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xrays to share

This is a discussion on xrays to share within the Hoof Care forums, part of the Horse Health category
  • Is the 4 point trim good for gaited horses
  • Medial lateral imbalance on xrays - which side to trim

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    02-24-2013, 04:40 PM
  #31
Green Broke
Thank you both for the thoughts. I think I will be aware of the bars, and that they should be trimmed a bit when I trim the wall, but not get carried away. Up until now I only trimmed bars if they were really long or breaking off. But I certainly don't want to lame my horse. His feet aren't picture perfect, but he is sound and healthy for most riding (I only boot if it is really rocky).

I have a friend who basically neglects her horses feet......not in a bad way exactly. But only trims if they are quite long. I NEVER do that with my guys. I am always aware of their feet and rasp after rides if I feel they need it. But you know what......her horses are sound! So there is something to be said for not over-doing things. I ride more than she does though and I just can't stand to leave a long hoof. I don't want to see toes and heels running forward or flares going untrimmed.

She also has gaited horses and she says her horses gait better with a long toe (they are barefoot).

I have a Fox Trotter and I am always keeping her toes back because otherwise she trips. She is one of those that does best with a 4 point trim. I don't purposely 4-point trim her, I pretty much rasp from the top down. But she rolls her feet herself in a 4-point style. I can't say how it affects her gaiting because she is a bit trotty anyway. But I would rather have trotty than trippy. She still gaits smoothly when kept slow.

Anyway, there is a lot to think about and a lot of good discussion here.

I think the game plan will to be aware of the bars and trim if they go past the sole plane.

Princess, thanks for letting me chime in on your thread. I didn't know you trimmed as well. It's empowering to have a knowledge of hooves even if you use a farrier, isn't it? I think all horse owners should strive to learn as much as possible about proper hoof form. It's just hard because so much is theory and everyone has a different opinion on the details. And sometimes it's hard to tell the difference between cause and effect. But I am always striving to get better. I think the answers are out there. But hoof form and function is still an evolving science as far as human understanding of it goes.

I did the "take the heels down to the back of the frog" and made my horse duck footed a time or two as well. I've learned from that. Less is more.
     
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    02-24-2013, 05:07 PM
  #32
Yearling
Trailhorserider, I would rather you take care of my hooves than your friend. Her horses may be sound now, but trimming is also preventative, right? And I'd love to see her xrays vs yours 5 years from now!

I think you are doing good with your foxtrotter. Obviously, she is happy with you just letting her do what's best for her.

I got my horse in Jan. 2005. Had a drunk farrier that did an exceptional job and explained the why of everything. After a 1.5 years he moved. Then on, it was one poor trim after another. I took it over in May 2006, with guidance from the Ramey book and all the good websites. Horse had healthy feet. In 2009, I moved her to a barn to have people to ride with. I gave farriers a chance. By that time I had quite an education but no self confidence. So they talked me in to all the stupid things they did, until I didn't call anymore and took over trimming. This happened 4 times. I would have kept doing it, but it just takes me too long. Sooo, now I have xrays and confidence in what I know. And this farrier I have now is good, but no one will screw with my horse anymore. She can keep her crooked legs, and keep her hooves the way she wants them. Except for correcting one hoof that likes to grow more heel, and one hoof that likes running forward.

So, I've trimmed, not trimmed, continued learning everything I can.
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    02-24-2013, 05:28 PM
  #33
Trained
Gottatrot, well explained & illustrated. I agree with what you say, BUT I would add I do think that with pics such as the second you posted above, especially considering bony column deviations such as in PFBs rads, that we need to be conscious & careful not to make too many assumptions about chickens & eggs - eg. Is the imbalance a result of untrimmed & therefore painful bars or does the state of the bars purely reflect 'upstairs' balance, which you're not going to affect regardless of how you trim?? Perhaps due to the imbalance & resulting less pressure on the lateral/flared side, the bars 'need' to be somewhat 'overgrown' in order to help stabilise the foot??
     
    02-24-2013, 05:34 PM
  #34
Green Broke
Quote:
Originally Posted by princessfluffybritches    
She can keep her crooked legs, and keep her hooves the way she wants them. Except for correcting one hoof that likes to grow more heel, and one hoof that likes running forward.
I was fortunate to have a wonderful vet (who just passed away) who I could talk to about my trimming. He always said that in a young horse you could try corrections. But it an older horse it was best not to try to "correct" anything or it would do more harm than good (talking about conformational issues such as crooked legs). So I came to have the theory that if a leg is crooked, where is the body going to try to balance it out? In the foot. So my personal theory is that crooked feet are natural compensation for a crooked leg. And nobody is perfect, so they will all have some crookedness showing up in the hooves to some degree. Some just more than others.

