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post #1 of 21 Old 04-27-2016, 07:40 AM Thread Starter
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For Fellow Hoof Nerds

Some of you probably read this article when it first came out several years ago. I just read through it again, and found it more interesting this time.
https://rirdc.infoservices.com.au/downloads/11-140

Here are a couple of things I found very interesting:
Quote:
The presence of a high mean sole depth and excessively thick hoof wall in hard substrate feral horses compared with that in soft substrate feral horses and domestic horses indicated that the entire hoof capsule of these brumbies may lack flexibility. Although substantial sole depth and hoof wall thickness are usually
seen as desirable attributes in the hoof, the consequences of excessive biomechanical loading driving excessive tissue responses may change the ultimate function of the hoof, reducing flexibility. An excessively thick hoof capsule could be viewed as a consequence of overuse. The form and structure of feet associated with this foot type with the typical short hoof wall (exposing the peripheral sole to
direct weight bearing) and large beveled wall (removing the outside hoof wall tubules from direct weight bearing) perhaps should not be viewed as an optimal model for the foot.

Quote:
An example of the questionable use of the extreme natural foot model is the application of the squared toe and the over-exaggeration of distal wall roll, often referred to as the “mustang roll”. The square (or rockered) toe is a feature thought to be a strategic hoof structure aiding early break-over. The more conservative (and more commonly used) definition of the mustang roll is a soft radius or bevel applied around the entire circumference of the hoof wall. The function is to prevent distal hoof wall cracking, chipping and wall flares. Because these features occur in the “model” feral horse foot they are often applied with the rasp during trimming. The detailed study of feral horse feet showed that the
squared toe occurred in extreme cases and was excessive in horses travelling long distances over rough, uneven and mountainous terrain, and in horses required to dig for food or water. The roll is a
consequence of constant chipping and abrasion as the hoof makes contact with rocks and abrasive footing from all directions as the horse moves across the terrain. As the foot hits a rock and a fragment of hoof wall is dislodged energy is dissipated, rather than propagated through the hoof to the underlying soft tissues and skeleton. The wearing process that creates the roll may be a protective feature of the hoof wall but the actual architectural feature of the roll itself may have no protective function in the horse’s foot. Therefore the practice of creating the squared toe and excessive roll artificially with the rasp may be of no benefit to the horse with a “normal” foot. The application of the exaggerated form of this feature to the managed domestic horse living in a paddock environment should be reconsidered. In specific situations, such as when a lamellar wedge is present, a more extreme trim may be applied to reduce the dorsal wall forces at break-over. However, in healthy, barefoot horses, a small bevel of the distal hoof wall appears to be effective in preventing hoof wall cracking and chipping and at the same time does not affect the break-over location, and allows the outer most hoof wall tubules to bear weight as they are meant to.
The study gives me a lot of food for thought regarding a few things. For one, if the thick walls of the mustang hoof are a defense mechanism and the thickened laminae are caused by chronic laminitis from excessive concussive forces, perhaps we should not be trying to "toughen up" our horses feet or getting them to add callous as is a popular idea. I was interested to read that there is no research to tell us yet how much sole depth is good or whether too much sole depth is bad (in some cases, I know it has been detrimental to hoof health). It can be a very individual thing.

Another thing I think of is that this information seems to go against our ideas that horses need to move many miles/km per day, and how instead a horse in its ideal environment may move much less, i.e. only up to 10 miles or 16 km a day. Which also has some implications for how many miles it is good to ride a horse versus what may be unhealthy, even for their hooves. It also has implications for whether we should add hard surfaces to horses' turnouts, since in these studies the horses on the softer surfaces tended to have less serious issues.

Thoughts?
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post #2 of 21 Old 04-27-2016, 09:25 AM
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Thanks for posting this! Interesting reading.

