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kmacdougall 06-10-2010 07:24 PM

Extreme Hoof Growth
[This is going to be long]

Eleven years ago my dad rescued an incredibly overweight Morgan gelding who had laminitis so bad it actually "blew out" through the front of his hooves. He had it in the front, as most horses do. We picked him up because his owner had no barn to put him in and didn't want him to die alone and leave his dead carcass in a field.. so the idea was, he could die peacefully at our house. What were we thinking, eh?

He was 300lbs overweight. When we saw him in his field, he was so scared of us he actually rocked back and forth because he couldn't physically run away. It took four days of penicillin shots before he could walk enough to get onto the trailer. After the hour long trailer ride, he got off in my small paddock, saw everyone (me, my parents, his owner, and the man who trailered him) looking at him, and fell down. I honestly, at 9 years old, thought he was going to die right there.

Long story short, his former owner signed him over to us lock stock & barrel, and we spent a small fortune in corrective hoof maintenance, medical treatments, as well as an incredible amount of time, to have a happy, healthy horse again. That was 11 years ago :)

Now, my gelding's hooves are veeeery slow growers, and this horse is the same. 8 weeks ago my farrier (who I will admit is the entire reason that that poor horse is alive) came and trimmed both horses.. and all was well. After about five weeks, his hooves had taken a MASSIVE growth spurt. Literally, his toes were so long, and his weight was all on his heel. He'd stand in the same position for hours, and would even "park". I figured he'd foundered again, but he had no hoof heat. I frantically called my farrier, but, I live in a relatively small area that is home to over 4000 horses (I know right!) and only one farrier, and my gelding wasn't lame, just in discomfort. My farrier finally managed to make it here yesterday, and was STUNNED by the amount of hoof growth. He has been doing this for a long time, is the president or former president of many farrier associations, and writes for distinguished magazines, and even he didn't know what to say. He trimmed the hooves down a LOT (I had hauled my horse to riding lessons and my mom saved the hoof trimmings to show me, I was literally amazed).

So my questions are, why do you think his hooves would suddenly grow so fast? My other horse, who is on the exact same diet, turnout, etc, had about a 1/4-1/2" of growth, he didn't even need a trim. What could cause that hoof growth?

Also, because of how much he had to take off to stop cracking, etc, my gelding is now literally flat footed. He is a little ouchy, what else can I expect to happen? I haven't had a hoof problem since his laminitis was successfully treated 11 years ago, so I figure I better do some research!

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