ranging from head bobbing lameness to back soreness to a tendon injury.

      I would have a qualified vet (one that is good with feet!) examine the horse. There are 1,001 things that could be causing lameness but I can tell you the crack is probably not it, although it could be telling you where to start looking for the cause...the feet!
      Last edited by SAcres; Oct. 11, 2013, 10:17 AM.
      come what may

      Rest in peace great mare, 1987-2013


      • #4
        I cannot speak to her lameness, but I do know what will make hoof walls and soles and frog all hard and not crack: crossapol.
        You have to follow directions, so the way to save some money is to buy the case of 12 from the supplier.

        Takes about 3 months to see improvement. I had Cloudy on it for 2 yrs, and his hooves were good. Then when I got Hattie I took him off of it, for $ reasons. So after months of using durasole just on the soles, his hooves fell apart this rainy spring and summer. So now he and Hattie are both on crossapol and the farrier said Tuesday that his hooves "look pretty good." First time in 12 yrs that farrier has said that.

        Hattie had a crack down one fore hoof a while back, and now she is just fine with her crossapolled hooves.

        I hope you are doing well health-wise, yourself.


        • Original Poster

          Thanks Cloudyandcallie! I'm holding up. They gave me the lovely news that not much more can be done for me except removal of the evil pancreas, so for now I eat my pain meds and push on. I figure now, hey, if I have the chance of croaking early I'm going to give my riding all I've got. But alas, my lame mare. These mares, always throwing a wrench in things.

          I will have to look into what you were talking about. He feet are generally good, but the period at the trainer with me ill and then out of town kinda got things in a pickle. Trust me, I am not one of those not present owners, I was there when I was able. For me she was a saint for the farrier but the trainer I sent her to claimed she was a terror. Thus the shoes stayed on way too long. I am not talking a huge long over due trim, it was by a few weeks. So her feet weren't neglected for months.

          I'll take a better look for any signs of tendon issues as well. And I'm not the type to not call the vet, so please don't jump on me for not calling yet. She was okay after the trim as far as I know, so it is possible she has a stone bruise. I strongly suspect the feet, hence the farrier first. She also had shoes, and now doesn't, so maybe she's tender footed?

          But I promise, I am not just on here trolling for advice without the thought of having professionals involved if it comes to that.

          She's home now, training with me (poor us), and I have not ridden her since she returned from being started. It is going to have to happen soon. I'd rather not rodeo it up.

          Just more interested in what experiences and thoughts people had on the matter.


          • #6
            My horse used to get cracks all the time and abscesses. It was ridiculous, but a farrier put us onto Bioequine and ever since my horse's feet have been so darn solid to the point that I accidentally left her for 8 weeks without a trim last time because her feet looked so amazing. I'm so incredibly picky about horse's feet as I competitively jump and my last mare went lame, so that's saying something that I wasn't on top of her trim! The site says the supplement is for digestion, immune, etc. Which is why most people wouldn't consider using it, but it's far better than any regular hoof supplement (I tried a few).


            • #7
              I would not assume that the cracks themselves are causing the lameness, but would view the cracks as another symptom of whatever IS causing the lameness.