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Shoes mask weaknesses, barefoot highlights strengths

Monday, 21 March 2011

Concavity and footiness

Too many forums can be too much of a very unreliable information source.  It's easy to get hooked up on the latest hot topic.  And with forums you can't always know whether the poster is a newbie, keen to share what they are learning (and maybe not quite getting it yet), someone who is very experienced or a troll.

There are a couple of topics that raise their heads every spring in the UK, these are 'Concavity' and 'Footiness'. 

I am starting to realise that 'Concavity' has been raised to such lofty heights that some horses are expected to sport a replica of the inside of St Pauls Dome on the underside of their hooves. 

Bu you know not all horses sport inverted 'D cups' under their feet* - just as not all humans feet have exactly the same amount of arch.

If you are worried if your horse has 'enough' talk to your hoof care professional - if they are worth their salt they should be able to advise you.  If they can't - swop to someone who can.

Ditto footiness.  There is no doubt that the onset of spring grass causes many (maybe the majority) of cases of footiness - but not all.

One of the things I am aware of is that as horses are brought into work post winter blues and the rust gets dusted off, lameness which may not be noticeable in the paddock and stable suddenly gets lit in glowing neon the minute a hack across any harder/stonier surface happens.  A good proportion of the time it is because the horse has thrush, sometimes pretty severely.  It hurts.  Especially if the sensitive structures of the frog have been exposed because half of it has rotted away.

For new clients taken on in spring I find all sorts - from brewing abscesses, badly contracted heels, poor trim jobs, corns - all of which contribute to lameness.

Some be fixed with my nippers (but none with shoes, which mask symptoms but fail to cure the cause).  What is usually needed is a programme of appropriate exercise, a decent diet and maybe for a spell, boots.

*A foot that has a modest amount of concavity can still be very sound over stones etc, but just like all hooves, you need a decent amount of quality sole and no inflammation of the solar corium.  Grace has 'A cup' soles but as she proved this evening - can be very sound over rubble and stones, so long as I look after her properly.


Anonymous said...

It's amazing what is overlooked when horses are not being used. I looked at a mare for sale that was said to be perfectly sound, except when we trotted her on the firm dirt drive she was obviously lame. Much upset, "Never took a lame step before today" etc. I do believe the owner, but the horse had not been used for a few years. A vet call later and x-rays showed rotation and a remodeled ski tip on the coffin bone. My question was "Did you ever actually look at her in the past couple of years?"

Spring brings grass and mud and lots of problems around here.

Anonymous said...

thrush and how - i have never been so aware of thrush since going barefoot. how dry has the spring been and it is STILL lurking there, lying in wait....!

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Southern England, United Kingdom