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?
IME it most definitely *can* be changed, but depends on what's going on 'upstairs'. If the limb isn't straight, you'll put a lot more unnatural strain on the joints in trying to force the foot to be, just as you would if cutting a straight legged hoof crooked. As for whether crooked trims can influence 'upstairs' issues, yes, most definitely, as with vice versa. If the 'upstairs' prob is soft tissue(such as a 'club' for eg) or due to spinal placement that can be adjusted or some such, then you may be able to make a crooked limb and hoof straight. I've seen some fantastic changes when bodyworkers & hoof care practitioners work together on a horse, particularly osteopathic.
...Just got to work out ways the client can afford to do that as a matter of course! If only I could work in conjunction with a chiro, saddle fitter, masseur... & still get paid myself!
I don't know what these farriers think. I guess they all think we're stupid. I went to the barn today and this was the first look at the trim from last Wednesday. Well, he trimmed the right foot so that medially he relieved the quarter so that on that side the horse is literally standing on a higher heel and a higher toe, and the toe also shaped into like a corner? Soooo, I got out my trusty rasp, and took about 1/2 of the too tall stuff down. And rounded off that toe. I'll keep widdling away on it.
So it's going to be a game. Those xrays were taken after she wore her feet for 6-7 weeks into what she wants, and the xrays reflect that. So why change it?
I really did think that he was talking about this medial high thing because the coffin bone had tilted inside the hoof (I know, LOL). But it hasn't. If she wears her feet down to what she wants, she's not asking for one side higher than the other. And as crooked as her legs are, she has nice even spaces between the bones. And I'm sure that you don't want to mess with that. They are where they want to be.
Loosie if you asked about "trotty", there's trotting down at one end , and pacing down at the other end. Gaited horses are somewhere in between, and having 4 distinct beats. So if they don't hold their gait, they move more to a trot or a pace. Hooves can help some of it. But training and exercise do the rest.
And right now mine's toes are too long. And I will be backing her up a bit as well.
Is this hoof unbalancing itself to compensate for anatomy?
That is a theory I personally believe is true. But don't know for sure if it's correct. I guess the only way to find out is to trim a group of horses to a human's idea of balance and then see if the hooves "unbalance" them selves again, taking x-rays and scientific study along the way. But to do that will sore the horses and who wants to do that? I believe my old vet felt the same way as he always cautioned me against trying to "fix" anything in the hooves of an older horse.
Princess, your horse is an excellent working example.......if the farrier gives her one style of trim and the horse then wears the foot back the way it was before, in my mind, the horse is correcting itself to how it needs it's feet to be. That's kind of logical in my thinking.
I wish I knew enough to look at every foot and trim it in the most healthful way and correct issues that are man-made. But there is so much that is theory and unproven that I have come to the conclusion that less-is-more.
I try to ride the line of keeping their feet without much excess growth but at the same time try not to upset the balance that the horse is try to find for itself. Of course the horse never actually thinks about this, but they are wearing their feet in response to how their body moves.
Like my own feet for example. I have this habit of walking on my toes and I must put a lot of pressure on the outside balls of my feet.....because that is what always wears out first on my shoes. So if you picked up a pair of shoes that I wear a lot, you will see most of the wear on the outer edge of the ball of the foot area. Very little at the heels, and what does wear at the heels is towards the outside. I can buy a brand new pair of shoes and after a while I will wear the soles into the pattern my feet make.
That is what I see the hoof capsule to be like. We can trim and put on a perfect "tennis shoe" style of hoof capsule, but after a while that horse will wear it into the pattern his body needs. The "unbalance" is a result of the body's way of traveling. So in my mind, that must be the balance the horse actually needs.
My farrier told me that she did not have legs like that , and those legs were caused by unbalanced hooves. So he trimmed her higher medially on the fronts. I have pics at her at 4 years old and she still has the stance she does now.
I'm told that all the other farriers before him did not see this error! He shows me the mis alignment with his tsquare gadget. Which is basically a T, the horizontal line sits on the ground, and the legs should make a T. He changes the shape of her toe-she toes out, so he trims her pigeon toed. I can see the wear showing that it's not what she wants.
In most cases, horses need an equal support all around the hoof. A level coffin bone side to side. I think that the legs misalign because the hoof won't, there's just more areas that can misalign. There are special cases (not included here) . My horse has crooked legs but still wears her hooves evenly. Her anatomy is not changing the balance of her coffin bone. Trims back up the toe and heel ,and the hoof will mostly always be straighter on the inside and more flared on the outside as most horses. This flaring is managed with trimming , but the natural flare is not meant to be done away with. I know we all manage it by rolling the edge to keep the flare from pulling away . So if my horse wears her hoof evenly, she will get that. I'm not f---ing around anymore.
I also consider the other side of the coin with feral horses. The ones with hoof problems don't survive. They can't keep up with the pack, and become prey because they are separated from the herd. Many authors are going to show better hooves to back up their theories. What about the feral ponies on Chincotigue Island? How do their hooves self maintain? Is there an author out there that is using feral horses from a softer less abrasive area?
Mustang trim, to me, is a fact on hoof balance, what balance looks like and how to get it. Also how to maintain a healthy hoof-from the examples shown. It's a good example of how a healthy horse self maintains. With all the faulty hooves out there posted on the web, it's good to have an example of what a feral horse does without human intervention, and what parts of that that we need to incorporate into our trims.
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.
Trailhorserider, great pic to discuss!
Now , if the horse is trimmed to the height it needs to be, do you see that most of the problem is gone?
Interesting conversation. I like your point about wild horses, fluffy. I have seen many wild horses, and many that do not have straight legs. They are not all dazzling beauties w perfect confirmation and sadly they are often imbred. You see "toed out" often, but come to think of it I can't remember ever seeing one w noticable "toes in" (pigeon). Either way, I wonder how the hooves look of those that are mature and have "not so straight" legs.
As for the human analogy above, I don't mean to disagree, but ... the sheer architecture of the two (human, horse) aren't really comparable. I can easily imagine the forces on a horses hooves causing a hoof to "compensate" for a crooked limb, e.g., the side w the least pressure caused by the deformity builds up more sole and accompaning wall. Now, that may not be how it actually happens, but simple vectors would predict it would. No part of a human foot will ever bear the psi a hoof does, or have the same architecture, nor can it "grow" more sole.
or have the same architecture, nor can it "grow" more sole.
Funny how obvious things sometimes get completely forgotten - yes, thinking about it & the way our 'distal limb' is built, I suspect humans are more likely to do OK with 'flat shoes' on crooked limbs...
But can't grow more sole?? Seriously, you're talking to a barefoot gal who puts out as much sole as I need... in the warmer months when I'm more than happy to run up the gravel road, although over winter I like my warm shoes & my soles become thinner. I think the same principles apply - stimulation leads to more growth, or if you don't use it, you lose it
Yes. For instance, many people would try to just take down the outer wall of that foot and ignore the bar. But with the bar pushing on the soft tissue inside, this would only make the foot more painful. So the horse either becomes more unsound or else continues to stand on the other side of the foot, so that side grows out long again.
I don't see how a person can look at that photo and not see the soft tissue being compressed between the sharp, ingrown bar and the back of the coffin bone.
It's not really a matter of trimming the problem out, but growing the problem out. You can't go inside and cut that bar out, but you can relieve it at the ground level and then wait for the growth of the foot to bring it down again so you can take more off.
Wild horses do not have ideal conformation, but when they are on the right terrain that provides for abrasion and constant movement for food and water, their feet become very close to ideal. This is how I know that the majority of our hoof issues are from how we trim the horses.