Potential Club Foot??? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 20 Old 05-05-2011, 06:08 PM Thread Starter
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Unhappy Potential Club Foot???

Hello! I had a talk with my farrier yesterday when he came out to look at a new arrivals feet and asked him why my mare's hooves are so upright. He said it is because she is an Arabian and that it the way she is. She has never been lame. I ride her 3 times a week with some light jumping and recently went on a 12 mile trail ride, so she gets worked pretty well. I am just worried that this isn't ok. Sorry, I don't think I have a picture, but can get one and post it later. Should I try to find a new farrier and get a second opnion? Is it just an Arabian thing? I don't know really how to find another farrier. We live in a small town and there is only 1 horse vet willing to come out and all the farms around use this farrier. Thanks!!!

oh - she is barefoot.
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post #2 of 20 Old 05-05-2011, 06:13 PM
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I'd like to see a picture so I can visualize just how upright they are.
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post #3 of 20 Old 05-05-2011, 09:18 PM Thread Starter
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I grabbed these before the light ran out so she isn't at her best/cleanest but they should work. If there is another angle that would help, please let me know and I can get it tomorrow. Thanks for any advice, I really don't want to be doing something that will end up hurting her. I love her to pieces and want her to be as healthy as possible for as long as possible.

They are kinda out of order, but the first is her front feet and the 3rd is her back feet.
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post #4 of 20 Old 05-05-2011, 09:28 PM
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Now, keep in mind that I am no expert, but they really don't look clubbed to me. Some horses just have very upright feet, my Dad calls them 'mule footed'. My Mustang is like that on his hind feet. Maybe she is just like that. It's hard to tell if that's just how her feet are and the farrier is trimming her the way that is correct for her or if he is just using it as an excuse to do a crappy job.

I can already figure that others will ask for more pictures of the bottoms of the feet and what they look like picked up, etc.

ETA: It does seem strange that he would blame it on her being an Arab, though. In my experience, Arabs usually tend to have bigger feet that are more flat than your mare's.

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post #5 of 20 Old 05-05-2011, 09:29 PM
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Yes, those are all four club feet, and no, it's no an Arabian thing. You do need to find a better farrier, but make sure it's not one who's going to "fix" her by trimming the hell out of her heel--that'll make her lame. I'd wager a good guess that her deep digital flexor tendons are significantly shortened. What I'd do as a starting point? Head over the the Hoofcare/Farrier Resource Forum at horseshoes.com - show them those pics, and see what the online professionals suggest.
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post #6 of 20 Old 05-05-2011, 09:41 PM
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I pulled this quote from another board, where a professional farrier was discussing a severely clubfooted horse (significantly worse than yours, so don't freak out at the gloom and doom). I hope he doesn't mind my posting it.

No, you can't fix her feet. Keep them conservatively trimmed; don't take too much heel and watch sole depth. She'll always be a candidate for mechanical founder because of DDFT pull on the distal phalanx. The hinds are worse than the fores although the right fore will be a constant source of concern.

An inexperienced farrier or barefoot trimmer will try to "fix" these horses by removing what they think is excess heel. The horse will almost certainly go immediately lame when they do and quickly grow as much heel as physiologically possible again. Lowering the heels places huge tension on an already over stressed flexor tendon, pulling the distal phalanx down, impinging on the circumflex artery and stressing the interdigital laminae. Shoeing a club footed horse requires a solid understanding of the mechanics in play and is not for the novice. She'll try to keep the mare barefoot until the sole begins separating from the hoof wall on the hind feet. She'll notice the sole begin to "peel" away at the whiteline, being pushed away from the toe on the lateral side. Shoeing will be required long term to protect the hoof capsule and sole from excess wear and damage. The damage will be resultant excessive toe stabbing.

These horses go lame easily and often and can be a real challenge to keep comfortable in the long term. The apex of the frog will be stretched and nearly impinge upon the whiteline at the toe; commissure depth will always be excessive and sole depth at the toe region under P3 will be scary thin. She'll toe stab on the right fore and even more so on the hinds, wearing away at the dorsal aspect of the hoof wall. Early onset arthritis will appear in the hocks first and later at the stifle joints. She'll tend towards sore at the sacroiliac under saddle. Good conditioning and strengthening the abdominal muscle group will help her back but that same conditioning will wear early on stressed joints.

She'll be short strided, choppy and tend to string out behind. Collection for a horse like this is nearly impossible.
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post #7 of 20 Old 05-05-2011, 10:03 PM
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I've never been really good at the clubbed foot thing, but I don't see it here. She probably is more upright than is common, but club???

It's hard to tell from those pics, but she may have excess hoof growth generally that needs to be trimmed. That is, not that just her heels are higher, but that the entire hoof should be vertically shorter. I do think her heels are higher in relation to the entire hoof as well though and there is possibly some flaring on the heels, maybe even in the back part of the quarter areas.

SMR is right -- more pics would be helpful. Sole shots, and heel shots from ground level or pick up the hoof and take a pic looking down from the heel to the toe vertically. Next time you take any pics (except sole), try to take then from ground level also instead of looking down to the hooves.

But let's wait for some experts to put in their 2 cents. Loosie?
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post #8 of 20 Old 05-05-2011, 10:12 PM Thread Starter
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Ok...thanks! I will wait to get super scared until I hear from more people. She has never been lame and works hard. I'll get the pics you suggested tomorrow and post them. I didn't think about getting a picture of the sole.
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post #9 of 20 Old 05-05-2011, 10:28 PM
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My farrier says a mild club foot is very common in Arabians. My mare has one hoof with a mild club foot, but it doesn't seem to bother her in any way. The farrier says that as long as her hooves get trimmed every couple of months that she should be good to ride until she dies - at least as far as her feet are concerned.

Look at the front right for comparison:

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post #10 of 20 Old 05-05-2011, 11:14 PM
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I don't know about it being an Arabian thing. I used to own two Arabians and both of them had normal hoof angles.

I suspect looking at the photos, that her hooves are upright because her pasterns are naturally upright. In which case, as someone else posted, they really shouldn't be "corrected" because that is what the horse needs due to her conformation. Just my opinion though.

Last edited by trailhorserider; 05-05-2011 at 11:18 PM.
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