Hiya. Before I start this, I just want to say that I've read a couple of the threads on this topic on here, which were very informative. But I'm seeking advice on the particular situation I have right now.
On the property my horses graze at, a lovely grey gelding has been dumped. His owners just left him as they soon grew "bored" of owning a horse. The thing about this big fella though is that he has an incredibly upright foot. I'm not sure if there's anything that can be to help this guy, but I thought I'd see if I could get some more information anyway.
Storm's feet are horrible. He hasn't had the farrier in a long time, and last time the other grazer's farrier was out, she attempted to get him looked at - but he tried to kill the farrier apparently. After hearing that he was becoming too much of a pest breaking through fencing, I decided to put him in with my mares as my gelding's away getting trained. He's been so far a delight to deal with, and very happy to be getting attention. However I wish to help him if there is anything I can do to help him not suffer so much.
Storm is very capable of walking, trotting, and cantering, but if he hoons constantly, the next day he shows up slightly lame. I've tried lifting his feet, but either he doesn't trust that he can balance on three legs, or it's just too much to try. I've been doing exercises by putting a rope around his leg and asking it up, as he gets quite distressed until he figures that I'm not going to kill him. Infact he's very nervous about his feet, but gets better as the days go by. He will lift up his left fore and hold it up briefly, but the actual club foot you can't even get him to lift for more than a few seconds and never up into a correct holding position (perhaps something at the knee?).
I have gotten some photos to share, so you know what I'm dealing with..
Obviously, there may be some underlying factor, I'm not exactly thorough in my knowledge about foot/leg conditions, but have thought of navicular disease also. He is generally very sore, I believe he's out somewhere along the back and definitely in the neck. I guess what I'm asking really, as bad as this sounds, is there any point to helping this fella out? Are there any suggestions to try? We're willing to try most things, obviously money is a factor though and as he's not our horse, we don't want to be injecting loads into him to have no results... but we do want to try. I would take him on if he were rideable for a hacking type situation (walk and trot and not for very long) as he's very kind and everything that my mate would love... however, I would never put him at any more strain and just want to know if it's treatable. I did read that if a club footed horse is not corrected in the earlier stages, it's already affecting the shoulder and merely a coping mechanism... but is it treatable even at this stage?
Any advice, whether good or bad appreciated... and sorry if I seem a bit blunt in some spots, as much as we love the guy, we are being realistic also. x
First off that poor horse! I can't believe the previous owners!
But there is help but you will have to find yourself a GOOD farrier. The club foot is obiviously the worst off. The heels are far too high. Chances are if you were to take an xray you would see that the coffin bone is pointed downward and the vet would tell you the horse has navicular. I also noticed that there is a buldge on that foot at the cornary band, If the coffin bone is pointed so far down then the pressure can actually cause the horses foot to crack up there and you won't be able to get that to go away untill the heels come down. This horse can be fixed. You might have to have a farrier that can come out every other week to get those heels down. And if the horse can't pick that foot up it's probably becauseit hurts too much to stand on three legs.
When you have a chance, take some time and look around this website www.swedishhoofschool.com . You will learn alot about ways you can help this horse out. You might also be able to find someone in your area to help you. If you contact the founder, Ove, he would probably be more then happy to help you out with your situtation.
Also try looking for for clasymover, a member on here who is currently dealing with a horse that has the same problem but in both front feet. She can also give you a ton of info.
I agree on some xrays. That clubby foot is definitely not growing in properly.
You might talk to your vet and ask about tranqualizers to help relax him during your training sessions. I've used tranqs quite successfully on nervous horses. It helps calm the horse during that first "scary" work, so things can proceed a bit quicker and with less stress on the horse. Usually only 1-3 training sessions with a mild tranqualizer is enough to help the horse get over that initial fear. You just have to make sure it's in full effect before beginning.
He's obviously a strong horse to be able to be doing what he is with his foot the way it is. If it was me, I'd be willing to give it a try. As others have posted, get a reputable trimmer -- try to find an actual barefoot trimmer as opposed to a farrier. I think you will have better luck. And yes, x-rays if you are willing to pay for them would be a big help, especially to document the changes that will occur. Oftentimes, when we deal with something we don't really see what is changing because we see it everyday and are rather immune to small improvements. Take photos before and after every trim and keep a record.
I would keep working with him until he is far enough along to get a good trim and then find a good farrier or barefoot trimmer to take care of him.
I bet you will find out after a few good trims that the hoof isn't as clubby as it appears right now. Unfortunately if they have weight going forward on their toes they will wear those down faster and the heel will keep growling, which again, just keeps pitching that weight forward on that toe. Its a vicious cycle and ends up with a horse like that. It will knock his shoulder and back out of wack as well.
A good consistant trim by someone who knows what they are doing. Since this isn't a horse you have investment in and is rather a drop-off, I wouldn't put money towards x-rays yet. I would first see where a couple trim-cycles takes him first and then worry about x-rays if it seems like they will be needed.
Also, if he is really bad with his feet and won't let you work with that foot especially, you might need to look into getting him into a chute for the first trim. Normally I wouldn't recommend it, but in a case like this where soundness could be at stake its one of the times I think it could be justified. This is how they give the mustangs coming in off the range their first trim.
Thanks everyone for the advice!
Like most have you have said, we have thought of x-rays, but like Cat pointed out, this horse isn't ours, and I don't personally want to put that big of an investment into this horse immediately. I know it sounds mean, but I'm being realistic.
I have my farrier coming out this weekend and will get his professional opinion on Stormy. We're going to at least try and get him trimmed, and then get him up on a float to a chiro. Obviously if he's going to be unsound and sore quite a lot, we're going to try and just find him a 'pet/paddock mate' home, if the landowners really want him off the property... so far they don't seem that fazed as long as he's not being a nuisance.
I'll let you all know what the farrier says :)
Thanks again for the advice!
Good Luck with everything, Im guessing the farrier is going to want to come out and take a little at a time... maybe every 4-5 weeks instead of 6-8 weeks. If he is really sore it may be hard for him to stand on three legs though so be patient with him.
Okay, the horse has a severe club. DO NOT take off that heel. There is nothing that can be done at his age to change the club. The worst problems come in when you start to remove heel and change the outer appearance of the foot. The hoof wall needs to be the same angle as the coffin bone. Therefore, if the coffin bone is pointed straight down, the hoof wall needs to be straight down. X rays would help, but he looks to have the same degree of club that my mare did. The foot needs to be trimmed like it is growing, if xrays show a different angle to match the coffin bone, then only do that. If it is already aligned, then just take off the excess growth without changing angles. I can't stress enough, do not bring this horses foot down trying to make it look normal. You will mechanically founder him.
I don't wish to change the shape of his foot to one that a 'normal' foot should look like. I know that a horse with a club foot is one that obviously grows differently and therefore needs different treatment, but I didn't know much more than that! However, I cannot stress enough, this horse is a rescue case, he's not even ours and we cannot get xrays done... it's like $300 plus for xrays if I remember correctly, and I'm not prepared to spend such an amount on a horse that's owner may miraculously reappear and take off the property. As bad as that sounds, we'd still like to help this guy out. I thank everyone for their advice! I'm not trying to be negative, but will hopefully know more about Stormy when the farrier has been out on Saturday. x