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Why can't he grow heel?! Getting despondent! PICS ADDED 9/22/07 1st Post

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  • Why can't he grow heel?! Getting despondent! PICS ADDED 9/22/07 1st Post

    I am getting very worried about my poor retired TB who cannot, despite all efforts, seem to grow any heel.

    I decided to retire him last December. At the time, he was being shod by a very good farrier who had him in normal steel shoes. Farrier noted that the heel was not growing well, and was trying to encourage that by not trimming the heel too much and setting the shoe back a bit so Shane didn't touch his heels to the ground.

    Moved the horse to the retirement farm. New farrier looks at old farrier's work and thinks it's good work, but doesn't think it was necessarily encouraging heel growth. So, since December-- she's been shoeing Shane behind in steel with a wedge. Still no heel growth. She's at her wit's end and really doesn't know what else to do.

    Vet came out to do shots and also inspected Shane's feet. Vet is displeased with the lack of heel. Suggested either: (1) floating the heel and continuing with the wedge (what she meant by that, I'm not sure); or (2) removing the shoes behind and seeing if he can grow out on his own. I am a little scared to do that. If he wears his heels down any more walking on hard ground-- he'll be FOOTLESS. As it stands, if he puts his foot down a little too hard while the shoe is off, and chips it during shoeing-- it bleeds. It is scary-- he has THAT little foot.

    I don't know what to do!

    Farrier is willing to try something different, just doesn't know what to try.

    Vet suggested starting Shane on Glanzen, which I will, but that's a more long term solution than a short term one. I had him on 2 other hoof supplements which he ate for 3-4 days and then refused to eat.

    I could potentially switch Shane to my other barn, where my riding horses are. We have an incredible farrier that does glue on shoes and other corrective/unusual type shoeings. But that would be a big expense for a horse that's currently retired. I'd prefer to come up with something to at least TRY before doing that.

    So, foot gurus. How in the WORLD do you grow heel on a TB with crappy feet who seems bound and determined NOT to grow heel?

    --------------

    Okay, I went out today and took pictures of Shane's feet. I would VERY much appreciate suggestions as to what might be better to try, what might be not-ideal about the current shoeing etc. I'd prefer this not to turn into a crucify-the-farrier thread and to stay productive. I'd like to be able to print out the suggestions and give them to the farrier. So just saying "that's bad, change farriers" is not all that helpful. I want to learn what is right/wrong and what the shoes are supposed to look like. And current farrier is WILLING to try something different but needs ideas. Which is not to say I am unwilling to move Shane and/or switching farrier. I am lobbying had to get a pasture turnout situation for him where I keep my other horses... but in the meantime. What do you think of these feet, if you see things that could change-- what and how. THANK YOU!!!

    The photos can be accessed here...

    http://s5.photobucket.com/albums/y19...20Sept%202007/

    LH= left hind, RF= right front etc. In addition to closeups of each foot (3-4 per foot) I also included a full body shot and a father away shot of both sets of legs.
    Last edited by vxf111; Sep. 23, 2007, 12:00 AM. Reason: Added Pictures on 9/22/07
    ~Veronica
    "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"
    http://photobucket.com/albums/y192/vxf111/

  • #2
    Hmmm, perhaps he has heels but they are underrun/crushed? Really couldn't say and don't want to speculate without pictures.

    Any chance you could take some? If so, put the camera on the ground and take front on, both sides and sole of all four.
    <>< 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

    • Original Poster

      #3
      I will try to get some pictures, I appreciate that it's hard to give advice in the abstract without them. Shane's a little... leery of flashes near his feet and almost stomped my last time I tried to do this. I'll try again...
      ~Veronica
      "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"
      http://photobucket.com/albums/y192/vxf111/

      Comment


      • #4
        They do grow heel...it grows low and forward.

        I have never seen a 'he doesn't grow heel' horse yet that didn't have tons of forward grown heel.

        Why would a farrier set shoes back so the heels don't touch the ground? That makes no sense to me BUT also makes me think what I said above is true.

        Comment


        • #5
          It is pretty customary to float a horses heel off the shoe when it is already crushed (you trim the crushed heel off and have literally no heel touching the shoe). If you only need to do a little bit it can be helpful. If the horses entire foot is running away with it and the heels are only one symptom it does no good IME.

