'Duck' footed mare. Soundess and riding?
This might be long, and I appologize for no photos. However, this is not my horse and I do not have permission to take or post photos. I will have to ask. I do however have permission to ask some questions about her regarding soundness and riding. Here is a small summary of what we know about her.
Name: Ginger. 1/2 Arabian 1/2 ASB mare. Was eligible for National Show Horse registration but due to problems explained later, her breeder opted not to register her. Approx 14 years old. Donated to our farm as a 'two in one' deal with a ridable, broke, registered NSH mare to be used for our therapy program. Minor hoof clubbing, but decent otherwise. We ended up selling her on because she didn't fit our program.
Ginger has been with us for years and is just a pasture ornament, really. Fairly significant (IMO) deformation of her front right hoof. BO and our trainer call it a 'Duck' hoof but I'd never heard of that term before, and I can't find the term or any information on it online so I'm turning to you guys. They could have the wrong term, or there may not be a term for it. I hesitate to call the hoof clubbed but it is very odd. Rather than the typical hoof wall shape, her hoof starts out normal, has normal heels and bars, but in front it concaves. I guess thats why they call it a duck hoof. It doesn't concave very far, but there is a definite 'dish' in the hoof, and the front toe grows much slower than the sides of it. When she came to us the hoof was a mess and literally almost looked like a cow hoof with two 'lobes' but now it has been professionally trimmed and upkept for a while, the toe is kept at normal length and not split. One part definitely grows slower though. I'd say the concave area is about 2 centimeters off from the rest of the hoof. Supposively it was worse when she was born but she had surgery to correct it somewhat. Unfortunately though, she doesn't stay completely sound. She was broke to ride after a lot of therapeudic farrier work and about a year of 100% soundness as an 8 year old by us and used lightly, but she pulled up lame if she was trotted on anything but very soft footing such as sand more than a few minutes. Cantering she was immediately off. She bruises easily dispite our work to keep her hoof in good shape, but has never abcessed. Thrush is hard to keep out of her hoof though, for whatever reason and she's dealt with it at least once per year dispite preventative treatment, regular cleaning, etc. After 9 months of on and off lameness and not being able to ride her faster than a walk and some trotting in good footing due to the soreness, she was 'retired' to our pasture and hasn't been messed with since, except for trimming. She wasn't extremely lame, but enough that she favored the hoof a bit at a trot and a lot at a canter. She had had shoes on all four feet which seemed to help with some of the bruising problems, but they were pulled and she was tossed out to pasture. She has gotten quite fat dispite only being on hay and is obviously very sad to not have a job or attention any more. She is VERY VERY VERY people friendly, will love on anyone, in your pocket type mare.
Leaving the topic of her for just a moment, I'm in need of another therapy mount to just be a fill in when one of my other horses is being used for lessons, because I'm starting to get a lot of clients. The horse needs to have a very good temperment and be quiet with kids/not spooky, but won't be required to work hard. It would work a maximum of 2 x a week, for 1 1/2-2 hours (broken up throughout the morning/afternoon) walking in a grass arena on a well kept trail (there is the occasional tiny log to step over, mud, or root to step around) and have its hooves picked before and after, etc etc.
My question is probably obvious now. With possibly looking into shoeing her again or buying some form of hoof boots to cushion her hooves, and ofcourse, after being given some refreshers and time to get used to 'work' again, would she be an option, at least temporarily, for using 1 - 2 times a week for therapy? Like I said, no trotting work necessary, I can use my other horses for that, and I could buy boot, wraps, SMBs, whatever was necessary to make things work out. She is 100% sound walking, 90% sound trotting on very good footing. Or would it just not be fair to her? I won't use her if it would be painful to her, and if she so much as felt like she was a TINY bit off that day she wouldn't be used, but I'm really running out of options. None of our other horses have the temperment and personality that she has. I can make do with the horses I have, but having one more to use lightly would be good for some of our older horses to get a break between clients while I used Ginger.
Also, have any of you ever heard of this 'duck foot' deformation? Maybe with a different name? I sure hadn't o.o
I cannot say I have ever heard of "duck foot". But I don't see any problem with using her....she probably likes having a job. I have a NSH mare who is high/low in front, but she does difficult endurance races with no problem, so she is no help as an example.
If she stays sound doing what you want then there shouldn't be a problem. Just keep a close eye on her and pull from work at any sign of pain.
Sounds like a serious club foot from contracture. She probably had her tendon cut as a baby to help..or could be a founder also. Need pics to.say more. Casting is a very viable alternative as well as rubber shoes or pour in pads to protect the sole. Clubbed feet tend to have thi soles at the toe and.flaring. few.farriers deal.with them.properly. if you can get.pics, we can say more in detail.
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Out of curiousity how does cutting a tendon help with a clubbed/deformed hoof? I had always wondered what that kind of surgery entailed...interesting.
