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Shoes mask weaknesses, barefoot highlights strengths

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Do you know a foot like this?

I went to Dallas to improve my trimming skills and hopeful that I would see a wider variety of feet with more issues than the feet I usually see at home. You can see by earlier posts that I certainly achieved the latter, the former is still being tested.

But then it occurred to me that actually it would be interesting to examine a foot which is often seen in pastured/retired horses in the UK. A foot which is often accepted as 'normal' but which in truth while it might be common, it is certainly not normal for a healthy foot.

This type of foot (see photos below) is a product of hoof management and is neither genetic nor inevitable. If you click on the photos they will enlarge.

As the horse to which this hoof belongs is already dead, we can't discover how long it would have taken to bring this foot back to the healthy model. But I am 99.99% certain that with correct management of the live horse it could have been and probably within months.

With each pair of photos the first picture is the 'before' photo and the second is the 'after' photo.

Notice flare, hoof rings and chips. These are still evident after the trim, but the improvement can be seen and the hoof is starting to look better already.

The sole looks a scary mess - but its actually relatively superficial and just one trim is a significant improvement. Good management could sort this easily.

The heel is running under and the capsule is long. It will take time to fix these, but a good mustang roll (would have) made the horse more comfortable.

It looks better from this side!

Whether shod or barefoot please don't accept a foot which looks like the foot in the 'before' pictures above. And please understand that the foot is the 'after' pictures is a work in progress. To be tolerated while the damage is grown out, but not the end product. :-)

It is not natural, its not healthy and it needn't be.

You might just find that the pasture ornament you know of with feet like this might even come sound if the feet are brought back to health.

And it doesn't take heaps of money or shoes. Just good management, a bit of patience and persistance.

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Southern England, United Kingdom