Hoof critique, please?

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Hoof critique, please?

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  • hoof critique
  • Critique of the hoof

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    11-07-2011, 09:17 PM
Super Moderator
Hoof critique, please?

Background: Lacey is a 27 year old Arab mare. We've been doing the whole "barefoot" thing for about 2 years now.
She's generally very comfortable on her feet and gives no thought to cantering, trotting, or anything else on gravel/asphalt/concrete/softer surfaces (however we don't canter or trot on anything harder than gravel because that seems foolhardy). We do most of our riding on asphalt and gravel as well.
She's on a 6 or 7 week trim schedule and she's actually currently due for a trim (gonna happen next week).

The reason for these pictures is that she's been ending up very lame (for her, she's a very very stoic mare) after every trim starting about last April/May. After a trim, she's hardly comfortable walking on hard dirt where pre-trim she's happily cantering on gravel. After a trim, any thought of riding on gravel is out because she trips all over trying to avoid ouchies. Even walking/riding on asphalt is uncomfortable for her after a trim.
I'm going to talk to my trimmer about it next week before she starts to trim and see what she thinks but I'd like to get your thoughts on what you see as well.

My trimmer never trims sole or frog so it's not that... However, speaking of frogs, her's look super weird to me... They aren't thrush-y, I don't think (no blackness/bad smell), but they are really weird looking...

Also, sorry about the lack of hind foot pictures. None of them wanted to not be blurry. On the plus side, her ouchiness seems to be in the front.

All four from the front:


Front right, front view:


Front right, sole:


Front right, side:


Front left, front view:


Front left, sole:


Front left, side:


Left back, side:


Right back, side:


Confo shot so you can see what we're working with:

100 8185 by ~Wabally on deviantART

And sorry about all the links (I hope they work!) vs real pictures, my photobucket has imploded (it decided that mobile mode is all the time mode) so I'm trying other things and DeviantArt seems to be the most useable so far... :/

And sorry that her feet aren't super clean, it's muddy here again. Lame.
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    11-12-2011, 04:09 AM
At a guess, I'd say that 'L' word & that she has thin soles & weak heels.
    11-17-2011, 07:20 PM
Why the L word? Are the ridges indicative of that? Are those dark spots on the soles bruises?
    11-17-2011, 07:46 PM
Super Moderator
Good question! I just assumed that she was referring to Lacey's possible history of laminitis (I've never had her xrayed but in her previous home it seems likely that she foundered due to the over feeding she received) but there could be more things.
I've also been told that the rings can indicate "the L word" but I really feel like they might just be nutritional, in Lacey's case, because last year when she was on fresh pasture that hadn't been grazed by horses in years, the rings completely grew out and disappeared (even as the pasture became what I'd call "over grazed" the rings didn't show up). Then, during the summer when she was in a dry lot and just got grass hay the rings came back and now that we've moved back to the original pasture (now pretty heavily grazed by Lacey), the rings aren't growing out. My theory is that the grass had something, to begin with, that she was missing and now the grass is missing whatever that is again.

Those dark areas have always been on her white hooves, I'm not sure what they are but they aren't recent additions. :)

The trimmer is due to come out tomorrow and do Lacey but her husband died last Friday so I'm not holding my breath that she'll be up to coming. :/
If she does come out, I plan on talking to her about what we can do to keep Lacey comfy through the entire trim cycle and not just after the trim becomes less "fresh".
    11-18-2011, 01:32 AM

She has longish, bit flared capsules & rather shallow looking soles at the front(tho it's hard to really tell only with straight-on pix). She has had frequent metabolic upsets for at least the last year, as evidenced by the rings on her feet. She is consistently sore post trim on hard ground, despite the trimmer not trimming too short into the sole or such. While none of these symptoms are necessarily evidence of laminitis, all added up, I think it's very possible her suffering ongoing mild laminitis could be the issue.

No, I don't think the dark patches on her feet are anything except pigment, if you mean around her toes. Tho the left inside & the right outside quarter/heels look a bit messy.

Originally Posted by Wallaby    
I've also been told that the rings can indicate "the L word" but I really feel like they might just be nutritional, in Lacey's case, because last year when she was on fresh pasture that hadn't been grazed by horses in years, the rings completely grew out and disappeared
Yes, they possibly could be due to a nutritional deficiency/imbalance, but this tends to show up in other ways, such as generally poor condition of hoof walls & coat. Laminitis is due to metabolic upset, generally dietary. Toxins, cortisol, a reaction to insulin resistance, etc, causes inflammation & damage to the laminae, which if mild can just cause very minor breakdown in the laminae/hoof wall at that point, which causes a prominent 'growth ring' or ridge. Serious metabolic 'events', such after an insulin resistant horse being plonked on rich spring grass or a horse breaking into the grain shed & pigging out, reaction to medication, hormones, etc, can cause a serious breakdown of the laminae which can lead to separation/mechanical founder. This can also happen when chronic or mild cases aren't managed properly.

I'd think it's more likely to be the sugar content in the different grazing(& perhaps whatever else she gets) that is more likely the issue, &/or her body condition considering what she's grazing. Check out safergrass.org for more info on diet as it relates to feet.

The trimmer is due to come out tomorrow and do Lacey but
Be interested to see some post-trim pix & hear what she has to say.

Of course it could just be a wrong perception I get from the pics, but her frogs do look like they could be a bit thrushy. Whether they are or not, the toe wear(is the wall at the toe level with the sole as it looks?), lack of wear at the heels and bit contracted, messy looking frogs indicate her heels are probably a bit too weak & sensitive to support heel first impacts. So I'd be inclined to treat her for thrush and also use hoof boots with frog support pads when riding on hard ground for the mo.

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