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Shoes mask weaknesses, barefoot highlights strengths

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Healing heels

There seems to have been a bit of a 'theme' to recent visits.  Lots of new clients, lots of caudal hoof pain.  Lots and lots of heels which are stratrospheric in their ambitions.

Horizontal or near horizontal coronary bands supported by near vertical heels are not a good thing.  I have no idea why they are so popular, but in some parts of SE UK they seem almost endemic.  It seems boxy feet are fashionable these days, even more so if the hoof capsule can be persuaded to go to 5 inches plus.

These unnatural edifaces may or may not also be very contracted.  They are nearly always bruised to some extent.  Not necessarily visible from an external perspective, but the minute the foot is picked up and cleaning commences there it is.

One I've done recently had more than 1/2 depth of deep purple bruise in his heels both fronts.  Yes the poor lad did breathe a sigh of relief when we'd helped him out with that.  Took two goes over 3 weeks.  All credit to the owner for being able to deal with it.  We booted and padded for exercise in between but such was his relief at having his heels seen to I understand he has been going really rather well despite it all.  Prior to trimming he had been in so much pain we had to stand him in shavings just to do his feet.  Now he can stand completely bare on concrete quite relaxed and happy.

If you know what you are doing heels are 'easy', but if you don't I can understand why people worry.  It is very easy to make a mistake that takes a long time to recover from.  I can even understand, although I don't endorse the view, why some people say to leave them alone.  Wishful thinking that perhaps they will magically take care of themselves with or without some road work.

Well in SE it's not happening.  Not because people don't try, they really do.  I know people who do hours of roadwork, but because the horse is not using their heels properly they don't get worn properly and it all goes base over apex.  Then trimming the resulting hotch potch isn't something that can be approached with all guns blazing.  If you are going to restore function and comfort it can take time, a lot of skill and often takes boots, sometimes with pads too.  And my owners always get homework and I always know if they have done it.

Remember the mantra 'comfy footsteps'.  Progress will be so much faster.

When I get some time I'll post some heel pictures.

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Southern England, United Kingdom