My friends recently got a Percheron and although we are all experienced horse people none of us have owned a draft before. I have looked at draft feet in the past but did not pay a lot of attention because their care did not apply to me. I only remember thinking "Wow, big feet!"
This Percheron looks like his feet have not been well cared for and he has some flare making his feet irregularly shaped in the back especially.
My two questions are: (this one seems silly) Drafts are supposed to have normal-shaped feet in the front and back like regular horses, right? So our goal is to get rid of the flare and make them round and/or ovalish like a regular hoof?
And...I notice that the walls are proportionally much thinner in comparison to a regular sized horse's foot. Meaning if a smaller horse had a quarter to half inch thick wall, are draft horses supposed to have an inch-thick wall ideally? Or does their wall stay thinner in comparison to the size of their sole? Hopefully I worded this so it makes sense.
I would need a picture. All drafts have different shapes. Shires and clydes are fairly similar, though. There's also a different way of shoeing (can't remember the name?... anyone? ) that shapes the hooves differently: http://image.shutterstock.com/displa...d-37530304.jpg
Their feet are normally shaped like a light horse. The front feet tend to be prone to long toes and underrun heels. Keep backing up the toe and get rid of the flares. The hind are somewhat different. The ideal comformation of the hind leg will make the hoof naturally toe out. Hind feet do not flare as much unless they are made to do so with shoeing. Is what you are calling flares on the hind, flares or toeing out? It can help to mark the center of the hoof (relative to the frog) with a marker than put the foot down and reevaluate. Flares need to go.
The walls are thicker and require a quality pair of nippers and really strong hands to nip. Take about a 1/3 the bite you would take with a light horse. I did recently buy a pair of compound nippers just for the drafts but they are heavy and I just haven't gotten the feel of them. (but they will nip where normal ones do nothing)
Clydes and shires definitely don't have light horse feet.
That's interesting, this draft's hoof walls are quite thin in comparison to the size of his sole. They are maybe a quarter inch thick. I wonder if they will thicken up with proper trimming...
The flares are on the back quarter of his hind hooves. They actually flare out so much that the shape of his hoof is irregular, almost like a spade. I was wondering if they would regain a more round shape when trimmed correctly.
Ah! When you said "flares", that's exactly how I imagined it. My mare came to me with flared back feet just like that. I always used the word "spade" when referring to her feet, too. In NO time, my farrier was able to shape them nicely :) I'm still impressed with how quick he fixed them... and my mare grows really slow, too.
That's actually a pretty nice foot to start with. The width of the heel is great and the frog is sound and functional (as well as good looking). The bottom is telling you what needs to happen. The toe needs to come back (I'd even square if off) and the flare on the outside needs to come off.
Drafts should have pretty much the same shaped hooves as light horses. The flaring you see on show horses is not natural. They trim them like that so they can fit as big a shoe as possible on them (the square ones, called scotch bottoms). Bigger, heavier shoes (they can weigh up to 15 pounds) make them prance higher, although it also wrecks their legs.
My guy's feet are more or less the same shape as any horse (albeit a bit larger). He was due for a trim in this picture, but you get the idea.
My perch cross gelding's hind feet maintain their shape very nicely, look like a light horse's hooves only much larger. His front feet are even bigger and tend to flare and chip w/out shoes but still they look like a regular horse's feet in shoes.
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