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I am hearing a lot of people say that hoof flares lead to thin soles. On the one hand, it makes sense (the sole is stretching out to cover more area), but on the other hand it doesn't. It doesn't make sense to me because it seems like when I see hoof flares, the sole is still the same size, it's just that there's lamellar wedge, or whatever you want to call it, between the hoof wall and the sole. It seems to me that the ground surface of the foot is larger, but the sole is the same size.

For our hoofcare experts -- is it true that flares hooves lead to thin soles? If so, how exactly does that work?
 
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I’m a new farrier of about five years (including school and ongoing apprenticeship). I know factors ranging from genetics, nutrition, management, environment, aging and previous pathologies can bring on thin soles. However, I’ve never personally heard this theory.

Flare stretches the white line. But, does it consequently result in stretching the sole with it? Yeah... I’d have to see a conclusive study before I believed that.

Also, not trying to be a smart aleck. It’s my understanding that a lamellar wedge can be considered flare, but not all flare is a lamellar wedge. A lamellar wedge is abnormal hoof horn caused by the tearing of the dorsal laminae, which happens during rotational founder.

Hoof flare is the deformation of the hoof capsule where separation occurs between the interior portion of the hoof wall and the sole. Flare is caused by (or an indication of) M/L imbalance, long or overgrown hoof wall, weak / separated hoof wall, and / or poor conformation.
 

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Hoof flare is the deformation of the hoof capsule where separation occurs between the interior portion of the hoof wall and the sole. Flare is caused by (or an indication of) M/L imbalance, long or overgrown hoof wall, weak / separated hoof wall, and / or poor conformation.
So, also to not be a smart alec, what do you call that stuff that you see between the hoof wall and the sole, where there is a flare? Just stretched white line?
 

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I agree that sole depth is not related to flares. Flares are in the hoof wall and not the sole. The golden line between the hoof wall and sole is live (sensitive) tissue that can be stretched but is also not real "sole"

*hoofcare provider to my own horses - took barefoot trimming courses 7 years ago
 

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Hoof flare is the deformation of the hoof capsule where separation occurs between the interior portion of the hoof wall and the sole. Flare is caused by (or an indication of) M/L imbalance, long or overgrown hoof wall, weak / separated hoof wall, and / or poor conformation.
So, also to not be a smart alec, what do you call that stuff that you see between the hoof wall and the sole, where there is a flare? Just stretched white line?
All good 😆😁👍

The stuff between the hoof wall and the sole can be stretched white line or full blown separation.

In my personal experience, when I see stretched white line I’m usually looking at a laminitis or founder case. Sometimes I’ll see it too when there’s dished or overgrown broken back feet.

In non pathological feet with flare, I see more separation; where the hoof wall has separated completely from the sole. This gap gets packed with a lot of crud that needs to be picked out before you can see what’s happening well from the solar plain (bottom side of the foot).
 

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So, also to not be a smart alec, what do you call that stuff that you see between the hoof wall and the sole, where there is a flare? Just stretched white line?
Agree with Retic(Hi & welcome retic - I love snakeys too!) basically, tho I think we have a difference perception of 'lamellar wedge' & 'separation'.

In my eyes, if the hoof is 'stretched' but there is no gaping hole, it is not 'separated' but has 'lamellar wedge' material between sole/inner laminae and wall. This tends to happen if imbalance is 'mild' and chronic. Whereas sudden breakdown - such as in a major laminitic event, &/or when there's significant 'seedy' infection, there may be an actual gap between sole & wall - separation.

And I have heard the theory that when walls 'stretch' then so does the sole - hence why it's thin. I can't recall ever seeing a good study on this, and I can't recall ever seeing any studies disproving it. But seems to me it's not rational, especially when you look at the material closely - unless it's really mooshed, you can generally 'scrape the surface' & see where the *actual* sole ends & the epidermal laminae & slightly yellower, lacking in tubules material begins.

Thin soles go along with flares, because, IMO(based on studies by Bowker, Ramey, etc) the walls need to be 'tight' & well attached before soles begin to get thick. If there's always flaring & disconnection, soles won't ever get thicker.
 

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So, also to not be a smart alec, what do you call that stuff that you see between the hoof wall and the sole, where there is a flare? Just stretched white line?
Agree with Retic(Hi & welcome retic - I love snakeys too!) basically, tho I think we have a difference perception of 'lamellar wedge' & 'separation'.

