Your opinion on these feet please (pic heavy and quite long!) - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 13 Old 05-26-2013, 06:02 PM Thread Starter
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Your opinion on these feet please (pic heavy and quite long!)

The idea of this thread is for you to give me some education and guidance.

My horses and I are currently riding across South America (I´m riding ; they´re walking
. We´re currently stuck for a bit in northern Argentina waiting for the papers to get into Bolivia - I´m using the enforced break to review their feet.

I would like to take as many of them barefoot as is realistic (we´ve been offered some sponorship which makes this possible). Currently they are shod in front and unshod (de-shod?) behind : the reason for the difference is that I didn´t know how long we were going to be stationary, plus their back shoes were knackered.

We are operating in somewhat limited conditions, to say the least. There is a choice of two types of shoe : a Mustad one of OK quality and local ones of crap quality. Neither lasts more than 4 weeks on the kind of terrain we´re riding, and we´re lucky if they last that long. There is no possibility to reinforce them. They have a maximum of eight holes, so we don´t have a lot of chance to alternate nails and spare the hoof wall a bit. My strategy is to try and space the shoeings as much as possible, to give the hoof as much growing time as I can. I don´t always get it right.

I don´t have any forge equipment to shape/fit the shoes (the set on the grey were worked using a flattish rock as an anvil and the back of a axe head as a hammer). I have everything I need for trimming, plus removing and fixing shoes : however, I wasn´t actually doing the shoeing until recently. A local farrier removed a shoe from my mare without undoing the clenches first - after that experience and cumulated horror from others, I´m now doing everything myself.

I am posting two sets of pictures, one in this message, one in the next. I´ll try and comment what I see. I would really appreciate a general critique and your advice for continuing, either from a going-barefoot perspective or just generally (including going back to shoes). And if anyone fancies drawing some handy little lines on the photos to help me out, please feel free...

So, after that mega-introduction, onto the pics. Go easy on me, kids
.

1. Grey, front legs/feet from front.


She´s not standing square, but you get the general idea.

2. Grey, front feet from front, closer-up


A bit of flaring on the outside and round towards the toe of the left front (on right in photo). A little flaring on the toe of the right front as well. Superficial surface cracks.

3. Grey, left front from side.


Not the greatest photo, don´t know why I thought that grass would be a good surface. Oh well. You can see the slight flaring on the toe. What do you make of the rings on this hoof?
Apparently I forgot to take a photo of the LF underside, sorry.

4. Grey, right front from side.


Let´s assume I know nothing about heel height - what´s your opinion on these heels?

5. Grey, right front underside.


Could be cleaner
She habitually wears the toes slightly off-centre - is this a trim issue? Bars are overgrown and there is ground contact with the frog at the heels. The heels aren´t symmetrical - one is further forward than the other, although from the centre line they are about the same.

Onto back feet.

6. Grey, hind feet from front


Toes-out.

7. Grey, hind feet from behind


8. Grey, left hind from side


Unshod about two weeks ago, trimmed and rasped, then rasped again about a week ago.

9. Grey. Left hind underside


White line stretching in the quarters, bars are a little overgrown? Again, a slight unevenness in the heels.

10. Grey, right hind from side


A surface crack at the quarter.

11. Grey, right hind underside


Same stretched white line in the quarters. Heels appear more symmetrical on this foot.




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post #2 of 13 Old 05-26-2013, 06:03 PM Thread Starter
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Right, now the buckskin. She´s the one the farrier unshod by wrenching the shoe off. I have also just discovered that the photos of the front undersides didn´t upload properly.

12. Buckskin, front legs from front


This is as square as she gets
. You can just see the bits missing from the hoof wall on her left front. This mare had some flaring growing out from when we came back in October and found her with terribly neglected feet - I was hoping that the trims from the last two shoeing cycles would see the end of that flaring. Not the case but I have hopes for the next trim.

13. Buckskin, front legs/feet from left side


So you can get an idea of how she stands. You can see the visible bits of shoe where the hoof wall is missing. You can also just see the flare/dishing on the front of the hoof.

14. Buckskin, left front from side.


The angle is off because I was trying to block the sun a bit, so it hides the flare. She has two major chunks missing - the one visible in the photo and one in the same position on the other side of the toe, a bit smaller.

15. Buckskin, front legs/feet from right side


Slight flare on the toe of the right front, and a better view of the left front flaring.

