How long should it take to fix underslung heels?
My farrier has been working with my horse for about 6 months now, and she is trying to fix his underslug heels (his last farrier ruined them- this was before I bought him). She has said that it will take around a year to fix them as the whole hoof has to grow out. Its the halfway mark now, and I'm not noticing too much of a difference (the hooves look much healthier, but they are still underslung). How long does it usually take to fix something like this and should I be noticing more of a difference already?
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I honestly can't help, but to give you the heads up I am sure people answering will ask you for pictures of his heels to help you as much as they can.
It depends on how much internal damage was done. Under-run heals can do a lot of ugly stuff that you can't see from the outside. Have you gotten x-rays done to see what his coffin bone orientation is?
I will post some pictures when I get home this evening. His feet were trimmed by someone who had no idea what they were doing for approximately a year before I got him and they did not to a very good job in that time frame. When I got him, he had flat feet, compacted frogs, and underslung heels. His feet look better in that his frogs have gotten healthier and are no longer as compacted,and he is not as flat-footed. His heels don't seem much better to me, but maybe I'm not looking for the right things? I don't know all that much about hooves.
I have not have his feet x-rayed, as again I don't know too much about their feet and the farrier said that it should be no problem to fix but that it would take awhile. Should this be something to look into?
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Post some pictures, first. Put him on level solid ground. Clean his feet really well and take a close-up ground level shot from the front and each side. Make sure the photo(s) accurately shows the coronary band. ie: no excessive winter hair obscuring the contour. Then take a good photo of the underside of each foot. :)
I'm no farrier, but from what I've seen it can take quite a while, it seems a lot easier to create the problem than to fix it. I'd imagine the longer they're allowed to stay like that, the more difficult they are to fix? Conformation likely has a role as well, like pastern angle. I would think that if the frog is improving and the heel base is getting wider that he's on the right track. Hoping to see pictures.
It depends. I've seen underrun heels relax back after the first trim, but then I've seen them take many, many months. If the horse is shod, then it can be extremely tricky to even improve. So saying, I don't have any personal experience of trying to correct the situation with a shod horse though, just pulled shoes & started rehab on horses who's farriers had apparently been trying for ages to 'fix'.
I don't think the entire hoof capsule needs to grow out before they can come good though, as a rule. I think it's more about getting the balance right, the whole foot sharing the load & releiving the walls from undue pressure. Eg. shortening run out toes & overlong quarters, so they don't contribute to pull the heels forward, keeping walls well maintained with frequent trims, including of course shortening the heels gradually.... or quickly, whatever the hoof & situation allows. If the horse's frogs are receded, &/or the horse is worked over hard, flat ground, I'd also be inclined to use frog support pads, to allow the frogs more comfortable stimulation & reduce excessive wall loading.
Alrighty, I'll post some pictures of when I got him in July, and the ones I just took this evening. (mind you, that his feet are being trimmed in a few days. We usually trim every four weeks, but had to go 5 1/2 because of the holidays).
Back Hooves View
Front Right (July)
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