My vet also cautioned me about taking the heels down on my Mustang due to the fact he was an ex-rope horse who had lots of wear and tear on his tendons. Basically that if I took the heels down it would strain the tendons as he already had wind puffs and signs of damage.

I still trim his heels of course, but I try to keep the basic angle the same and not take down much more heel than toe.

I actually got into "barefoot" due to the same horse. I used to shoe my horses myself (after some farrier science classes) and this horse wouldn't let me have his back feet.....he would pull them away if you tried to nail. So I started researching barefoot horses, hoping I could just shoe the front feet and leave the hinds barefoot.

Well, I discovered a whole barefoot world out there and took all my horses barefoot, all the way around. I did give up the idea of rock crunchers over ALL terrain though. I figured why fight it and make the horse uncomfortable, so I use Easyboots in very rocky areas. But for basic trail riding near home, they are still barefoot all the way around.

I learned the Pete Ramey/ Jaime Jackson method as well.
     
    02-24-2013, 05:50 PM
  #35
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by trailhorserider    
I have a friend who basically neglects her horses feet......not in a bad way exactly. But only trims if they are quite long.... . But you know what......her horses are sound! ...
She also has gaited horses and she says her horses gait better with a long toe (they are barefoot).
Sounds like a 'bad way' to me. Also as per PFB said, they may well be 'sound' now, or at least not obviously lame, but while yes, long toes(& very high heels) have been noted to make a horse 'gait' better(clowns in big shoes need to pick up their feet in an exaggerated manner too...), Long toes are about the best recipe for 'navicular syndrome' & articular low ringbone!

Quote:
She is one of those that does best with a 4 point trim. I don't purposely 4-point trim her, I pretty much rasp from the top down. But she rolls her feet herself in a 4-point style. I can't say how it affects her gaiting because she is a bit trotty
Yes, I'm not a fan of the '4-point' or any other type of 'recipe' approach, to apply to feet generally, but if it's right for your horse... But with the overly 'rolled' toes & I presume 'trotty' means short, choppy strides(?), I would consider that perhaps there's something going on in the shoulders or some such, that treatment could improve.
anyway. But I would rather have trotty than trippy. She still gaits smoothly when kept slow.

Quote:
I think all horse owners should strive to learn as much as possible about proper hoof form. It's just hard because so much is theory and everyone has a different opinion on the details.
Yes, SO important! Form **& function** is vital to understand & I think information on function especially is sorely lacking. Most information learned about hoof form comes from dead legs. Also how many people donate healthy, sound footed horses to universities for study.... important to consider the models we see in textbooks may differ greatly from healthy, well functioning hooves.

Yes, unfortunately unless it benefits the racing industry, there's far too little science into horses, but the times are a changing. Good research from Dr Bowker & many others is coming along. Thousands of well documented case studies on a variety of hoof & lameness issues are on the tables & building daily now... If only vets & farriers learned more about *functional* anatomy & biomechanics at school...-(
     
    02-24-2013, 05:53 PM
  #36
Green Broke
Quote:
Originally Posted by loosie    
Perhaps due to the imbalance & resulting less pressure on the lateral/flared side, the bars 'need' to be somewhat 'overgrown' in order to help stabilise the foot??
See, that is what my initial reaction was as well. How do we know which is the chicken and which is the egg?

Like with this example:

Is an imbalanced leg causing the imbalance? (A natural compensation?)

Is the overgrown bar causing the imbalance?

Are the heels too high and causing deep collateral grooves which causes a puny frog and the hoof is flaring because of the lack of frog contact?

Are the bars robust because the frogs aren't robust enough? Maybe they are trying to compensate for the frog?

Is it simple mechanics.....the medial side bears more of the weight of the horse, so the lateral side is being pushed outwards?

Or is it the result of years of improper trimming?

Your head can spin with all the possibilities. That is why I would love to find a magic bullet, like......."oh yeah, it's just the bars that need trimming and everything else will magically get healthier." But things probably aren't that simple.

