Can you look at these hoof cracks for me? - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 17 Old 07-18-2007, 06:37 PM Thread Starter
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Can you look at these hoof cracks for me?

Hi, I am new here!

I'm 24, and absolutely adore horses! I started riding when I was 14. I rode fairly consistently from the ages of 14 to 18, until I went to college. I haven't rode at all really, in the last six years. But, I am wanting to get back in to horses...I've been given the "o.k." by my husband to buy a horse!

Can you take a look at these hoof cracks and tell me what you think?

I have had a hard time finding a horse....either it's too spooky/hyper, or is barn sour and won't leave the yard, etc. The very first horse I looked at was awesome; a 5-year old palomino QH gelding named Chip. I love Chip in every way...such a calm, mellow horse, with an easy going temperment. But, Chip had a large crack in each of his front hooves. Because of these cracks, I decided to "pass" on him and continue on with my search. But, I am wondering if the crack would be manageable with proper shoeing?

Front L:


Front R:


As you can see, the cracks have "spread". I think part of the problem is the fact that it looks like whoever the owner's farrier is, isn't very good. Also, you can see right around his coronet, about 3/4" of growth where the hoof is nice (i.e. No cracks, very smooth looking).....is this the new growth coming in? She said she purchased him this spring. I am assuming the previous owner (who had foaled him and owned him for his entire life, up until April/May) did not have shoes on him, which is why his hooves got so bad.

Please look at the pictures and tell me what you think.

I really liked this horse!

-graygoose
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post #2 of 17 Old 07-18-2007, 06:51 PM
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Even though the cracks have not reached the coronet band, they very well could potentially.
These particular cracks are called sand cracks. I am very curious to see what condition the horse is in as well. What is the climate like where you are? Is the horse turned out at night and brought in a stall during the day?
The cracks would turn me off of the horse due to the possibility of founder, injury and/or laminitis. However, the cracks could be due to poor nutrition, a terrible farrier, imbalanced hoof moisture, ect. (or all of these things).
It would greatly depend on WHY the horse has the cracks, but they could possibly be treated. You would need to know the history of the horse, any injuries and have a very good farrier.
What do you plan on doing with the horse?
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post #3 of 17 Old 07-18-2007, 07:00 PM Thread Starter
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Here are a few pictures of Chip:




He's in good health. He's kept on 5 - 6 acres with a couple of other horses. It's very, very dry here, and the pasture consisted of grass (very dry grass, I must add!) He's turned out pretty much all day and night long. I was thinking they could be sand cracks, due to the fact that it's so dry. But, I don't know.

I would use him for trail riding. No showing or gaming, or anything like that. Just riding around out in the country (I live in a rural area) by myself, and going on a few organized trail rides every now and then.

I know his current owner said that the gal she purchased him from is the one who foaled him, and had him for his whole life (up until this spring). The gal that foaled him, also currently owns his dam too.

It looks like whoever her farrier is, does a crappy job (at least, that's how it looks to me anyhow. I'm no expert, but that shoe job looks pretty bad......big nail heads sticking out/not filed level, very rough rasping on the hooves, etc.)

I just really, really liked this horse...I fell in love, I guess you could say. But, wouldn't you know it....the horse I fall in love with would be PERFECT for me in every way, except he has crappy feet :( Just my luck....
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post #4 of 17 Old 07-18-2007, 07:04 PM
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He looks to be in decent shape. A mineral deficiency may also be to blame. Have you had a drought in your area?
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post #5 of 17 Old 07-18-2007, 07:18 PM Thread Starter
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We haven't had any drouts, but it's been very, very dry.
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post #6 of 17 Old 07-18-2007, 11:11 PM
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Cracks like this are from poor trimming/shoeing, poor nutrition and poor environmental conditions. They aren't something that make me worry about laminitis as that tends to occur from metabolic conditions or concussive stresses on the hoof.

If everything else about a horse is right and cracks like that in the hooves are the only issue, I would definitely go ahead and have a pre-purchase exam performed by a vet before just dismissing the horse as a possibility out of hand. Often this sort of thing can be corrected with a good diet and good hoof care.

Cindy D.
Licensed Veterinary Technician
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post #7 of 17 Old 07-19-2007, 01:36 AM
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A pre-purchase exam would be an absolute must...that's for certain. I may even find a farrier to take a look, as they sometimes can give you a better idea than a vet what the prognosis is for something like this.

Since he's got lighter colored feet, they're going to be softer and will have more problems than dark feet; how do the soles of his feet look?

Personally, I find that shoes tend to cause more problems than they help, but people have been using them for years now and have a hard time breaking away from tradition. Easy boots are expensive up front, but quite helpful for horses with soft, easily split feet.
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post #8 of 17 Old 07-19-2007, 10:27 AM
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It doesn't look really goo to me. Looks like hoof is quite destroyed by poor shoeing.

I'd recommend to pull shoes off at least till he'll grow nice hoof. May be his hoof will be strong enough by that time so you won't even need it. Number of people I know did it this way and it worked great. However sometime horse can go sore in the beginning, sometime it takes quite long to heal. The horse I was working with had same looking ugly hoofs. We pulled shoes off and believe it or not he rode way much better and his hoofs look much better in just a month.

In all other ways he looks very nice. Good luck!
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post #9 of 17 Old 07-19-2007, 10:55 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you to everybody, for all of your help!
I am not sure if I am going to get this horse or not. I've got a couple of other horses lined up that are really nice (pretty much what I am looking for), so I won't be *TOO* disappointed if things with Chip don't work out!

I brought the pictures of his hooves to a farrier lastnight. He said I'd have to feed a biotin supplement daily for quite some time, and keep corrective shoes on him for at least 8 to 12 months. Although he does farrier work, I don't think he does a lot with the corrective-type shoeing. His daughter was there...she said she had a mare with the same type of quarter crack. She said "good luck finding a farrier that will do that [type of corrective shoeing] for you!"

He also said you can see a good 1/2" to 3/4" of new growth around the coronet, which is a good sign.

Unfortunately, the two times I went out to see Chip, I did not look at the bottoms of his feet.
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post #10 of 17 Old 07-19-2007, 11:55 AM
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I'd be very hesitant to purchase him. I notice that he's always favoring one of his hooves, but it could just be coincidence from the pictures. No hoof, no horse. When these guys get injured like that it takes a long time to repair, if it ever is truly repairable.

You're probably looking at several thousand and a lot of time to correct that kind of problem, as a rough guess. If you do decide to purchase the horse, have both an IMPARTIAL vet and farrier look at it carefully. By that I mean a vet that is in no way associated with the current owner - not their vet or even a different vet from the same practice. Same idea with the farrier. The exam may cost a lot of money, but trust me it's worth it. I've had friends that have been shafted and purchased unsound horses before, and it's a bad, bad deal. There was all kinds of fuss for very little productivity, even though it was a quite talented horse. A DVM doesn't mean that the vet will be all-knowing or honest. If your're doubtful on an objective or even a gut level, call in even another vet for a second opinion.

No question it will be a tough fix, if it's fixable. However, I understand that feeling of being bonded to a horse despite problems. Just get advice from impartial professionals so that you have a very clear idea of what you're getting into as far as the time, money, and overall implications of the situation.
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