          I would love to see his feet. He is welcome to retire here anytime.
          "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
          ---
          The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.

          Comment

          • Original Poster

            #6
            Originally posted by LMH View Post
            They do grow heel...it grows low and forward.

            I have never seen a 'he doesn't grow heel' horse yet that didn't have tons of forward grown heel.

            Why would a farrier set shoes back so the heels don't touch the ground? That makes no sense to me BUT also makes me think what I said above is true.

            I may have been a bit inarticulate. The old farrier used a shoe that stuck out a little behind Shane's back heels. That way there was always shoe between the foot and the ground, no matter how Shane stepped. I thought the idea was that foot to ground, without shoe in between, would wear down faster and since we were trying to grow heel-- the idea was to try not to let that happen.

            I admit I am 100% befuddled and ignorant when it comes to feet. My horse knowledge ends at the last joint in the leg. I can tell a really horrible shoe job or elf shoe foot, I cannot tell much about degrees of mediocre to fabulous. I am very uneducated about feet. So if I have been explaining the shoeing poorly, that is my fault.

            What is "forward grown heel"? I just googled it to find pictures, but I am not sure what I'm looking at?!
            ~Veronica
            "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"
            http://photobucket.com/albums/y192/vxf111/

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              Originally posted by EqTrainer View Post
              It is pretty customary to float a horses heel off the shoe when it is already crushed (you trim the crushed heel off and have literally no heel touching the shoe). If you only need to do a little bit it can be helpful. If the horses entire foot is running away with it and the heels are only one symptom it does no good IME.

              I would love to see his feet. He is welcome to retire here anytime.
              Okay, that I can picture. So there's a little gap between the hoof and the shoe? That's not what the current farrier is doing. She's trimming the hoof so that it's touching the top of the wedge.

              I'll try to get pictures this weekend. It's frustrating. In addition to Shane's proclivity to try to stomp the camera (and photographer), the retirement barn has a dirt floor (I don't know how the BO handles that) so it's hard to get really level clear on-the ground photos without getting my camera filthy.

              *sigh* that's an awful long way to send him. And, actually since he's been living out-- he's become MUCH MUCH sounder. I was actually thinking about taking him to a different sportsmedicine vet for a whole new workup (was never 100% pleased with New Bolton) and then potentially start him back under saddle with the goal of doing light trail riding. He;s now been shod by 4 different farriers, including one at New Bolton, and he'd been having "growing enough foot behind" problems the entire time. The irony is that he grows quite a lot of foot up front. So much so that he needed some corrective trimming at NB because he had grown unevenly.
              ~Veronica
              "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"
              http://photobucket.com/albums/y192/vxf111/

              Comment


              • #8
                Oh I was just joking

                I am glad to hear he is doing better. A word of wisdom tho' - don't waste your $$$ on further diagnostics until his feet are fixed. He cannot help but be off if they aren't right. It sounds like maybe you are on track tho' and that is good news!
                "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
                ---
                The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.

                Comment

                • Original Poster

                  #9
                  Okay, I also googled underrun heel... and THAT picture looks a lot like Shane's feet.

                  So... I will update with pictures... but maybe he *is* growing heel, it's just not growing in the ideal direction?!

                  I should hope I could find a good farrier somewhere between here and NC
                  ~Veronica
                  "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"
                  http://photobucket.com/albums/y192/vxf111/

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by vxf111 View Post
                    ...maybe he *is* growing heel, it's just not growing in the ideal direction?!