16. Buckskin, right front from side


I deliberately shoe with a little edge at the quarters and heels, especially on this mare who has the thinnest hoof walls. What looks like a bit missing from the wall between the two nails, isn´t.


Back feet:

17. Buckskin, hind feet from front


Same trim/rasp timings as the grey.

18. Buckskin, hind feet from behind


I actually think they look OK in this photo. Am I entirely wrong?


19. Buckskin, left hind from side


The crack is superficial but annoys the hell out of me. She has a similar one on the right hind so I assume something is out with my trim.

20. Buckskin, left hind underside


I wish she had thicker hoof wall... Chipping on the exterior quarter.

21. Buckskin, left hind underside from side...
[URL=http://smg.photobucket.com/user/micou/media/Horse%20feet/IMG_2356_zps0153161e.jpg.html]

Better view of the chipping. Foot is quite concave, though?


21. Buckskin, right hind from side


There´s that crack again...

22. Buckskin, right hind underside (and my left foot)


The bars are overgrown. I´m not good at bars. Some stretching of the white line on the outside quarter.




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post #3 of 13 Old 05-26-2013, 06:36 PM
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well the back feet definitely look better than the front on both horses...the shoes on the white horse aren't allowing the hooves to wear down naturally, as you noted the flare, but the hooves don't seem in the worst shape. Have you had the white horse barefoot before?

Do you have a rubber boot option? And how long will your horses have to rest before serious riding starts again?

The front hooves on the brown horse look pretty bad. You must have been really mad when you saw what the farrier had done. My mare has had a couple of big chunks come out in about the same area as your horse when she was running around in the forest, but they weren't quite as bad as your horses. Is that horse due for a trim? Maybe some of that can be evened out.

And what kind of feed or hay are your horses eating? That can really make a difference in the hoof wall being strong. I also found with my horse that had hoof issues when I got her that trimming every 6 weeks was what really started healing her feet and making them stronger...so there was no flare.

As long as your horses has a little time to adjust to no shoes I think barefoot would be an option. I was reading somewhere recently that the top endurance horses are barefoot.

Cool about your long horse trip. How many miles are you riding a day? Must be awesome fun! Good luck with your horses feet.
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post #4 of 13 Old 05-26-2013, 06:45 PM Thread Starter
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All the horses have been barefoot before - we made a very serious go of it before we left but concluded that on the terrain we´re riding doing it without any protection at any time (because that´s the choice in Chile and in Argentina) was impossible. We were forced to go to shoes but we knew it would be (and it is) always a toss-up between foot protection and foot damage from the frequent shoeings.

All the fronts are due for a trim, I thought I´d take photos while they were shod to remind myself. Plus, people can comment on how I should trim them...

Re. The farrier/butcher, I was pretty mad, yes. I was very close to hitting him with the hammer...

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post #5 of 13 Old 05-26-2013, 07:11 PM
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The toes are long and looks like heels are a bit under run on both horses front feet. Back feet seem better but not great.
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post #6 of 13 Old 05-26-2013, 07:42 PM
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and I see from your site that your feeding grain? Have you considered weaning them off of that? If would definitely make your load lighter. =) that was the first thing my farrier told my when I got my bad footed mare. I took her off grain and added timothy hay pellets, or just grazing and hay and like I said every 6 week trims. I would think that if you trim up your horses that all the riding and walking the horses are doing would do most of the trimming needed. As far as the big chunks, I would file those the best I could and let them grow out. Can you ride one of the pack horses while the other horses feet heel?
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post #7 of 13 Old 05-26-2013, 07:48 PM
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oh AnnaHalford I looked at your site and blog. =) It looks awesome! What an adventure.

Looks really exciting. You must be brave! Your dog must be well behaved =) and your horses must be too!
Good luck and keep having fun.
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post #8 of 13 Old 05-26-2013, 09:57 PM
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Hiya,

Pretty reasonable shoeing job for someone who isn't a farrier & took it on without much training, because they had to! Some definite issues, but you're doing OK. It may be a catch 22 how much better you can do if you do need to keep them always shod though. I'd be inclined to get their shoes off whenever you can manage - like now, even if you end up needing to put them on again next week.

That you're resetting 4-weekly is good. As with barefoot, it's better to do them more frequently, rather than leaving them to overgrow before resetting. But if you're having to shoe back to back to back, this can create problems with more nail holes & such, so I'd try to use existing nail holes where possible and also see how you go with using just 2 nails a side, so you've got more 'clean' wall to choose from when you're shoeing.