In my eyes, if the hoof is 'stretched' but there is no gaping hole, it is not 'separated' but has 'lamellar wedge' material between sole/inner laminae and wall. This tends to happen if imbalance is 'mild' and chronic. Whereas sudden breakdown - such as in a major laminitic event, &/or when there's significant 'seedy' infection, there may be an actual gap between sole & wall - separation.

And I have heard the theory that when walls 'stretch' then so does the sole - hence why it's thin. I can't recall ever seeing a good study on this, and I can't recall ever seeing any studies disproving it. But seems to me it's not rational, especially when you look at the material closely - unless it's really mooshed, you can generally 'scrape the surface' & see where the *actual* sole ends & the epidermal laminae & slightly yellower, lacking in tubules material begins.

Thin soles go along with flares, because, IMO(based on studies by Bowker, Ramey, etc) the walls need to be 'tight' & well attached before soles begin to get thick. If there's always flaring & disconnection, soles won't ever get thicker.
Hi, and thank-you. Snakes are great 👍 Do you keep any?

“In my eyes, if the hoof is 'stretched' but there is no gaping hole, it is not 'separated' but has 'lamellar wedge'...”

I attached a couple pictures (top left and top right) to try and better demonstrate what I’m talking about in terms of separation. Due to flare, bacteria and fungus are able to invade and begin to consume the white line. In these two particular cases, the black residue can be dug out completely before reaching stratum internum, meaning this is not yet WLD.

Neglected separation can sometimes result in full-blown WLD, where the disease progresses past the origin of the white line (terminal papillae are the distal end of the sensitive laminae) and consumes the stratum internum. This is when we begin to see gaping holes.

In terms of the lamellar wedge, I agree to an extent. Pictures 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 are what I would consider a true lamellar wedge; the destruction of the lamellar bond / tearing of the laminae in the dorsal foot. To the best of my understanding, this almost exclusively happens in chronic laminitis cases (inflammation and tearing of the dermal laminae without rotation of the coffin bone) and founder. The horny laminae, or stratum internum, continue to move past the sensitive laminae as the hoof wall is produced at the coronary hand. This horny laminae is going to make up part of the white line, which is why you see striations (stretching) from the solar surface of the foot.
 

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Just for the record, Gene Ovnicek aka ELPO cautions to find the widest part of the hoof using the widest part of the sole rather than the hoof wall as flares can alter the location of the widest part of the hoof wall. He seems to indicate the sole does not stretch with the flares.


This seems contradictory when one thinks or reads about the sole stretched at the toe. But as it turns out, much of the sole is formed by the bars and pushed forward. Ramey mentions that he never knew this although he had watched several abscesses migrate to the front. It was a sort of 'duh' moment for him. I personally have those in constant succesion.


So it appears what happens, and this is in line with Bowker, Ramey, and Ovnicek, is that the toe is leveraged forward and/or pushed forward by the sole as the heel become under run. So the sole is not really stretched by the toe wall as the term is used.


If the wall moves away from the sole, the laminae is stretched until it can't and then there is separation.


This is what I've come to understand.
 

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Hi, and thank-you. Snakes are great 👍 Do you keep any?
Yes, got a couple of Bredlii pythons. They're technically my daughter's tho. We have an abundance of Blacks, Browns, Lowland Copperheads & Tigers around outside... tho I'm happy not to see those too close to the house!

Due to flare, bacteria and fungus are able to invade and begin to consume the white line. In these two particular cases, the black residue can be dug out completely before reaching stratum internum, meaning this is not yet WLD.
Yep, that's what I was meaning, when infection sets in & causes separation. Interesting you seem to not be calling the infection 'WLD' unless it's reached the stratum internum. Do you differentiate between 'seedy toe' & 'white line disease'? I'm Australian(if you didn't guess from my mention of snake types), and I think of them as interchangeable, but that 'seedy' is the Aussie term & 'WLD' is the American one. And it's all just a matter of degrees - you can have 'shallow' or rather 'superficial' seedy cracks, or they can be deep, chronic, even eating into live tissue, even in extreme cases into the bone. But then, some differentiate & only call the more serious infections 'WLD' - a farrier I work with only calls it 'WLD' if it's deep & in the quarters for eg.