Poor gal would have been a golden riding horse if it wasn't for her hoof problems. Minus the funky foot, she has great conformation, a level head, and a stellar personality. I haven't ever met a horse that enjoyed human company as much as her before, and it seems that her whole 'family' is that way. I'm helping retrain her full sister for an older man and she has the same general 'happy go lucky' willing to please attitude. It bothers me though, that even after Ginger was determined to have this fault due to genetics (others in the line have hoof deformities too, including the mare we sold on...) they still kept breeding her sire and dam to produce more. Either way though, she's here and we really do need her to be 'pulling her weight' even if its only a small share of her weight, once a week, just to help with what money we do pour into her. At least she's an easy (too easy) keeper.
What does casting do? I've heard of the pour in pads before, I think she actually had those at one point while she was in training and they did help. Her sole is MUCH thinner than I'm used to seeing and the walls tend to start looking compressed if we aren't right on top of trimmings. Her feet really arent in the best of shape right now, actually...I guess BO wasnt too worried about it since she was just sitting in the pasture eating hay >.> They aren't aweful, but not as good as they used to be.
If we do use her for the kids though, BO is willing to shoe or whatever to keep her sound and working, and I'd start bringing her up daily to watch us work so she can get used to the atmosphere again. She'd probably start refresher courses in 2 or 3 weeks with me, then if all went well start working again with the kids at the end of summer/early fall.
I'll talk to BO about taking photos and see what I can get for you guys.
Sounds like as Trinity thought, that the horse has a clubby hoof, ill managed by the sound of it, if there is substantial flaring & long toe. Many farriers will try to 'match' angles between front feet, so this means they either try to 'build up' low heels or cut down high, & leave a long, flared toe on the clubby one.
Also that unless severe & you're wanting a horse to become an elite athlete, problems such as this, if well managed, don't tend to affect the horse's usefulness much if at all. Assuming the horse needs to stay high heeled, padding the toe sole, frog supports under the otherwise unstimulated, receded frogs(NOT under heel platforms) and more attention than normal in keeping heels from overgrowing & toes from 'stretching' forward is generally necessary IME. Eg. while all horses benefit from little & often trimming, they generally cope OK with waiting 4-6 weeks, but this foot of this horse may *need* to be attended once every couple of weeks if it's to stay in shape.
I'm sure it is poorly managed, especially since as a pasture pet they haven't exactly been throwing money at her lately. The 'normal' farrier has been seeing her for the past few years. The one I won't let mess with my horse ;) The hooves are decent lengths and not cracked or anything, but the clubby front is a bit under run (Ok, this seems to be a trend in my area....NO farrier knows how to fix something that simple!) and definitely pretty flared looking, so you're likely right loosie.
You know, I really just need to steal one of you guys, pay you a ton of money, and get all of these horses some decent foot care. Even our 'best' has nothing on what HF knowledge exists. Actually on that note though, I'm very seriously looking for a sort of internship or....training or something similar that I can do in order to learn how to trim CORRECTLY myself. I've been saving money a bit at a time. Unfortunately though finding someone I'd actually want to learn under is hard. Farriers are worthless near me...I think I've tried almost every single one of them within a 50 miles radius of my town in the past few years xD
^^ As you're in US, I'd get onto the AANCP(I think it's still called) &/or Pete Ramey & ask them for suggestions for further learning.
Skip the AANHCP and look into ELPO. AANHCP is the organization I skipped over because if you dont do it THEIR way, you cant stay certified. They are too far on the anti shoe side when SOMETIMES, its truly necessary. Plus they will have you spinning your wheels on some types of feet because they are not proactive enough to utilize other methods that fix issues much faster. ELPO has it right as well as teaching how to get rid of stretched toes which were such a huge problem for me for long time. Then I looking into ELPO after years of searching and wondering why AANHCP/Ramey ways were not working past a certain point. Its all about BALANCE...in every way, and you NEVER say never when it comes to the horses hoof.
Thanks for the suggestions, guys. I'll look at both. I definitely won't be able to go the learning-to-shoe route just for lack of funding on my end, but I'm hoping that if I can learn to 'barefoot' trim our horses to create balance in their hooves, a certified farrier can come out and 'add to' what I've done. I'm hoping I'd be able to sit there and go "Ok, this horse needs such and such shoeing because of ______ and I want it ____ way" and the farrier would then do that, thus not doing too much damage.
You guys ought to see the trim jobs around here. Aweful, aweful, aweful, even to my eye. Some are better than others of course, and if you're willing to pay an arm and a leg you might get a decent trim, but you can forget restoring balance to hooves that have deformities or anything. There seems to be just one or two 'cookie cutter' molds everyone here knows how to trim, and if your horse isn't one of those, stinks for you. Your horse has now been proclaimed unsound and only worth the grass it eats.
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