I have to agree that your farrier is horrible. The foot is way too long and the hoof is at a poor angle. I suspect he must have driven the nail backwards to have to go so high in the hoof. How could he NOT HAVE NOTICED THIS?? It should have been pulled, treated and fixed. And, you should have been notified that any vet bills would be on him. Fire him, IMO.
I have had very good farriers often drive a nail high, in each instance it was because the horses had very poor hoof walls and, until I got them better growth if they could get a nail high then they would as it offered less stress lower down.
These were always very experienced and highly qualified farriers to do the job and I never had a lame horse because of it being so high.
Actually the height of a nail has nothing to do with how deep it is in the hoofwall or how close to sensitive tissues. You can drive a nail so high that it never even emerges from the wall and still not quick a horse, if you know what you are doing .As long as the nail is in the correct layers of hoof wall it will do not harm. I have seen just as many LOW nails that were driven too deep and caused issues as I have high nails. And a "hot" or "close" nail will reveal itself within a day ir so in nearly all cases. So the fact that this horse came up lame THREE WEEKS after the shoeing does not implicate the nail. If the high nail was the cause, he should have been lame on it within a few days of the shoeing, at most.
That is not to say that there is not an abscess or something coincidentally right in the same area of the foot, because , well, shyt happens.
Also I can not even begin to evaluate the overall balance or length of the foot from that photo angle because the angle of the picture is distorting the foot quite a bit , so I won't comment on the shoeing itself .
Honestly, I suspect that this hot nail might be a blessing in disguise. Those feet are terrible. Over-grown, severely collapsed and contracted heels. Frankly, I'm surprised the horse hasn't had soundness issues before now.
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Thank you everyone for all your input. In the end, the farrier had an attack of guilty conscience and turned up early yesterday just as I was ringing another farrier, and whipped the shoes off (using Roux's 'cracking' method) in a trice. He won't be coming back here. The good news is that the nail came out clean - no pus - and in fact she is much less lame than on Friday. I don't know if this is thanks to the antiinflamatories I've given her over the weekend. The whole nail episode is a bit of a mystery to me, as Patty commented. The nail was awful, but I too would have expected it to cause problems straight away, not a sudden flare-up after 3 weeks, and an equally sudden absence of the acute symptoms even before the shoe was pulled.
Anyway, it sure was a blessing in disguise, because it jolted me into getting those shoes off.
Smrobs, you say that with those feet how come she isn't lame. The thing is, she IS lame, independently of the nail, and has been on and off for some time.That's why the vet came to do xrays. I had her barefoot over the summer and was trimming her myself in the absence of any barefoot trimmers. I've backed up her toes and her heels have opened a little. I'll do some photos today and look forward to some advice, as I'm not too sure what to do with her heels. I recently read one of Patty's posts about bevelling the front part of the hoof to help breakover , which will surely help her a lot, as she's a toe-firster. ("Not surprising with those feet", I hear you all say!).
Still waiting for the xrays so I know for sure what's going on in there. I put my bets on navicular pain, though the vet wasn't convinced by the idea. Said her heels didn't look bad...??
The shoes now provide an interesting comparison of her hoof shape - see photo. The sounder hoof measures 3cm between the heels whereas the shoe off the lame foot only measures 2.3cm. You can see the difference in the photo of her forelegs too.
I'll be back later with more pics. Thanks again all for the Great input.
Ok, here are Picara's hoof pics. These are of her Front Left, the less lame of the two. The nerve blocks done by the vet confirmed my suspicion that she IS lame in this foot toil, though this could be a compensatory lameness caused by doing most of her weight-bearing up front on that side.
Whole body view and Front legs.
General info about her lifestyle: she has a large, earth-floored yard for herself, her companion and the foal. No pasture and limited grazing on tether. Dry conditions. Principle diet: green oat hay, barley straw, whole oats and mixed feed with bran, alfalfa pellets and crushed carob pods. She is lactating with a two-month foal (mule!) at present. Estimated age 12 yrs, Arab-cross.Before I got her in June, she had a very sedentary (cramped) existence and massively overgrown, shod hooves.