My thought is...that is what ALL modeling is: Bone, muscle, hoof, tendon, ligament, the progressive breaking down, and then rebuilding to make it stronger.
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post #3 of 21 Old 04-27-2016, 09:38 AM Thread Starter
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Yes, interesting. The first time I read through it I was more skeptical, thinking how do they know the thicker laminae are not healthier? But they point out in the article that the laminae did show signs of trauma to the "basement membrane" where the laminar cells originate, and other changes to the laminae we see in horses with changes from laminitis. So if I understand it right, they don't believe the remodeling was healthy like building bigger muscles, but was unhealthy like repairing a wound.
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post #4 of 21 Old 04-27-2016, 09:44 AM
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I will go read that report again Gotta - been a while since I have & computer playing funny******s ATM... or I'm just oot tired... so won't even try to go off memory atm. My thoughts on the first quote is that this is from research done through Brian Hampson & Chris Pollitt & IMO there are lots of questional things I've read & speculation & supposition there. for eg why do they suppose it's not ideal, *in that situation*. The second thought(though) is yes, I agree that people get carried away by the 'ideal' of a feral, arid environ horse's hoof. Whether or not that hof form is ideal or not for a ferl desert beast is neither here nor there if our horses have a much different environment & lifestyle.
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Some info I've found helpful; [COLOR=Lime][B]www.horseforum.com/horse-health/hoof-lameness-info-horse-owners-89836/
For taking critique pics; [COLOR=Lime][B]https://www.horseforum.com/members/41...res-128437.jpg
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post #5 of 21 Old 04-27-2016, 09:26 PM
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I've always been skeptical that the desert mustang foot is the ideal foot, especially for horses who do not live in deserts. I live in sandy/swampy areas, and a desert foot is not ideal for our environment. Feral horses in the Caribbean have wider/paddle type feet for sand and swampy conditions so obviously a desert model won't work on those conditions. I am in no way an expert, I was forced into trimming my own horse's feet due to horrible "farriers" and not wanting to lame my horse up. I've been reading and watching videos and hopefully I can find a barefoot trimmer now that we are moving to an area with more horses (and owners who actually care about their horses).
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post #6 of 21 Old 04-27-2016, 11:37 PM
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Ok, here goes my long devil's advocate post. I agree the feral desert foot is not ideal for wet soft areas. Neither does Pete Ramey or Gene Ovnicek. For my money, I'm sticking with those two guys even though they do disagree on some finer points. I actually wish they would form a coalition and work together.

Here goes. May sound a little harsh but it' my current feelings at the moment. Pre-written and pasted.

Page 1, second paragraph, lines 4,5,6.

Quote: "​An interest​ ​in the “wild horse” or “natural” hoof model has emerged several times in the past few centuries and
the recent resurgence of the model has been particularly strong.​"​

At first I sort of read over this. But when out and about it sort of came to me, "hey wait a minute". Are we comparing centuries old efforts using the very crude technologies available at that time to the MRI and X-ray studies that are done now? And Dr. Bowker's specialized study of micro vessels? And a long list of highly specialized studies and equipment that were not available centuries and centuries ago?

The more I thought about it the more it bothered me. This started sounding, to me, as demeaning toward the work that has been done, which is considerable. It began sounding as if the author was scoffing at yet another round of centuries old re-emergence that would soon fade as it did in the past.

Modern dentistry will not fade into the past. Nor will most of modern medicine. If not for modern medicine, I would have been dead years ago along with many others.

The new knowledge that is now known about the horses foot will not go away either.​ A scientific investigation must not ever have biases toward the outcome conclusions.

To me, the quote above indicates the research may have had an expected outcome from the outset.​

Page 10 (20 of 46) Last sentence.

Quote: "The conformation of the feral horse may offer a guide to
best practice for overall soundness, but may not necessarily produce the best performance.​"​


Not sure I'm understanding this. Is our goal to be performance first and overall soundness second if at all?

Page 22 of 46

Quote: "The shape of the solar surface of Mustang hooves was investigated by Ovnicek 10 who suggested that​ ​the natural hoof wall was squared at the toe, promoting early break-over and was beneficial to​ ​locomotion.​"


Gene recommends breakover to be around 1/4" to 3/8​" in front of the angle projection of P3 at the sole surface. Is that considered an early breakover. I just watched a video of Ovnicek's a few days ago that was made prior to this article where he was rounding the toe and commented he didn't want a square toe. And that was on the front. But the breakover can be thought of as square since it's straight across from pillar to pillar. It'd be interesting to learn what the researchers came up with for proper breakover location.

Further down same page

Quote: "Toe length is the distance from the tip of the distal phalanx to the distal end of the hoof wall and is​ ​measured from a latero-medial radiograph. It is an important parameter and relates to the forces on the​ ​dorsal wall and dorsal lamellae just before the break-over phase of stance. The toe length was​ ​​predictably highest (33 mm) in the horses living on soft footing and was significantly different to that​ ​of horses living on hard footing (toe length 29 mm).

​29 mm in front of P3 is 29 + 25.4 = ​54.4 mm = 2 1/8". This according to both Ovnicek and Ramey is indicative of a long toe that would be accompanied by curve or flare at the front of the hoof. No mention was made of the condition of frontal flaring. Only an average of a the the population tested. IMO, the condition of the outer/frontal hoof wall should have been reported as some average angle also. A hurried reader might conclude that the sample had perfectly straight hoof walls top to bottom.