I think there ARE correct answers to these questions, it's just we don't have enough understanding of the hoof to know the answers. But if someone scientifically studied the hoof in the example, on a live horse let's say, and tested out different theories, like trimming the bars, or lowering the lateral side, or what-have-you, they probably could find the answer(s). I just personally don't have enough experience to know first-hand what is cause and what is effect. And what we should be trying to correct, and what we shouldn't.
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    02-24-2013, 06:24 PM
  #37
Trained
Hmmm, a question I'd like to ask Bob Bowker's opinion.... It's not the unanswered questions that can be the most dangerous but the unquestioned answers!
     
    02-25-2013, 04:04 AM
  #38
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by trailhorserider    
See, that is what my initial reaction was as well. How do we know which is the chicken and which is the egg?
Well, there are a few things we know for sure. When looking at approx. 1800 wild horses living in arid environments, Dr. Redden did not find any serious hoof abnormalities. Yet we can pull ten horses randomly out of a barn and be almost guaranteed to see pigeon toes, cow hocks or at the very least medial lateral hoof imbalance.

Genetically, these horses are the same as our domesticated horses. The difference here is that the feral horse wears his hoof constantly from birth and our horses rely on trimming by people who we most likely wouldn't trust to build our house for us.


This is the foot that each of our horses has, with only a very slight variation. The outer part of the foot, the capsule is what we tend to all grow to our own preferences. Yet the capsule is just a boot that fits over the inner foot. But we put clown shoes on some horses, and on others we put platform shoes or stilettos. Wild horses all wear sneakers that fit their foot nicely, which is why they don't have all the leg and joint problems our horses have.

I don't understand the logic of having crooked feet on a horse, even if they have crooked legs. Hooves only grow based on the forces applied to them. They don't have "minds" and certainly don't decide to grow more in certain areas in order to shore up parts of the body. If a person has crooked legs and joints, it is still good for their feet to stand flat on the ground.

The frog and bars do not keep the foot from "splatting", as the entire hoof capsule forms a rigid sole and wall around the inner hoof. The foot will only splat if you grow the capsule in ways that it deforms and pulls itself off the internal foot.
Hooves will grow in many different ways in a horse's lifetime if they have many different trimmers. It is not the breed or conformation that makes the hoof capsule, but the person taking care of it.
     
    02-25-2013, 05:27 AM
  #39
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by gottatrot    
1800 wild horses living in arid environments, Dr. Redden did not find any serious hoof abnormalities. Yet we can pull ten horses randomly out of a barn
No arguments there, not disputing horses suffer from myriad of man-made issues, but I do think the bit "living in arid environments" is very relevant. I agree too that *one of many* important differences is that these horses use & wear their own hooves a lot, whereas most domestics don't.

Quote:
I don't understand the logic of having crooked feet on a horse, even if they have crooked legs. Hooves only grow based on the forces applied to them. They don't have "minds" and certainly don't decide to grow more in certain areas in order to shore up parts of the body. If a person has crooked legs and joints, it is still good for their feet to stand flat on the
That bit I don't agree with or really get your problem with. (Except that yes, hooves do indeed respond to the pressures applied to them, which is the whole gist of this discussion). Of course it's figure of speech talking about what hooves may 'want' or 'decide' but I personally understand this to mean that they respond to the stimuli they find themselves in, for good or for bad, and I do think, IME they definitely grow in ways where they're needed for support. I don't get that you disagree with that while saying they respond to pressure applied - same thing IMO. Same with bone remodelling, etc too.

Humans with 'conformation faults' do indeed use & benefit from orthopedic supports too. For eg. If you had one leg shorter than the other, I'm willing to bet you'll suffer hip or back probs at least if you just try to walk with both feet on the ground in normal shoes. It depends on the problem, the situation, etc, but we're all individual & I don't believe a 'one size fits is right at all - it's been shown time & again that it doesn't work. You don't force 'ideal balance' on a hoof any more than you'd force toe length, etc.

IMO learning from & considering what is natural or not is absolutely important, but you don't force any 'parameters' of a natural hoof *from one particular environment* on any hoof you come across.

At any rate, my main point is, I'm not presuming to know the answers about that particular hoof you pictured & it's bar, at least without a lot more info, especially what was happening above. I feel it is far too presumptive to do so.
     
    02-25-2013, 10:18 AM
  #40
Yearling
Great conversation!

Trailhorserider, I am wondering if that slanted hoof can be corrected little by little.

Would a hoof want to get back to balance causing compensation in the upper anatomy? When the upper anatomy compensates to it's limit, is that when the hoof starts to suffer? Is the goal hoof balance, brought along slowly, of course?

In mine an imbalance was created (grr!) and the hoof kept wearing itself back to level, equal sides. Is this hoof unbalancing itself to compensate for anatomy?
     

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