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Hooves chipped at edges! How to protect/improve?
First off, the farrier is coming out again in the first week in January.
Ali is growing out some poor hoof edges; they are chipped and ragged looking. The farrier is however pleased with her overall hoof health (phew!) and reckons he may even be able to improve the angle of her left fore; it turns in a little.
She is on a general supplement that includes biotin, but today she chipped the wall of her left fore on a sharp rock in her field:shock:
The chip is at the bottom edge of her hoof, just above the shoe. It is just the outer wall and the shoe is still in place. The chip is a 1 cm triangle.
She is walking normally. I cleaned and dried the area whilst I was picking out and washing her feet this afternoon. I wash and dry them every day since I have to scrub her lower legs anyway (mud fever). I also apply Stockholm tar to her hooves twice a week.
So should I play it safe and put her on box rest until January - exercise in hand, etc? The grazing is very muddy at the moment. I am worried about this weakening or damaging her hoof further.
Also, my OH was wondering if we ought to fill the chip with anything until the farrier can see to it?
All advice welcome!
Firstly, no, she most definitely doesn't need to be cooped up for anything like that. Leave her out, because the more free movement the better.
I would not be putting stockholm tar on her feet and wouldn't wash them daily & not frequently at all with anything other than water, unless necessary for some medical problem or such. Overwashing and applying chemicals, particularly astringents to hooves will strip the protective wax & fats from the outside and can further damage the feet if used regularly. I'd be ensuring the horse was getting a well balanced diet with appropriate nutritional supplementation, perhaps with extra essential fatties to help replace the oils in her coat & hooves that have been removed. Biotin is apparently helpful for hoof growth regardless of a well balanced diet, but best not to disregard the rest.
With only a little info & no pictures even, afraid can't possibly know what exactly is going on. Could be entirely normal chipping of excess hoof walls, could be infection or laminitis weakening walls, nutritional imbalance allowing them to be weak, bad farriery....
If your horse were barefoot, I would suggest you use an old rasp to round off the edges & reduce excess leverage that can cause chipping. Your farrier should be happy to show you how to do that if unsure. If the horse is shod, you can't really do anything, but it's possibly an indication that you need to tighten up the trimming schedule - perhaps get the farrier out a bit more frequently.
A little chipping isn't anything to be too concerned about, especially if your horse is just about due for the farrier anyway.
A different trim can minimize chipping- my horse used to start chipping just a couple weeks after a trim; I switched farriers a couple months ago and whatever he does differently makes a world of difference. He stills gets some chips, but they are much smaller and not as soon.
I'd be wary of your farrier trying to correct a foot that toes in. My understanding is that these kinds of flaws shouldn't be fixed in mature horses, as the bones are already formed like that.
How many weeks has it been since the shoes were put on?
My guess is, it's been too long for this horse even if it's only been six weeks, and the hooves are trying to trim themselves.
Poor hoof health was alluded to and that it's trying to be corrected. The hoof is probably still in the process of trying to correct that as well.
I just trimmed two of my horses Saturday. One of them has always grown hoof at warp speed. It had only been 29 days since the last trim and he already had enough hoof for the knippers to take a solid cut all the way around.
The other horse only needed a light rasping and to round off those pointy toes he likes to get on his hinds.
Ditto the chink in the hoof is just a tiny bump in the road and not anything the horse needs stalled for. Again, I am inclined to think too much time has passed between trims for this particular horse.
I also believe there shouldn't be a lot of corrective work on the pigeon toe. Just trim it to keep the horse comfortable and don't try changing angles as that could lead to soring the leg up.
Pigeon toes often lead to arthritis as the horse gets older; that would be my concern if it's bad enough.
Pictures would be needed of the horse standing square for the professionals to comment on - of which I am not - I've just been trimming my own most of my life. I know what to do with my horses special needs hooves; it's not for me to say with problems that go beyond the norm on someone else's horse:-)
She has been out during the day as normal and I have stopped using the stockholm tar. I can't avoid getting her feet wet as I have to wash the fetlock area every day. She has mild mud fever - she had it when I bought her - but I am happy to say it is clearing up. I dry her hooves as well as I can each time.
The hoof that turns in does not affect her moving. The farrier is basically using corrective shoes to try and keep her comfortable and he reckons that it may eventually improve a little.
The shoes were put on on the 30th November. The farrier thought that they would need done by early January but they are growing faster that he initially expected. So he will be out every four weeks instead of every six from now on.
Apparently, the hoof wall is healthy and getting stronger now that she's on her supplement. She had never had biotin before - just grass and hay. I give her a scoop of chaff and a half scoop of cool mix with her balancer in it each evening. She also gets hay and is out to graze during the day.
There is no heat in her hooves and her frogs are healthy. The chipped hoof has since been trimmed and reshod, as have the other three. Over all the farrier is happy with how she is progressing. I have cut back on sugary foods such as carrots and changed her to a non-molassed chaff to be safe.
She is in no pain but I will be very glad when all the rough bits are finally grown out! She hadn't been as well cared for regarding her hooves as I would prefer in her old home, but thankfully it seems that nothing permanent was damaged. It just looks a bit untidy in places - her near fore and her off hind in particular.
So my new years resolution is to get her hooves perfect! Thank you for all of the advice so far. I would change farrier if ever it seemed he wasn't doing a good enough job. But so far so good, and he will trim her more frequently from now on.
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