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Shoes mask weaknesses, barefoot highlights strengths

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Contracted tall hooves

Right hind shod six weeks previous

Right hind initial trim

Right hind solar with shoe

Right hind deshod before trim

Right hind heels

Right hind partially cleaned

Right hind solar initial trim

This is a hind foot from the tall footed horse in 'Tripping'  . To be honest you can see feet like this on most large yards. Now I often read on forums that abc breed is unsuitable for barefoot because of xyz. I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that some breeds are particularly unsuited to being shod. Because the challenges seen above seem to happen to them more often. But maybe that is just the luck of my draw.

The second photo shows the side view post initial trim - can you see the quarter scoop (ok it is kind of hard to miss). On some horses it is barely noticeable. This guy needed something more substantial. If a horse needs a QS and doesn't get it then in my experience the coronary band becomes pushed up (distorted) and quarter cracks and bruising can result; depending on what else is going on. When the quarter is relieved the distortion in the coronary band usually drops out quite quickly.

Just looking at the flat solar shots - well again you see this every day - it is accepted as normal.  I don't know many people with shod horses who would really think twice on the initial shod solar view.  I didn't use to(about 20 years ago mind.)

But if you then look at the heel view - now you can start to see that the foot is contracted, the walls are tall and the thrushy frog is getting buried in sole.

The next picture is designed to show you what the foot looks like when just the chalky sole has been cleaned out.  Hopefully you will get an idea of the depth (remember you can make the pictures bigger by clicking on them) and if you look at the far wall in the heel/quarter area you can see that it rises above the sole by a good 1cm (not quite half inch for the US).  We could have probably got more sole out, but I allow the horse two weeks or so to self exfoliate (and for the owner to get used to the changes) before coming back and checking progress and doing any further trimming required at that stage.

Often with these cases the foot undergoes rapid change in the early weeks and usually the horse is just fine, but the owner might get anxious.  It is important that they know I am coming out so that they can ask questions in the flesh.

If you can, try expanding the photo of the Right hind solar initial trim (the last picture).  Look at top left hand side where the nail holes are.  It would appear that two of the nails were inside the water line, this means they were in the white line; ie in the equine equivalent of the nail bed. It happens more often than is talked about.  Don't blame the farriers, it is almost inevitable that it will happen sometimes. (But do blame the habit of nailing things to living tissue.)

On a technical note and for reasons I can not explain (!) this entire trim was done only with nippers and rasp, no knife involved. Although if you saw the state of my wrists you might think that was a good idea! :-)


smazourek said...

"I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that some breeds are particularly unsuited to being shod."
-I love that sentence.

Thank you for posting all those pictures, the heel shot and concavity shot were particularly eye opening.

Wolfie said...

Great pictures. I am your opinion, does wearing shoes for the show season and then removing them over the winter months have a negative impact? I see a lot of this where I board.

Lucy Priory (ably helped by Sophie) said...

Hi Wolfie

Any time out of shoes has to be a good thing. I'd rather it was the full monty, but in the UK it used to be common practice before horses became 24/7 leisure machines.

Wolfie said...


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