I'm endeavoring to research as much as I can before I get my part-board horse back on the 15th... Consider this a pick-your-brain session, if anyone's interested in participating....
He has been away on lease for the last year, and needless to say (b/c I'm now convinced leasing is a horrible idea), his feet and body are in poor condition and it's been a real mess of a year for him. I will be able to follow up later on this thread with pictures once he's home of the 'before' condition of his feet and 'after' condition once the new farrier gets to him a week following.
Now knowing, after much reading, how controversial club feet can be, the owner and I are trying to fill our brains full of the many possible ideas for how to treat a club foot so that when the farrier comes (who has been highly recommended) we can have an educated conversation with him.
Back-story: He has high-maintenance feet. He's an oldenburg/tb - 15 years old, bred and owned the last 15 years by his current owner. He has never been truly unsound due to the club (not off on it, or requiring time off work) but I suspect it has been the cause of many movement-related issues that I have experienced with him. He also has (perhaps in relation to this club foot, or just conformational defects) degenerated stifles. Once we learned this we proceeded with vet/farrier advice to apply wedge pads to the back to change the angles of his hind legs which drastically improved his way of going and eliminated all locking/sticking of the patella. That problem was quickly solved. The club I think has been somewhat of the invisible enemy to this horse - as I said it's never created unsoundness - it's quite mild (according to the vet), and I'd say a degree or two worse than a grazer's foot, so it's been under-the-radar. The previous farrier that we used I think leaned toward trying to even the front feet until we argued that this made him quite stiff and then began shoeing him with a pad on the club foot.
Here's a picture from just over a year ago (it's not great, and I can't find any better at the moment)... The club is the RF (in this picture shod with a straight pad):
He's coming back to us after a year of people messing with his feet. He has been out on 3 different leases in the last year, one that lasted a couple weeks due to lack of time/commitment, one that immediately removed his hind shoes/pads and removed the pad on the club - he came back to us after this lease half-starved looking and stiff as a board, and his last lease at least he is coming back to us healthy, but they still have not shod the hind end as requested in the lease agreement and the front end looks as though the farrier has been trying to even out the feet.
Here's why he's coming back from this last lease: the horse, as described by the leasers, is unbearably stiff in the hind end, not wanting to collect or come under himself and unwilling to supple (progressively getting more wound-up when asked to move forward from behind), and according to the chiropractor and masseuse, has a right shoulder that is much shorter than the left and underdeveloped. Yet they do not see this as a shoeing problem, and since he's not going to be ready for show season due to stiffness and an unwillingness to work, he's finally coming back home. Their farrier denies that he needs shoeing behind, and disagrees with shoeing the club differently than the left....
So, that is how the horse is coming back to us. We are thinking it would be best just to get the horse back in his 1d wedge pads behind, immediately, since he was so sound and moving well when he was in those before. But the club foot is another mystery. Obviously shoeing the way he has been lately is not working (I will get pictures as soon as he's back home), but also the way he was being shod before wasn't doing anything spectacular either.... he was always weakest/more stiff on the right side, his right shoulder was still underdeveloped at the best of times, making saddle fitting a slight nightmare.
So what are your thoughts on club feet? Have any of you had great success with one method in particular of addressing this issue? Have any of you had any nightmares with yours? He does have to keep those hind-shoes on as we have seen barefoot is not an answer for this horse (so please keep that in mind).
Would love to hear your thoughts and I promise I will get pictures ASAP!