​Page 24 of 36

Quote: "​Lining the inner hoof wall are the lamellae, which function to support the weight of the horse within the hoof capsule and dampen forces transmitted from the ground towards the skeleton of the horse."


This is almost an antiquated concept. Dr. Bowker and almost anyone else of note agree that this concept has been one of the most detrimental concepts to the health of the equine foot that has ever existed.




​Page 36 of 46

Quote: "​The traditional farriery model assumes that the hoof wall is the principle weight-bearing component of the hoof capsule 60. It is responsible for achieving smooth and painless force cycling between the ground and the appendicular skeleton during loading. Leaf-like primary epidermal lamellae project from the inner aspect of the hoof wall and interdigitate with their dermal counterparts attached to the distal phalanx. This complex anatomical arrangement forms an integral part of the suspensory apparatus of the distal phalanx which serves to suspend the appendicular skeleton within the hoof capsule. "


No comment.

​ ​

The Mustang has no place in modern society. The Mustang belongs on the range or in a supportive forever home. Me too.
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post #7 of 21 Old 04-28-2016, 03:40 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hondo View Post
Ok, here goes my long devil's advocate post. I agree the feral desert foot is not ideal for wet soft areas. Neither does Pete Ramey or Gene Ovnicek. For my money, I'm sticking with those two guys even though they do disagree on some finer points. I actually wish they would form a coalition and work together.​
That's why we're here, to discuss things.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hondo View Post
Quote: "​An interest​ ​in the “wild horse” or “natural” hoof model has emerged several times in the past few centuries and
the recent resurgence of the model has been particularly strong.​"​
This started sounding, to me, as demeaning toward the work that has been done, which is considerable. It began sounding as if the author was scoffing at yet another round of centuries old re-emergence that would soon fade as it did in the past. ​
True, I felt a sort of "tone" in the article that seemed demeaning toward the work done by others. Without which, there probably wouldn't have been a surge of interest in hoof care which most likely funded these studies.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hondo View Post
Quote: "The conformation of the feral horse may offer a guide to
best practice for overall soundness, but may not necessarily produce the best performance." Not sure I'm understanding this. Is our goal to be performance first and overall soundness second if at all?
Right, that does not sound like a good concept.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hondo View Post
I just watched a video of Ovnicek's a few days ago that was made prior to this article where he was rounding the toe and commented he didn't want a square toe. And that was on the front. But the breakover can be thought of as square since it's straight across from pillar to pillar.
I feel that those who really study what the experts say won't be confused. But it is those with a marginal knowledge who often trim with an actually square toe, or misunderstand what it means to have a short breakover.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hondo View Post
Quote: "The toe length was​ ​​predictably highest (33 mm) in the horses living on soft footing and was significantly different to that​ ​of horses living on hard footing (toe length 29 mm)."

This according to both Ovnicek and Ramey is indicative of a long toe that would be accompanied by curve or flare at the front of the hoof. No mention was made of the condition of frontal flaring....A hurried reader might conclude that the sample had perfectly straight hoof walls top to bottom.
Now I did get from my reading that this meant the hooves had frontal flaring. Perhaps I was inferring, based on what I imagined they were describing in the soft footing hooves. Which I believe they categorized as a "lesser" abnormality versus what they categorized as more severe abnormalities, meaning actual remodeling of the soft tissue within the hoof.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hondo View Post
Quote: "​Lining the inner hoof wall are the lamellae, which function to support the weight of the horse within the hoof capsule and dampen forces transmitted from the ground towards the skeleton of the horse."[/I][/B]

This is almost an antiquated concept. Dr. Bowker and almost anyone else of note agree that this concept has been one of the most detrimental concepts to the health of the equine foot that has ever existed.
I can't agree with the part I bolded. Yes, it has been detrimental to believe that hooves must be fully peripherally loaded. But I have personally seen how going to the other extreme of saying the hoof wall is not a necessary part of weight bearing, and putting the horse onto the sole completely is also very detrimental to horses. That is where I believe this study might have importance. It points out how only choosing a certain hoof model from a certain climate and basing trimming all horses on it without understanding completely how this hoof developed, its purpose (protection for extreme circumstances such as heavy travel over rough ground), and what the foot might give up (such as flexibility) in return.

So I agree and disagree with parts. But it is still important to consider the facts that were found even if you disagree with some of the conclusions that came from those facts.
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post #8 of 21 Old 04-28-2016, 09:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gottatrot View Post
surge of interest in hoof care which most likely funded these studies.
Good point!

