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Shoes mask weaknesses, barefoot highlights strengths

Friday, 4 March 2011


Shifts lateral to medial

Works hard, functions well

Collapsed along medial wall - 12 05 10

Straighter - good example of event lines 01 09 10

I love deviated hooves, sorry, probably not the right thing to say, but I find them fascinating.  Generally terribly easy to deal with, if you know what you are doing.

Sad then, that so many people are advised that they have to shoe a horse with a deviated hoof.  I really don't know why, especially as I have seen the problems shoeing this type of foot causes; including for some, quite severe long term lameness.

A deviation is often, but not always a reflection of something going on higher up the horse.  Maybe a conformation defect or some long term soreness.  Other times the foot has just been inappropriately managed/trimmed.

The hoof in the top two photos belongs to a portly traditional hunting print type cob.  Her original farrier said she would never be able to go barefoot because of the deviation - the outer hoof wall would wear to nothing.  In fact she works very hard barefoot including lots of work on roads and stoney tracks and she still needs maintenance trimming.  Far from the outside wall wearing too much, we find the medial side doesn't wear enough.  Her carer has learnt how to deal with this in between formal trim sessions.  Yes it grows that much!

The third and fourth photos belong to an endurance horse that has always been bare.  We know she has had some upper body issues, plus she needed more regular trimming of the overly long wall which was tipping her foot over.  The hoof is now straight - because it 'wants' to be straight, not because it has been forced to be.  This is an example of a true performance barefooter just quietly getting on with it.


Dom said...

Those are some dramatic photos... wow.

Dom said...

Those are some dramatic photos... wow.

Emily said...

Very interesting. My mare shows similar, but less pronounced deviation on both hinds. I've never worried about it as it doesn't seem to affect her - I think its caused by her twisting her whole hind leg as she pushes off. I've just learnt to keep a close eye on her medial walls as they have a tendency to grow quicker and make her bow legged.

Heart of the Redwoods Horse Rescue said...

Would love to hear more about "doing it right" with a deviated hoof. I have also heard term "windswept". One of my horses, rescued last year, came with significant deviations on both front feet. While the left front is much better, I am still struggling with the front right.

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