another tender foot thread
I've read with interest about others that are experiencing the same thing I'm currently dealing with.
This is a 8yo Rocky, I've had him for 4 years and he has been BF for that period. When I brought him home he had shoes only on his fronts. My farrier came out and told me that because his feet where in very good condition and the area that I ride (it's call the Sandhills for a reason) that he could go BF. The terrain is very sandy where he's ridden.
The farrier did the trimming for a little over the first year, during this time he also taught me the principles. I would have him come back occasionally just to make sure that I was still on track. Anyway, he's fallen off the face of the earth:-( and I haven't been able to get him back this spring. The horse is very tender this year on stones and gravel, hasn't been a issue prior to this. I am planning on bringing out someone else to take a look but I thought that I'd also ask here.
I did a light trim 3 days ago, didn't touch the soles, lightly trimmed the bars and very little on the frogs open the collateral grooves a bit. I mostly shorten his heals, they're about a 1/16 above his frogs. Also rasped the quarters and the toe a bit. Nothing is significantly different than before, this trim I did bring the heal height a bit more than I normally do.
He's had mild thrush issues, but nothing very bad. I treat that with the purple stuff...right now I'm drawing a blank on the name, got a case of CRS at the moment. :lol:
Anyway, just looking for some feedback. thanks in advance.
Firstly, those pics don't tell too much specifically about his feet, but is he always 'camped under' like that? Worth considering it could be a body/conformational issue rather than directly hoof related. From what can be seen in the pics, his feet look pretty reasonable, although front heels look a bit weak, toes could be a bit long & soles a bit thin/flat.
So he's always been good on sandy ground & still is? Does he land heel first in this environment? Is he predominently in this environment - does little on hard/rough ground? But he's always been fine on the rough stuff too, until recently?
Has the weather, his environment, amount of time he's worked on hard ground changed recently? Diet changed? What is that? I'd also look into 'low grade' or 'sub clinical' laminitis, as this is a common cause of horses becoming 'footy' and he does look on the chunky side.
I am guessing, with the way he's standing, combined with the weak front heels, combined with the thrush and your mention of lowering heels slightly more than normal, that his heels/caudal feet are the issue. Getting more proactive about the thrush - soaking his feet to allow treatment to get in, rather than just on the surface, and protecting/supporting his heels with pads/boots on rough ground, and possibly allowing his heels to remain slightly higher are measures I'd be thinking about.
I've got the vet coming out next week for shots, I'll ask her to have a look at this also. Also found a new farrier who is familiar with the breed and a Rocky owner, I need to call and have him come out.
From what one can see in the photos, the feet look to be in good condition, well maintained, with no visually obvious reason that would suggest a problem.
As already observed, the horse does present a camped-under stance, suggesting the possibility of caudal heel discomfort.
You provided additional insight, to wit...
What the owners want to say is, "He's generally sound while barefoot".
What they really mean is, "He's sound... except when he's not".
It's a subtle but important distinction.
A horse at liberty (e.g. pasture pet, wild horse, feral horse, etc) has practical advantages over a horse in use.
These appear to be both simple and obvious observations, but it's remarkable how often horse owners either forget or simply dismiss these factors in determining suitability for a particular use.
The presumption is, if the animal has nice feet and is generally comfortable/sound at liberty or even under saddle over forgiving terrain, then the horse is considered to be a good barefoot candidate for a broader spectrum of use.
The trouble with that presumption is, it isn't always correct. I think some owners struggle with that reality. The situation is worsened if someone else shares their story describing how they've always kept their horse barefoot and the animal is a rock crunching monster truck that can carry any load over any terrain. Surely, if little Sally's horse can do it, then all horses can do it, right? All they need is the "right trim".
Of course, the answer is, no... not all horses can. Many horses need a little help so they can better manage those 'disadvantages' described above. Some horses need a lot of help and some can't do it no matter how much help we give them.
Your own situation presents two distinct possibilities.
First, the horse may truly be sound at liberty and generally, but not always, capable of remaining sound under saddle. His comfort level under saddle may be directly related to the challenges of terrain or performance expectations. Increase those challenges and your generally 'sound' horse is subject to problems. Give them a bit of protection and the animals ability to comfortably overcome those challenges improves.
This first possibility is the easiest problem to explore. Put a set of shoes on the front feet and in the vast majority of such cases, all the problems are resolved.
The second possibility is a progressive pathology.
If the horse has generally done well for you over the years, but you have noticed a distinct change in performance (soundness level while in use) over the last year, then it becomes appropriate to explore pathology related lameness issues.
The 'camped-under' stance warrants a thorough lameness workup, including a set of radiographs. I'd want a 60 degree oblique, d/p and lateral xrays, focusing my attention on the distal interphalangeal joint with emphasis on the navicular region. Look for a positive reaction to a flexural exam (navicular disease diagnostic) and follow with a thorough hoof tester exam; emphasis on the caudal aspect of the foot. The lateral radiograph will define phalangeal alignment, sole thickness, any arthritic changes and spatial relationship of the distal phalanx in the hoof capsule. The oblique and d/p provide information about the navicular region, the dipj and condition of the coffin bone.
If I were working on this horse, without benefit of veterinary diagnosis, I'd start with a basic pair of front shoes. If the problem persisted, I would recommend a veterinary work-up as described above.
Horseman, and loosie
Thanks for your thoughtful analysis.
I've moved up their vet visit to later today so I'll see what she has say after a good overall evaluation.
To further explain my intent in your quoted area. 99.5% of where his ridden has been problem free in terms of him displaying any sensitivity while under saddle. The other .5% are areas I called them trail heads but they are actually the end of somebody's driveway where good size stone was used. Good sized being from .5" to 1.5" sharp edged crushed granite. Right now he is in obvious discomfort in those spots and in areas where he has never stepped lightly.
About 5-6 days ago I noticed him stepping lightly in spots under saddle, I cut our ride short so I could take a look at his feet. It had been about 3 weeks since I had last worked on them so I focused on the hoof wall, did nothing with the soles and only 1 frog (if I remember correctly) When I took him out yesterday he had a different feel and chalked that up to shorter heals then most other times that I've trimmed them. He displayed sensitivity in area that he had never before. <- 1hr ride. Later that day I was going to walk him up to our drive way to see how he acted w/o weight on his back. I turned around before we got there because he showed me enough, he was very tender. Prior to putting him up I stopped and took the photos I posted, his camped posture is mostly likely do to our walk and the ride earlier in the day.
We'll see what the vet says.
Here's some additional pics, hopefully this views are a bit more helpful.
The vet came out today, gave him a exam, found nothing remarkable above the hooves. She felt that the problem is due to the last trim, we talked boots and also applying a sole toughener.
My farrier is AWOL so I need to bring out a new guy, not preferable but I really have no other choices.
In the pic with both feet his stance is funky because basically pushed him so he'd put both feet on the mat. I wanted both feet out of the sand for better visualization. So anyway, that's how he landed after a couple of pokes in the ribs.
Check out the link in my signature for tips on the best kind of pics for critiques. While the feet do look good, these angles make it harder to tell specifics, such as, is the top 3/4" or so of the hoof at a slightly different angle to the rest?
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