Contracted heels - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 5 Old 03-06-2009, 11:41 AM Thread Starter
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Contracted heels

My grey QH mare has horrible feet. The people who I bought her from had her for about a year, and when they sold her to me she still had on the SAME pair of front shoes that they bought her with. Her feet were horribly overgrown and her heels are horrible. Her back feet aren't too bad, because she didn't have shoes on. Amazingly, she hasn't been lame. Does anyone have any experience with these kind of foot problems? My farrier is a barefoot specialist, so I had her come out and take the shoes off and give her a trim. Now my mare is barefoot and looks a little better, but I am worried about long-term damage. If you have experienced this, can you tell me what kind of long-term effects there are? My farrier said she thinks the hooves will get back to normal eventually. What is your experience? What are the chances of my mare developing abcesses or foot problems later on? Do contracted heels get any better with proper care, or is my mare always going to have bad feet? Thanks!!!

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post #2 of 5 Old 03-08-2009, 12:53 PM
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let her bare footed a while and keep her trimmed on regular schedule she should be fine. i seen feet like that.

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post #3 of 5 Old 03-08-2009, 04:32 PM
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Yep. She may have a few problems until her feet are trimmed and grown to be how they should be. But with proper care and a good farrier, she should be fine.

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post #4 of 5 Old 03-08-2009, 09:31 PM
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barefoot is the only way to go you will see major improvement within a couple of months, its easy to trim horses see if your barefoot specialist can train you. they really need to be trimed every couple of weeks. all you need is a file and hoof knives if you stay on top of them.
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post #5 of 5 Old 03-09-2009, 11:59 AM
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The likelyhood of her developing abscesses will gradually decrease as her feet are trimmed back into shape. Any horse, shod or barefoot and cared for by the best of farriers can get an abscess on occasion, though it's not common and a steady string of them would indicate there's a problem.
I've seen some really neglected feet turnaround and not bother the horse once the trim was fixed. There is potential for long term damage to show up later, in the form of arthritis, etc from cumulative damage on the soft tissues in her legs from the funky mechanics of a neglected foot. However, the prognosis is still pretty good. Once you set them up with good trimming, the body is able to function smoothly and even permanant damage can cause little to no lameness, if trims are maintained from here on out.

So, yes, there's some potential issue lurking about that could haunt this mare. But, getting the hooves fixed up to what she needs may eliminate any symptoms in the future and stop further damage and you'll never be able to tell she reached this point. Or she could have arthritis develop as time goes by. If's she's not lame now, then I wouldn't worry too much about it, she's likely to be fine. Ive seen some gnarly hooves trim up and the horse was just fine after that, but horses that had been trimmed their whole lives and shod by "top " certified farriers that had more cumulative damage and arthritis than some of the neglected horses. It just depends on the individual and how his body responded, and how he was able to use himself, inspite of a deformed hoof capsule.

For the suggestion that you do it yourself:If you have a qualified trimmer, I don't see why you would need to start doing it yourself every two weeks. Let the professional do their job, unless they suggest you "tweak" the trim between visits. The few things you would learn scratching away at this horse every couple of weeks is not going to compare to the variety of hooves and problems your trimmer has been trained to deal with and has already experienced, and it's easy to create an imbalance if you don't know what you are doing, which is why I don't suggest people do their own horses just because they are barefoot.At least shoes stop some people from messing with them. I get to fix problems all the time that OWNERS created when thought they could trim their own horses after they read an article on the internet. Please, if you want to do your own, get hands on instruction or formal schooling.
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