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newhorsemom 09-17-2008 01:56 AM

hoof trim question
Hi all,
I have a question concerning my mare's hooves. They grow fairly fast and she is sometimes lazy and drags her hooves. She rarely stumbles, just drags her feet like she's lazy. My mother-in-law (who is old school and not a big fan of barefoot horses) told me that she talked with her farrier and had him look at Lily's hooves. They agreed that she should have her toes squared off to help her move more smoothly and pick up her feet easily.

I'm pretty much in the dark here. Is this a common practice? Would this be very helpful? One concern I have is that my MIL is a bit on the controlling side and likes things done HER way (especially when it involves me). She also gets very defensive is you choose not to do it her way. I just want to do what's right for Lily.

My natural barefoot trimmer seems good, but I sometimes feel like she is a bit more "wait and see" and less proactive than I'd like. For the most part though, I really like her.

Again, I'm fairly new at this so any advise would be helpful.


walkinthewalk 09-17-2008 07:27 AM

Re: hoof trim question
Is she dragging all four hooves? Fronts only? Backs only?

When I rescued my Arab 15 years ago, he also had a vertebra injury. I can always tell when he needs the chiropractor because he will start dragging his hind hooves and leaving "snake trails" in the dirt.

Were she my horse, I would first want to be sure there is nothing wrong with her skeletal system and that she doesn't have arthritis in her shoulders or her sacrum area to make her do that.

Hubby calls my Arab "The Stoner Horse" because he is so laid back and positively lazy. BUT he still picks those hooves up and won't drag them when he's feeling good.

Years ago I had a Morab that did the same thing. He would literally wear the toes off his front shoes to where they came off in two pieces! He had arthritis in his front end when I bought him when he was 17. It ultimately was the reason I had to put him to sleep when he was 27.

Like shoers, not all barefoot farriers are created equal. Do you have another barefoot farrier in your area that you could get a second opinion from?

I have done my own trimming off and on for 49 years. When my main squeeze (in the avatar) went metabolic, I took all four horses back full time to put the shoeing $$$ into his supplements. I mentored with a Pete Ramey student over this past winter and did I learn a lot of things.

From what you are describing, (pics would help more :) , I am 95% sure your mare can be corrected without shoes.

I understand what you are saying about your MIL. I was lucky to never have a mom or a MIL like that, but if I did, I would have driven 100 miles to find a farrier that would disprove her theory and BE CORRECT about it - lol lol lol

Good luck to you :)

Peggysue 09-17-2008 08:36 AM

Walkin the farrier her MIL used did not say SHOES

he said square or in barefoot terms ROLL the toe IOW move it back :) Which barring any other problems if the toe is too long yes they will drag them...

newhorsemom 09-17-2008 09:55 AM

When Lily's feeling good she loves to run and buck out in the pasture and picks her feet up. She also picks them up if we are riding and she is collected. I haven't seen any other signs of back problems. She even lays down every morning for a half hour nap. What other indications would there be if it were a back problem? She is only 8 so isn't that a bit young for arthritis?

My trimmer is coming this week so I will ask her to square/roll back her hooves and then try and pay close attention and see if she is still dragging after her trim. If she is still dragging I guess I would need to look into back and/or arthritis problems. How would I go about that? Talk to my vet and then go from there?

Walk, I have to admit that I LOVE to prove my MIL wrong, even though she won't ever admit that I'm right and she's wrong. I try not to gloat when it happens! :twisted:

FGRanch 09-17-2008 10:33 AM

I'm not really sure that squaring the hoove is going to make her stop dragging her feet. Tana always has square feet, she paws so much! But when she is feeling lazy she still drags her feet. It could be that she is just a lazy horse and nothing is ever going to stop that.

newhorsemom 09-17-2008 11:55 AM

Would squaring her hooves be bad or harmful in way? I'm thinking it might be worth a try.

NorthernMama 09-17-2008 03:27 PM

Unless your farrier is a complete doofus and overtrims, shortening her toes will not be harmful. I agree that I would look at the hooves first and if that doesn't help, go on to something else. As mentioned, pics of her feet would be very helpful.

barefoothooves 09-23-2008 03:23 PM

Some perfectly healty horses drag their hind feet when in soft terrain, like sand. If there's a health issue, such as a back injury or pelvic problem, terrain won't make much difference. Older horses with arthritis tend to start dragging the hind feet more with age and stiffness.

If your horse is sound and he doens't drag on real rocky ground or over obstacles, but does in the grass or arena, he's likely just being lazy. When he's frisky in the pasture, he'll pick them up more or if you are going at a faster pace.

Now, having said all that, shortening the toes for an injured horse would help some, but increases the likelyhood of overreaching (clipping the heels of his front feet). Anyways, most horses that drag their toes have already squared them off and trimming it more can create it's own problems.

A rolled toe is a bit different from a squared toe. Rolled, beveled, etc would apply to all of the hoof wall to some degree. If you truely square the toe, it makes it harder for the hoof to roll over to either side and could set the stage for a pastern injury and squared toes seem to crack more from the stress at the corners causing a shearing force. So if the bevel is increased, be sure the hoof still looks oval or round (matches the shape of the hoof at the hairline). Watch for overreaching and if the horse has already worn the hoof off in a square shape, the trimmer shouldn't shorten more, but just trim the hoof where it's not wearing to even out the wear.

NorthernMama 09-23-2008 09:44 PM

Hmmm... guess I could have been more specific about *over-trimming*, eh? That's why I'd love to see some pics. Good thing BFH is BACK!!!! Yipee!!! Sleep much now, girl?

my2geldings 09-24-2008 10:12 AM

Yea it is done regularly here with certain horses. A lot can be done to accomodate a horse's movement. I've seen horses get the toe rounded off to help with breaking quicker which is similar to what your mare is getting done.
You should not be concerned :)

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