Quote:
Originally Posted by gottatrot View Post
Now I did get from my reading that this meant the hooves had frontal flaring. Perhaps I was inferring, based on what I imagined they were describing in the soft footing hooves. Which I believe they categorized as a "lesser" abnormality versus what they categorized as more severe abnormalities, meaning actual remodeling of the soft tissue within the hoof.
I did read about the flaring statistics but didn't connect that the feet measured P3 to front capsule did or did not have flaring on the firm footed flaring. I sort of inferred as you may have on the soft footed dimension so stuck to wondering about if the hard footed hooves were dished in front. Small point.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gottatrot View Post
Dr. Bowker and almost anyone else of note agree that this concept has been one of the most detrimental concepts to the health of the equine foot that has ever existed.

I can't agree with the part I bolded. Yes, it has been detrimental to believe that hooves must be fully peripherally loaded. But I have personally seen how going to the other extreme of saying the hoof wall is not a necessary part of weight bearing, and putting the horse onto the sole completely is also very detrimental to horses.
I don't think I fully said what I meant here. I do agree from my readings on Bowker, Ramey, and Ovnicek that the hoof capsule does need to support a portion of the loading of the hoof. If I remember correctly, Bowker put it at around 20%.

It is the old and very often present concept that the capsule was designed by nature to carry ALL of the weight of the horse that was and is the most detrimental concept of the hoof that ever existed. Almost every single ranch horse within a 50 mile radius of me, and there are a lot of them, suffers from nearly 100% perimeter loading.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gottatrot View Post
So I agree and disagree with parts. But it is still important to consider the facts that were found even if you disagree with some of the conclusions that came from those facts.
Same here. It was particularly interesting to learn that horses would go as long as 4 days before leaving forage to access water.

My biggest concern with the article was that it could mislead some in a direction that I believe could be detrimental to the hoof if not read critically.

A little more devil's advocate.......

Page 37 of 46
Results and discussion: There was significant pathology identified in the foot types most closely resembling the popular“mustang” foot. Only three feet from the 100 left forefeet assessed were free of abnormality. The most
surprising finding in the hard substrate, high travel population was a 67% incidence of chronic laminitis, likely of traumatic aetiology. A 70% incidence of ungual cartilage calcification in the hard substrate, moderate travel popula
tion further indicated the possibility of concussive changes as a
consequence of overuse on hard substrate.


To me, this merely suggest that some of the brumbies live a very demanding life that is hard on the foot and likely other parts of the body. Humans doing hard work all of their lives are often broken down by age 55. That does not suggest that it is their body type that contributes to the body degeneration. Just the hard life.

And the article is again to me being "dismissive" by using the term and quote , (popular "mustang" foot).

If the points they make were valid, there would be no need to be dismissive. That's just not professional.

The Mustang has no place in modern society. The Mustang belongs on the range or in a supportive forever home. Me too.
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post #9 of 21 Old 04-29-2016, 01:11 AM Thread Starter
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Also they admit the horses don't show any outward signs of hoof issues and also are not lame. If the horses can deal with getting laminitis from traveling too far or from having sudden changes in their diet without being lame, perhaps the model is a good one after all.
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post #10 of 21 Old 04-29-2016, 10:15 AM
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That is along the lines of my thinking. If that's the adaptation that allows them to survive in the most extreme of conditions, perhaps it is not so bad after all.

But definitely not for extreme wet weather. I remember Ramey speculating that infection at the laminae weakening the connection to the wall of pancake feet might help them break off since there was nothing to wear them off.

Apparently over several million years of survival horses feet have acquired adaptations to go in many different directions in many different extremes.

I actually woke up this morning with the first thoughts wondering how the researchers concluded the front of the brumbies hooves were worn from digging. And why the Nevada studies never mentioned that. And how much digging is done compared to traveling. If the early breakover recommended by Ovnicek based on his observations is to be challenged by asserting the horses do it by digging, I'd like to see some methodology on how that belief was arrived at.

And the early breakover belief did not stop at the observations in Nevada. Many horses, quite possibly in the thousands, have grown out dished flares in the front only when early breakover was added to the trim.

The body of knowledge amassed by hundreds and hundreds of professional trimmers carries more weight with me than a simple assertion that it is caused by digging without any back up what ever.

I realize the article carries the name of the government on it, has lots of stuff in the front, and more in the back, but upon closer inspection I have more questions than answers.

For my money, I'm sticking with Ovnicek and Ramey for now.
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