Is this all in my head? Or his?!

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Is this all in my head? Or his?!

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    05-13-2013, 05:36 PM
Is this all in my head? Or his?!

I have a 12 year old gelding that came up lame with a head bob at a trot on his right front, I took him to the vet 2 weeks ago and xrays were taken of both front feet. The prognosis was that he has a very thin sole on the right front with only 7-8 mm noted in cup on right front and a long toe.His coffin bone on the right front was tilted forward hitting toe first in the xray on the right front also which my vet stated was a conformation defect that he has always had. The vet recommended shoeing in 2 degree wedge pads on both fronts and cutting back the toe to bring back the break over and roll the toe on the shoe. I had the farrier out last wednesday and he performed the doctors orders as stated. Today was the first day that I had been able to get out and longe him since he had his shoes put on, and I still notice a slight head bob on that right front!He is not painful looking just looks like one leg is longer than the other..........The vet performed a flexion test also and he passed with flying colors and he had no response to the hoof testers. Is it possible that he has been lame on that right front so long that he has that slight head bob sometimes out of habit now??? Or can this maybe just a conformation defect in him and it really causes him no pain??? Should I continue to worry about this slight head bob at times when he is leading on the right??? The horse mom in me worries about this crap! Lol

Thanks guys and sorry its so long !:)
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    05-13-2013, 05:46 PM
I have a mare that had an absess in her left front at the end of last year and up until the last 3-4 works she had a slight limp. Between both our vets the only thing we could come up with was that by her limping around from the absess that she somehow agitated a muscle and was limping from a sore muscle. With constant excercise and lots of pole work she is no longer showing any sign of a limp. I thought it was stuck in my head as well because she wasnt sore she just looked "off" on that leg. The more we started working her the better it got.
    05-13-2013, 05:51 PM
Can you see an absess on an xray? I am hoping that the more that I work him the better he gets, Its very slight and un-recognizable to the "non horse inclined eye" but I can notice and it drives me INSANE! LOL
    05-14-2013, 05:56 AM
Hi Michigan,

Can you post hoof pics? Check out the link below for tips on what angles. It would be great if you could post the rads too.

Originally Posted by michigancowgirl    
very thin sole on the right front with only 7-8 mm
Depending on where the vet is measuring from, 7-8mm may not be terrible.

His coffin bone on the right front was tilted forward ...conformation defect that he has always had.
I think you mean it's 'rotated'? If so, the last thing I'd be doing was jacking up the heels even further & if he is thin soled, I trust he advised pads, not just rim shoes? Perhaps by 'conformational defect' the vet means this foot is a bit 'clubby', which can be conformational, but it can be due to a number of reasons, which may or may not be 'correctable'.

Or can this maybe just a conformation defect in him and it really causes him no pain??? Should I continue to worry about this slight head bob at times when he is leading on the right???
As said, maybe conformational, but if he's lame to the extent of head bobbing, I'd take it seriously. If he's been long toed for some time, it's possibly his whole foot, not just sole that's giving him grief. Don't force him to work if he's not comfortable.
    05-14-2013, 09:04 AM
Super Moderator
Give the horse Bute for 2 days. I would use 1 gm PM and again the next AM. Then, mid day ride him hard and trot quite a bit. If he bobs his head, it is habit or a structural defect unrelated to pain. If he goes sound, the Bute has relieved the pain so you need to find the source.

Then, after the Bute has worn off completely, ride him again and see if the head bob is worse. I would wait a couple of days.

Did the Vet stretch his front leg way out in front of him and pull it out to the side? Shoulder pain can appear very much like hoof pain to watch. When a horse does not respond to hoof testers, we really look hard at the shoulder. Then, well before we start throwing x-rays at the 'possible' problem, we block the hoof -- first the front of the hoof only and next the heels as well.

We will not use a Vet that wants to do x-rays first before it is absolutely confined to that part of the leg structure.

More than once, we have blocked one foot only to have the horse limp on the other front leg. Explanation? Both feet hurt and when the worst one is blocked, the other is then more sore. This is not uncommon with horses landing toe first.
    05-14-2013, 09:13 AM
Yes the vet did pull all of his legs out and stretched them, he said his heels are so low and his toes we long and it was causing the tendons to stretch out irregularly, this is why he recommends the 2 degree wedge pads, he said we are treating him as navicular yet he has no navicular. I asked if he could be treated without corrective shoeing and he said yes with trimming but it would take a while.......The head bob is SOOOO slight..........I am trying to upload a video on youtube taken of him in the round pen prior to shoeing.....
    05-14-2013, 09:25 AM
What does he mean 'he has no navicular'? I'm guessing from xrays there is not yet any deterioration of the bone? Look into Dr Bowker's work on 'navicular'.
    05-14-2013, 09:34 AM
Originally Posted by loosie    
What does he mean 'he has no navicular'? I'm guessing from xrays there is not yet any deterioration of the bone? Look into Dr Bowker's work on 'navicular'.
    05-14-2013, 09:53 AM
Super Moderator
What you are probably dealing with is 'Navicular syndrome'. We do not use wedge shoes and do not use the Natural Balance shoes. When we can, we go barefoot and do what is called a 'barefoot trim' with a rolled toe.

When we have to use shoes, we take the heels down and 'open' them up by rasping the edge of the heels and allowing them to grow down instead of forward. We take the toe back to the white line and use 'half round' shoes that allow the horse to break-over quickly. We hate square toes because they do not let a horse break-over as they try to turn.

When we set the half round shoes back to the white line, we leave out the toe nails and usually leave out the heel nails until the heels start to grow right.

Go to this website: Hoof Cure Navicular Syndrome


When you use wedge pads and wedge shoes, you only make the cause worse. Your Vet is treating Navicular Syndrome as it was treated more than 10 years ago.

Long toes (with or without shoes) and going too long between shoeings is the most crippling thing we can do to horses. Navicular Syndrome is all man made.
loosie, Elana and PaintMommy87 like this.
    05-14-2013, 01:19 PM
Green Broke
Interesting Cherie. I have one of Rooney's books (if he wrote more than one). I agree.. this horse looks "Navicular" to me.

Also interesting that a lot of horses are shod at Age 2. Other than racing.. who is using these two year old horses so much they NEED shoes?

My horses were all shod 8 months of the year.. bare foot 8 months. Shoes were used on the using horses due to all the riding and a lot of road riding. Never put the back to nails in so the entire foot could expand to the rear.

My horses struck the ground with their heels first and by not using borium, the foot would slide that little bit so that some energy was dissipated in the strike like an unshod hoof. Funny thing is, I can shut my eyes and "hear" that heel strike with the horse walking on smooth pavement. I find this interesting.. it is soooo ingrained in my thought of how a horse moves.

I will add that I never had a horse with navicular syndrome (and I did have some of the best farriers in the region.. including one fellow who did Olympic 3 day event horses). I also learned to shoe my own horses.

Must have gotten it right.. as I shut my eyes and hear my horses walking on smooth pavement...
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