question for haflinger owners
I recently acquired a haflinger filly. Her feet were horrible x 2. Among other things, the bars had laid over the sole and grown toward the outside wall. I immediately had them trimmed. That was about a month ago. I have been monitoring her feet ever since, and it will take more than one trim to get them on the road to "perfect". But, I have noticed the bars seem to have a natural tendency to do this (lay way over) as they grow - and they seem to grow at an unusually fast rate.
So, my question to haffie owners, do any of you observe this "tendency" (bars lay over) in your haffie's feet, too? I have never seen anything like it (I have always had QH's before, and now also have an appyX). I just wanted to eliminate the possibility that it is something common to the breed.
We have two Haffies at my barn, one with hind shoes and with shoes all around, and neither have had this problem. I am by no means an expert though, and would be interested to know if our guys are simply an exception.
I had just thought that maybe b/c of their unusual bulk vs hoof size (like a draft), they might "engage" the bar more for support vs "normal" horses. She is barefoot, but so have all my horses been for years (so, apples to apples). There aren't many haffies in these parts..or else I would just go around asking if I could "take a look". :-)
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Here is a quote from Pete Ramey,
"Last year I quietly started experimenting with this in my own client horses and immediately found it was a significant improvement to my work. Shod horses come out of shoes much more comfortably if you leave a longer bar and backing off on bar trimming almost immediately and very dramatically increases the soundness and traction of most barefoot horses. The bars will almost always start to maintain their own height at the level of the sole or perhaps an 1/8th to 1/4 inch longer than the sole if you leave them alone. The less you trim the bars, the shorter they become! The flip-side is that the more routinely you trim the bars, the quicker they pop back and ’need’ to be trimmed again. Leaving a longer bar (and sole ridge around the frog) accelerates the process of achieving a deeply concaved sole by providing support to the internal structures and reducing sole wear. I already learned this lesson about the other parts of the foot years ago. The less I trimmed the sole, the deeper the solar concavity became. The less I shortened the foot, the shorter the foot became. The less I trimmed frogs, the more sound the horses were...... Every time I have learned to back off, my horses became more sound and the rehabilitation of pathologies accomplished more quickly. I was a just a bit slower in seeing the same truth about the bars. Now I’ve come to view them as a critically important weight-bearing structure and see that as with every other part of the foot, over-trimming them makes them grow too long; too fast.
A basic guideline I'm starting to embrace is this: If more than 1/4 inch of any part of the foot 'needs' to be removed at a four week maintenance trim, that spot was over-trimmed at the last visit. Not by any expert's standard, but by the horse's standard in its given terrain and given the current health of the internal structures (the horse will work overtime to replace needed material if it is removed). This is a strong statement, I know, but I'm learning to trust it more every day. How do you apply this? Not by just leaving all of the excess, but by always leaving anything that 'pops back' an 1/8th inch longer than you did at the last trim. You'll be amazed as you watch the excess growth immediately slow down; the hooves will move towards self-maintenance."
Thanks emily. Actually, I have read that article and take it to heart. I normally do my own trimming, but her's were so bad, hard as steel, and she was completely untrained that I enlisted a professional. Originally, the bars actually covered the seat of corn - although the hoof wall was overgrown (above the bar lay-over) from the quarters back. Its the fact that they grow straight upto the sole plane..then begin to turn at a moments notice that has me perplexed. If the growth just remained linear it wouldn't seem odd at all. That is why my first thought was it was weight bearing related. But if others don't have it, I can eliminate that "possibility" since they all are stocky.
Sonny has very brittle soft hooves and my farrier laughs that for such a big horse, he has small hooves. I started using Kaz Equine in May and my farrier was amazed at the results. Sonny started building a tougher outter hoof wall and by June, we could finally shoe him. I use Kaz twice a week and had the shoes taken off for the winter. In the spring, our farrier has some type of shoe he is going to put on to help work his stifles.
Sonny is very handsome and big! Not at all "tubby"...I am hoping to not allow my girl, Jolene, to ever get insanely fat like you see a lot of them.
Jolene's feet couldn't get any harder. So, so far it sounds like there isn't much "breed specific" about their feet that would explain this. Except, I have noticed most of them have frogs the size of manhattan. :) Her bars must just be some strange anomaly.
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