Landing Heel-First

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Landing Heel-First

This is a discussion on Landing Heel-First within the Hoof Care forums, part of the Horse Health category

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    08-08-2013, 03:26 PM
Landing Heel-First

It is my understanding that a horse landing with its front feet heel first is a sign of healthy hooves. However, I was out looking at Skipper's feet the other day studying his gait, and while his hooves are absolutely horrible (I am going to trim them up within the next couple of days here when I get the chance), I noticed he is actually landing heel first.

They are very long, chipped, flaring, unbalanced, heels are contracted and bars laid over, just at a glance. But he is still landing heel first. What does this mean? Obviously the hooves are not healthy. I would assume, by looking at them, that there is some amount of pain involved, and at times he does move somewhat stiffly, but at the same time, he can canter up a gravel road without hesitation, and walk over rocks without taking a single bad step.

I'm just a bit confused. I do have pictures to post later. Like I said, they are pretty bad, but somehow he seems to get around just fine, seemingly without pain. I have this feeling though that once I get him all trimmed, he's going to be running and bucking around like a brand new horse.

If someone could maybe shed some light on this though, that would be great. O_o
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    08-08-2013, 05:53 PM
It means that although his outside hoof form is bad, the insides are still pretty good and his heels don't hurt him right now which IS good. Get him trimmed up well and the outsides should eventually match the insides.
    08-08-2013, 07:39 PM
Oh, well, awesome. :)

We have a benefit auction for the program we run here at the ranch on Saturday so it's super busy right now with preparation work and stuff, but after that's all done and the BO finds the trimming tools for me, I'm going to start working on feets.
    08-08-2013, 08:18 PM
Do you not have a regular trimming schedule set up with for him?
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    08-08-2013, 08:23 PM
Yeah, a regular trimming schedule is very important. Is this a horse you have had awhile? Not keeping up on the feet can cause long term problems.
    08-09-2013, 12:11 AM
No, he is not even mine yet. I have only lived here for about a month, and he won't really tolerate anyone else, so the BO (my best friend's mom) offered him to me for $400.

I am the only one who rides and handles him, and they already call him mine, even though he technically isn't yet. I got permission two days ago to trim his feet, and no, he was previously not on a regular trimming schedule. As I said before, after this benefit on Saturday, I will have time to trim him up, and after that he will most definitely be put on a regular schedule.
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    08-11-2013, 09:56 AM
Yes he may have pretty good feet aside from the overgrowth, but it could be that the back of his feet are a lot less sensitive than the toes, and horses can be pretty stoic too, so I'd be taking it easy riding him & keep to soft footing at least, until he's well trimmed.

If he is difficult with people & you haven't yet seen him with a farrier, make sure you tell the farrier this & choose carefully, someone patient & good with handling, not just hoof care.
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    08-11-2013, 08:21 PM
He is quite the gentleman as far as ground manners go. It's just when other people try to ride him that he cops some attitude. But we never have issues with anyone handling him on the ground.

He's really good about having his feet handled, picked, etc. so I don't anticipate it will be much of a problem. Although yes, I know that trimming is a different situation so we will be aware and prepared, but I don't think he will give us much trouble. :)

Thank you all for the advice!
    08-11-2013, 09:52 PM
I guess I heard from my farrier that horses are supposed to land heel first, not toe first. My one mare ALWAYS tripped, the farrier watched her walk and said the reason was because her hooves were trimmed not at the correct angle, which was causing her to land toe first instead of heel first and trip.
    08-12-2013, 04:23 AM
^^can indeed be purely being trimmed wrongly, but can be due to weak, sensitive heels, body issues, etc
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