So what was their problem going bare? Was it too much wear, thin soles....? Especially if it was simply too much wear, I'd think about just putting 'tips' on. Obviously they may be impossible to come by where you are, but you could maybe ask if 'they' could send some to you to try?? As their feet improve in health, they will be harder wearing & faster growing too, so that they 'should' keep up with the amount of wear. Obviously it doesn't always happen like that tho & you still need protection in the meantime anyway. Don't suppose you've got the Renegades yet to try out, or had any further developments with Easycare? If you could get away with part time shoeing/booting, this will improve their health/strength more quickly.

I appreciate your situation & that it may not be possible to improve things on this note but I think the superficial cracks are likely nutrition related, & these kind of cracks aren't due to trimming imbalance - although if there is imbalance, these cracks can easily become worse. I wonder, especially as they're getting varied & sometimes not ideal feed, whether it's possible/practical for you to carry some KER Equisure, to give them when you have to feed high starch feeds. Also what supps it would be possible/practical for you to feed regularly. A low dose, powdered supp may be possible for you to get sent/carry? Linseed/flax is one thing that would be helpful, rich in omega 3 & you only need to feed a very small quantity, so a couple of kgs should last a fair while. The rings and stretching are minor looking, but suspect this is likely dietary in cause too, given how you have to feed, & something like Equisure could help the horses cope.

Back feet on both horses look pretty good. Especially buck's - they look very nice. They both appear to need a bit more of a 'roll' & their quarters 'scooped', and bevelled a little. It will depend a bit on whether you're going to shoe them soon as to how much I'd roll on the grey, but buck only needs edges rounded.

Now marking of pics.... I use green lines to indicate what I think is 'right', red lines for wrong, blue lines for where I'd trim.... keeping in mind of course, this is for a rough idea, not meant to be necessarily accurate.

On the grey's hinds, on the side-on I've marked where I suspect the dorsal wall 'should' be, to show you that it is stretched forward slightly, the red arrow pointing to where it starts - so the top 3/4" of growth is nice & tight. Blue line indicates how I'd trim to relieve/correct stretching. On the sole pic, I've marked about where the hoof prints 'should' end and I would bevel strongly from(or a little inside) those lines. As you've already commented on, the bars are overgrown, but not by much on the grey's hinds. You can pare the bars to near sole level, or effectively, treat them the same as the rest of the walls.

Grey's fores are quite flared right around & I think at least one size smaller shoe may be better for him. I've marked the flaring, although you're already well aware, including on the sole shot showing where I suspect the walls(& therefore shoes) 'should' end. I'm sure you already have, but if not, go to e-hoofcare.com & study the guidelines for working out balance. If you do decide to try them bare/booted again, I'd 'treat' the flaring by bevelling strongly from the ground surface, but if shod, you may need to compromise, have the walls pretty flat on the ground surface & leave some extra wall thickness to nail to. It is OK to 'scoop' quarters though.

Buck's fronts are also flared/stretched forwards and high/forward heeled. I'd be interested to see the underside of those. I suspect her left fore 'should' be more upright/high heeled than the right. It is 'broken forward' hoof pastern angle, whereas the other one looks reasonable, ignoring the flare. I imagine you could probably lower her heels slightly more, hopefully more over time, but they may always need to stay a bit odd like that. As they're a bit crushed forward, I'd also be inclined to 'bevel' the heel platforms slightly - that is, trim the ground surface at the heels parallel to where it should be, rather than the angle they are now. Both toes, esp the left need to be brought back a fair bit though, which will also help the heels relax back.

Right, hope that gives you something useful!

**Ed to add... that second last pic, buck's left fore didn't look so severe when I was drawing on it & I don't think it is(not having seen the underside tho...). Possibly the toe should end half way between where it does & the red line...
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Last edited by loosie; 05-26-2013 at 10:04 PM.
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post #9 of 13 Old 05-27-2013, 10:10 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies and comments, everyone. I´m well aware that their feet are far from perfect but I´m doing my best. Some responses :