                    Yup! -- Heels grow, along with the rest of the hoof, constantly. It's just a matter of how the trim has been done: whether it encourages proper alignment and angle OR does it lead to long toe/underrun heel syndrome. Alas and to the detriment of the horse's body, LT/UH Syndrome is very, very common.
                    <>< 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
                      have you posted on www.horseshoes.com full of farriers

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        GLS-- I am completely and totally intimidated with the thought of posting there!
                        ~Veronica
                        "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"
                        http://photobucket.com/albums/y192/vxf111/

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          My OTTB used to be in 2 degree wedges to try and "stand him up more" what he had was a slid forward hoof with an under run heel. It's pretty common in TB's. Basically the wedge is bandaiding the slid foreward hoof and giving height and proper angle to the toe artificially. Think of it as a temporary fix, because his feet won't get better in them, but when wearing a wedge he will be more comfortable than in a keg shoe.
                          The goal should be to get the foot in better balance, and that takes baby steps and time. What helped my horse was mommy (me) educating myself and making a decision to go barefoot. It's not for everyone, and it takes daily commitment, and a strong desire to learn. There is a big difference between 'pulling the shoes' barefoot (aka pasture trim) and having a barefoot trimmer ascess your horses feet, and the two of you together coming up with a game plan. They slowly correct, and you do the "homework" to get the feet in better physical condition. (supplementing, hand walking etc etc)
                          I made my decision about 3 months ago (i know, not that long ago) and after the first 2 trims he was already better than he ever was in the shoes. He now has confidence in his stride, maintaining proper muscle development.... and is SOUNDER than the shod arab in the barn! yeah.
                          This is just my experience with the same problem
                          www.destinationconsensusequus.com
                          chaque pas est fait ensemble

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            If you are not committed to shoeing him there are several good trimmers between PA and NC

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              WOW Petstorejunkie you must have one HECK of a trimmer!

                              I mean sounder than an A-rab!

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I second or third or whatever going barefoot with the right trimmer.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Shoeless, not clueless
                                  www.destinationconsensusequus.com
                                  chaque pas est fait ensemble

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    --- and very frequent visits by the farrier to keep the toe trimmed back with or without shoes. Cannot let it run forward. The weight of the horse keeps crunching down the tubules until they are basically runing parallel to the ground. Very difficult.
                                    Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      vxf111

                                      I am getting very worried about my poor retired TB who cannot, despite all efforts, seem to grow any heel.

                                      [...]

                                      So, foot gurus. How in the WORLD do you grow heel on a TB with crappy feet who seems bound and determined NOT to grow heel?

                                      The direction of wall growth is a function of DNA, but mechanical factors can greatly influence new growth and what appears to be aberrant growth may actually be normal for a particular horse. Dollars to donuts, your horse is growing just as much heel as toe, but the growth at the heel is either growing forward or is being crushed; either way, careful examination will reveal the new growth at the heel quarters is medial (i.e., toward the frog), not slightly lateral, as is usually considered normal.

                                      Farriers and veterinarians spend lots of time arguing about whether or not a permanent fix for underrun heels can be effected by any means, but control is as good as a fix in terms of biomechanics.

                                      Depending on the severity of the condition, underrun heels can sometimes be controlled simply by correct trimming - a short toe, environmental frog pressure, and radiused edges - but the changes effected even by correct trimming can be a painful proposition for the horse. The changes wrought by incorrect trimming - trimming that is overly invasive or that which creates too much environmental frog pressure by utilizing the frog as the primary weight bearing structure of the heel - can be extremely painful and should be considered inhumane: the end does not justify the means when less painful means are readily available.

                                      Underrun heels can usually be less painfully remediated by correct shoeing. Correct shoeing is tailored to the individual and can be as simple as removing the aberrant wall growth and protecting the new growth with a shoe. If the heels are severely underrun, more involved methods of farriery, such as floating the heels in conjunction with frog support or utilizing some form of polymeric prosthesis to replace debrided wall, sometimes in combination with wedge pads and/or frog support, may be required.

                                      Successful remediation of underrun heels is dependent on the severity of the condition and its cause; thus, any worthwhile advice offered on remediation must always be prefaced with, "It depends."
                                      Tom Stovall, CJF
                                      No me preguntes cualquier preguntas, yo te diré no mentiras.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I have so far only seen one horse who truly had NO heel. She is a 5 year old Oldenburg who just simply has no depth of foot whatsoever. She's a great big mare standing on barely 3 inches of hoof. Thin soles, thin frog, no heel, no toe height, etc.

                                        Every other one I've seen with "no heels" has tons of heel but it's crushed and run under the foot. The tubules bend under mechanical strain as they grow down, and some farriers have no clue how to manage this.

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