weird hoof, is this critical?
I'm in the disaster zone from the bad storm in New England last weekend, and my horse's hoof looks weird. We still have a lot of power outages and tress on the roads, so I don't want to call for help unless it's really important. It's total chaos around here so the people I would usually ask for help aren't around, either.
I've attached a couple of pictures I took this morning. I just noticed this yesterday morning. Last time I did his feet on Friday it didn't look like that.
He has a wedge under this shoe to fix his angles. Otherwise, his hoof was healthy when the farrier was out last.
The farrier is due to come again in a few weeks - does this look like something that can wait until then, or should I pull out the stops and try to get him to come early?
Thanks for any help!
If I were you I'd get a new farrier. That looks look like a pretty poor job to me but it can certainly wait until the roads are cleared.
What exactly is it that your so concerned about? If it's the little chip that's out of the bottom next to the shoe I wouldn't worry about that at all. I would be much more worried about the fact that none of the nails are the same hieght and the shoe looks poorly fit to the hoof.
But OP, if your horse isn't in pain... then I don't see why it'd be a big emergency just yet, specially not with everyone trying to patch things together for themselves. Personally, I'd wait until the roads were clear and your vet/farrier had the actual time (not rushed because they have their own families to take care of) to come out and give you their opinion.
Yeah, it's that chunk out of the back. That's new. The angles are fine and this farrier is generally considered to be very competent - it could be that it looks weird because I was hunching over trying to get this with my camera phone in a dark barn (bc the power is still out). The shoe nails, whatever they're called, aren't usually "up" like this. I had to dig a couple of huge balls of frozen ice mud out of his hooves this morning - when I brought him into the barn for grooming I noticed his feet didn't seem to be touching the floor, because of these big mud ice rocks. Ugh.
The conditions right now are horrible, everything that isn't covered with snow is 4" or more of glutinous mud, the kind that sucks your boot off if you aren't careful. I thought that might be contributing to some of this hoof-and-shoe damage but I wanted to make sure that this was not some frightening foot disease that needed to be caught early.
Looks like the horse is about due for hoof care, but nothing urgent stands out.
I won't comment on angles, because for one, in those pics I don't think you can accurately say. I won't judge the current farrier either, because I don't know when/with what he started or how many weeks have gone by since the application. However, I do agree the nails are one indication he may not be as good as his local rep(good to analyse how/why/with whom someone's got a rep). I dont get your comments about the nails being 'up', as they look too 'down' to me.
I would be concerned about the apparently long but quite underrun heels. It appears there is also a crack and the farrier has thinned that area because of the flaring, of the quarter that's broken away? I imagine it's just broken away due to the extra length/pressure there from the shoes - the farrier has rasped the outside which has thinned/weakened the wall there, but it appears he hasn't trimmed/shod to reduce the pressure in that area causing the flaring. It has possibly got infection in there contributing to it.
The tops of the nails used to be more flush with the hoof, now they seem to be working their way up out of the hoof. So, "up" as in "not down in the hoof".
Farrier has a good reputation because he's certified, competent, and good with the horses. The vets approve, and there are a lot of horse people in this area who respect him, so it's not one of those things where he's the only game in a 200-mile radius. There's another farrier who is popular for horses that have soft or crumbly hooves. My guy isn't in that category, or wasn't, as recently as September when he had his vet check (vet states on the report that his hooves are in great condition) and when the farrier came out last - horse is due for his regular trimming/shoeing/whatever in 2 weeks, so this is not a new pair of shoes or a recent trim. It's a couple of months old. He didn't used to have a crack there. I pick his feet out and clean them up at least every other day and this is new.
Given how much the mud in the paddocks was sucking on my boots, I'm wondering if it's starting to suck the shoe off his hoof. He has a real love for a mud-wallow, even if it is not super muddy, he'll trample and dance on a dirt patch until it turns into mud, the little piggy. Maybe the muddy conditions - it's been disgusting for I don't even know how many weeks on end - made this shoeing have a shorter life than it usually would at this time of year? Also, he's been getting into fights with the horses in the turnout. Maybe this is some kind of weird Battle Scar?
Just as long as it doesn't look like laminitis, or any of that other awful stuff, that's what I needed to know. I haven't actually seen any horrible hoof diseases, I just know that some hoof problems are little issues and some of them are very bad, and I do not have enough experience to know the difference. I'm sure that if the other more experienced horse owners had been around lately, they would have been able to sort it out for me, it's just that things have been very difficult for everyone and playing with the ponies is not at the top of the list when you have no heat or water. :( I am lucky that I do.
I meant that the nails are very low in the hoof wall. Yes, the clinches will loosen after a while as the hooves overgrow & shoes loosen. I'm a bit confused, as you say he has wedges to 'fix angles' but then you say the 'angles' are fine.
Sounds like it would be a good idea for you to learn more about your horse's hooves & how to look after them & how they function. hoofrehab.com is one good source to start with IMO. This will help you understand what may or may not be helpful to your horse.
No, it's not a 'battle scar' or such, it is a product of the state of his feet, yes, perhaps combined with chronic mud which may have weakened them or allowed infection into the separated regions.
If your horse has had those shoes on for 2 months, then he's not due in 2 weeks, but more like 2 weeks overdue. Of course I can't tell much detail from those pics - some more different angles as per the link in my signature would help if you'd like a critique, but from the look of them, if your vet says his feet are in great condition, esp considering he's got wedges, which indicate problems, I'd at least consider that this vet perhaps isn't an expert on hooves.
Vet based his "great" comment on the work he did with the hoof-tester, not on the shoeing.
Shoes were put on at the end of September, mid-Nov is the regularly-scheduled visit from the farrier based on his experience of this horse, that's why I'm thinking the conditions might have shortened the life of these shoes.
Horse had overgrown feet last winter when my trainer bought him, and that's been getting corrected. The farrier said that the angle on each individual foot are fine, but that the front feet don't have identical angles, so they don't match each other - hence the wedge on one foot to bring them into alignment with each other. No one is certain whether this will be a long-term thing of whether it's just from having his feet overgrown last year. They say that time will tell.
Thanks for the info!
the chip is nothing to really worry about, if you can get some type of hoof dressing like hoof heal or hooflex to put on the hoof to keep it from getting any worse. when the ferrier comes that will more than likely be mostly if not completely cut out when he trims his feet.
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I was finally able to hook up with my trainer and get her to look at it - she thought that his feet have been growing a lot faster than usual. She said that happens with some horses, that they sprout lots of hoof at certain times of the year, and that he seems to have overgrown his shoe. She also reminded me that when the farrier comes out in a couple of weeks, he's going to pull the shoes off for the winter. I gather it's the practice in this barn to have the horses go barefoot in the winter, there isn't an indoor ring so none of them are getting ridden much once it starts to snow and freeze.
Still learning a lot about horse feet - thanks, everyone, for the discussion!
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