Custom Search
Shoes mask weaknesses, barefoot highlights strengths

Monday, 16 August 2010

Heel buttresses - do they need support?

LH Solar shod
LH just deshod
LH Solar 3 months deshod
LH Shod

LH Just deshod

LH 3 months deshod

Once again many thanks to the carer of this horse for their support in posting these pictures. They are working extremely hard to get a difficult case on track.

Now - the point of this post. How often do you hear the phrase "This horse needs shoes to support underrun heels/weak heels/crumbling walls/weak soles....."(delete as appropriate).

The horse in this case literally has them all. The soles when shod gave under lightish thumb pressure, there was very little collateral groove, the walls were thin and breaking away, there was flare and the heels well, they didn't look so bad with the shoes on.

Take a look at the just deshod pictures - look at the heels in those. The side view is pretty average - it's what you are expecting to see, what you do see in hundreds of horses in hundreds of yards. But how many times do you get a close snoop at the heels when the shoe has been taken off?

Look at the second photo in the series; the solar view. This heel is not strong, robust or particularly ready to bear a lot of weight (so it must need a shoe?).

Now look closely at picture 3 - can you see how the heels are beginning to take shape? They now have a buttress and are now about the widest point on the foot - which as you can see has changed shape dramatically. Compare the shape of the foot in picture 3 with the shape of the shod foot in picture 1.

You can see equally dramatic changes taking place in the side view. Although it is not so easy to see the heel change; if you examine the whole foot you can see how all the damage is growing out and how the whole foot has 'relaxed'. Despite appearing a very solid structure, the hoof is remarkably 'plastic' and it is possible to force it into unnatural shapes; and equally possible for it to 'relax' back to normal if given the chance and if the forced unnatural shape hasn't caused long term damage.

This is not an easy one for the carer to take on. Their first transition to barefoot and as you can see there was a lot of damage to undo.

Important point - the horse is sound on arena surfaces and grass. Still struggles with stones, but this is improving very slowly as the sole thickens and gains some concavity. There is still flare to grow out.

Congratulations to the horse and the carer for their efforts :-)

No comments:

About Me

My photo
Southern England, United Kingdom