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Shoes mask weaknesses, barefoot highlights strengths

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Robust health really helps - what happens when your horse cuts its frog off

Depth of sole where frog apex missing approx 1cm (0.4 inch)

Detail of where apex of frog missing

My focus with Grace is maintaining her in good general health; a task complicated by EPSM, a tendancy towards laminitis and a yard which is completely unsuitable for a 'metabolic' horse. Her feet get no special attention beyond a daily scrub with salt water and walking over a variety of surfaces.

Her basically ok general health is currently standing her feet in good stead. We have had to battle an onslaught of crab apples in her field and the quarter horse part of her brain has decided to practice sliding stops. Fine in a sand arena, not so much in a sloping field with thick mud dotted with large (4x4) chunks of tarmac (black top).

She has twice sliced her right hind frog, this time removing the apex entirely. Although there are large bits missing, what is left is solid, leathery and dense. The only bit I am a bit concerned about is the apex where the damage is greatest.

These feet are a good example of how the hooves are a window to health. The sensitivity to sugar is showing in the slight white line stretch and the solar ridge. But her high quality forage based diet has given her the nutrition she needs to build good horn and frog. Even if she does try to destroy it with her adventures.

I am going to carry on as usual, but I will pay special attention to looking out for any infections/thrush because her frog is temporarily more vulnerable.

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Southern England, United Kingdom