'Duck' footed mare. Soundess and riding?
This might be long, and I appologize for no photos. However, this is not my horse and I do not have permission to take or post photos. I will have to ask. I do however have permission to ask some questions about her regarding soundness and riding. Here is a small summary of what we know about her.
Name: Ginger. 1/2 Arabian 1/2 ASB mare. Was eligible for National Show Horse registration but due to problems explained later, her breeder opted not to register her. Approx 14 years old. Donated to our farm as a 'two in one' deal with a ridable, broke, registered NSH mare to be used for our therapy program. Minor hoof clubbing, but decent otherwise. We ended up selling her on because she didn't fit our program.
Ginger has been with us for years and is just a pasture ornament, really. Fairly significant (IMO) deformation of her front right hoof. BO and our trainer call it a 'Duck' hoof but I'd never heard of that term before, and I can't find the term or any information on it online so I'm turning to you guys. They could have the wrong term, or there may not be a term for it. I hesitate to call the hoof clubbed but it is very odd. Rather than the typical hoof wall shape, her hoof starts out normal, has normal heels and bars, but in front it concaves. I guess that's why they call it a duck hoof. It doesn't concave very far, but there is a definite 'dish' in the hoof, and the front toe grows much slower than the sides of it. When she came to us the hoof was a mess and literally almost looked like a cow hoof with two 'lobes' but now it has been professionally trimmed and upkept for a while, the toe is kept at normal length and not split. One part definitely grows slower though. I'd say the concave area is about 2 centimeters off from the rest of the hoof. Supposively it was worse when she was born but she had surgery to correct it somewhat. Unfortunately though, she doesn't stay completely sound. She was broke to ride after a lot of therapeudic farrier work and about a year of 100% soundness as an 8 year old by us and used lightly, but she pulled up lame if she was trotted on anything but very soft footing such as sand more than a few minutes. Cantering she was immediately off. She bruises easily dispite our work to keep her hoof in good shape, but has never abcessed. Thrush is hard to keep out of her hoof though, for whatever reason and she's dealt with it at least once per year dispite preventative treatment, regular cleaning, etc. After 9 months of on and off lameness and not being able to ride her faster than a walk and some trotting in good footing due to the soreness, she was 'retired' to our pasture and hasn't been messed with since, except for trimming. She wasn't extremely lame, but enough that she favored the hoof a bit at a trot and a lot at a canter. She had had shoes on all four feet which seemed to help with some of the bruising problems, but they were pulled and she was tossed out to pasture. She has gotten quite fat dispite only being on hay and is obviously very sad to not have a job or attention any more. She is VERY VERY VERY people friendly, will love on anyone, in your pocket type mare.
Leaving the topic of her for just a moment, I'm in need of another therapy mount to just be a fill in when one of my other horses is being used for lessons, because I'm starting to get a lot of clients. The horse needs to have a very good temperment and be quiet with kids/not spooky, but won't be required to work hard. It would work a maximum of 2 x a week, for 1 1/2-2 hours (broken up throughout the morning/afternoon) walking in a grass arena on a well kept trail (there is the occasional tiny log to step over, mud, or root to step around) and have its hooves picked before and after, etc etc.
My question is probably obvious now. With possibly looking into shoeing her again or buying some form of hoof boots to cushion her hooves, and ofcourse, after being given some refreshers and time to get used to 'work' again, would she be an option, at least temporarily, for using 1 - 2 times a week for therapy? Like I said, no trotting work necessary, I can use my other horses for that, and I could buy boot, wraps, SMBs, whatever was necessary to make things work out. She is 100% sound walking, 90% sound trotting on very good footing. Or would it just not be fair to her? I won't use her if it would be painful to her, and if she so much as felt like she was a TINY bit off that day she wouldn't be used, but I'm really running out of options. None of our other horses have the temperment and personality that she has. I can make do with the horses I have, but having one more to use lightly would be good for some of our older horses to get a break between clients while I used Ginger.
Also, have any of you ever heard of this 'duck foot' deformation? Maybe with a different name? I sure hadn't o.o
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