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mama26kids View Post
and I see from your site that your feeding grain? Have you considered weaning them off of that?
Yes and no. They work hard and there´s not always the grazing/grazing time necessary to replenish their energy. When we tried to take them barefoot they were on a lot less grain and it didn´t make any noticeable difference. Things are likely to get worse going into Bolivia (if we ever bloody get across the border) so I´m unwilling to let it go now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mama26kids View Post
do you have a rubber boot option? And how long will your horses have to rest before serious riding starts again?
Renegades have agreed to sponsor us to the tune of four boots (I assume that means two front pairs). That´s why I´m trying to use this delay constructively. Of course, Renegades need a decent trim so I haven´t yet sent them measurements - that´s this week´s job. I´m also trying to court other boot companies but with no luck so far.
Serious riding starts whenever the authorities give me the sodding papers or when I lose patience with waiting for them. So I don´t know

Quote:
Originally Posted by spirit88
The toes are long and looks like heels are a bit under run on both horses front feet. Back feet seem better but not great.
Yup, I know. It´s the toss-up between trying to save the hoof wall and needing back-to-back shoeing. However, should point out that those fronts are overdue for a trim and so are looking particularly bad.


Quote:
Originally Posted by loosie
So what was their problem going bare? Was it too much wear, thin soles....? Especially if it was simply too much wear, I'd think about just putting 'tips' on.
Too much wear, simply. Especially since they´re either loaded or ridden. What are tips? I mean, I can imagine, but I don´t have any direct knowledge *wanders to google in the meantime*

Quote:
Originally Posted by loosie
If you could get away with part time shoeing/booting, this will improve their health/strength more quickly.
Part-time booting is what I want to get to, to give the hooves a chance to get strong enough to go full-time barefoot as we get towards softer terrain (which we will... one day...).
Part-time shoeing, though? Won´t that just put the feet back into the same condition? Plus, the trim between times would be a compromise job, no? Ie. I´d try and trim so that there was no damage to the hoof wall because of the lack of protection, but without being able to give a proper barefoot trim because I might need to shoe again... does that make sense?


Quote:
Originally Posted by loosie
I appreciate your situation & that it may not be possible to improve things on this note but I think the superficial cracks are likely nutrition related, & these kind of cracks aren't due to trimming imbalance - although if there is imbalance, these cracks can easily become worse. I wonder, especially as they're getting varied & sometimes not ideal feed, whether it's possible/practical for you to carry some KER Equisure, to give them when you have to feed high starch feeds. Also what supps it would be possible/practical for you to feed regularly. A low dose, powdered supp may be possible for you to get sent/carry? Linseed/flax is one thing that would be helpful, rich in omega 3 & you only need to feed a very small quantity, so a couple of kgs should last a fair while. The rings and stretching are minor looking, but suspect this is likely dietary in cause too, given how you have to feed, & something like Equisure could help the horses cope.
Supps. My bete-noire. The basic problem is that a) Argentina is essentially closed to foreign imports for the moment, and b) the only place that has this kind of product for horses is Buenos Aires, just over a thousand miles away. I have access to corn, oats, barley and that´s about it in terms of ´feed´. It´s even difficult to find plain grass hay, since everyone feeds alfalfa hay. However, I should stop lamenting and look at other options. Linseed is a possibility. How much daily are we talking? Are there any oils that I could usefully give them?
I can obtain a general vitamin supplement in liquid form, which I do give them from time to time when there´s a tough section or when the grazing is really poor or there´s no variety. Otherwise there´s a selection of injectable vitamin/steroid mixes for the local racehorses.
Are there any plants, etc, that could be particularly useful?

Otherwise, thanks for the sketches. That´s going to be this afternoon´s job. Stand by for more photos...

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post #10 of 13 Old 05-27-2013, 04:21 PM Thread Starter
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Right, this is how much I appreciate you guys : I´ve made a second trip to the internet cafe today just to post post-trim photos. Hooves are a bit cleaner, and on a semi-decent surface, too. You are lucky...

OK, grey first.

1. Side view for seeing-how-she´s-standing purposes


My first thought is that her front right heel is too high/long still. My second thought is that she´s getting fat

2. Front feet from front


3. Right front from side


Heel too high still?

4. Right front underside

Flaring much more obvious in this photo. Should I roll much more severely in the quarters and round towards the heels?

5. Left front from side


6. Left front from underside


I left the wall longer than it should be, no?

7. Left front random angle, not sure if it´ll be useful for anything...


Finally, some better shots of her hind feet, seeing as she´s out and the camera´s in my hand anyway... plus there´s a comedy chicken element.

8. Hind feet from left side


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