Neglected separation can sometimes result in full-blown WLD, where the disease progresses past the origin of the white line (terminal papillae are the distal end of the sensitive laminae) and consumes the stratum internum. This is when we begin to see gaping holes.
I'm guessing you're a well educated farrier or such, but most here aren't pros, haven't had detailed anatomy lessons, so it's best to use 'lay' terms, for ease of understanding. So, for all those members reading, firstly, the stratum internum is the very inner wall material, the new, hydrated cells which have just come from the laminae. (stratum medium is the majority of thickness of the wall, stratum externum is the outer layer). The terminal papillae are at the ground surface edge/tip of the pedal bone, the dermal/sensitive/inner laminae that are in between sole material and wall material. Distal means further/est from the body.

Warning now to 'the most', that further discussion here may be beyond interest - I sus this detail/differentiating is not really relevant to AC & others, so will(try to... yeah, right...) keep it brief....

In terms of the lamellar wedge, I agree to an extent. Pictures 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 are what I would consider a true lamellar wedge; the destruction of the lamellar bond / tearing of the laminae in the dorsal foot. To the best of my understanding, this almost exclusively happens in chronic laminitis cases (inflammation and tearing of the dermal laminae without rotation of the coffin bone) and founder. The horny laminae, or stratum internum, continue to move past the sensitive laminae as the hoof wall is produced at the coronary hand. This horny laminae is going to make up part of the white line, which is why you see striations (stretching) from the solar surface of the foot.
The first bit I bolded - sounds like you are saying 'chronic laminitis' to you means only without rotation? And so, the way you've written it, I gather 'founder' to you means WITH rotation? Interesting to hear different people's perceptions of the terms. It seems that there are a number of different perceptions of those terms, but I haven't heard that one before, if that's what you do mean. Usually IME, people refer to 'laminitis'(either chronic(long term) or acute(sudden, severe) as the initial inflammation, and 'founder' as meaning the mechanical changes that can come out of it, usually including 'rotation'. But in professional circles, here at least, it seems that 'laminitis'(chronic or acute, with or without mechanical changes) is the 'pro' term, and 'founder' is the lay term for the same beast.

Regarding the 'without rotation' bit, relating to the lamellar wedge, it seems IME that this is not likely to develop much if at all, in cases without 'rotation'. 'Sinking' can happens without stretching of the toe(tho IME that's usually a prob too, which has led to the 'sinking', as per original question of this thread), while massive stretching, such as you pictured, doesn't happen so much IME without the hoof being far out of d/p balance('rotation').

I've also heard it said(makes sense to me but can't recall any actual studies or anything on it) that a lamellar wedge develops when chronic but gradual mechanical changes happen, while any truly sudden acute 'attacks' that cause actual tearing, catastrophic breakdown, tend to cause actual separation, not 'filling in', which cannot happen quickly.

The second bit I bolded of your above quote was to say that the stratum internum/medium is put out from the dermal laminae, which in cases of mechanical stress such as discussed, divide & grow longer to be able to put out more material. IME it is one of those just commonly accepted, not actually thought about assumptions that the hoof wall all grows down from the coronary border(I bet Dr Chris Pollitt would use his scientific term(cough) 'intuitively obvious'...), and so, with that assumption firmly entrenched, I remember the first biology lesson I had with Dr Robert Bowker confusing us by saying the internal horn did not grow from the coronary border, but out from the laminae. Lamellar wedge & thickening of 'horn' lower down the hoof capsule is one thing that just could not happen if the entire wall material were produced from & grew down from the coronary border. And horn cells dry out & shrink as they age, so if that's the case and there were no cells produced below the coronary border, we would see the hoof wall thinning out further down, not thickening. On a cellular level, it can be seen that only the stratum externum comes from the coronary corium.
 

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Yes, got a couple of Bredlii pythons. They're technically my daughter's tho. We have an abundance of Blacks, Browns, Lowland Copperheads & Tigers around outside... tho I'm happy not to see those too close to the house!
Very cool. I haven't gotten into keeping Morelia yet, but everyone I know who keep them are completely addicted. The only Australian snake I've kept was a Children's Python Antaresia childreni when I was a teenager.

Yikes. I wouldn't be too wild about a bunch of venomous hanging about, either. Sounds stressful.

Interesting you seem to not be calling the infection 'WLD' unless it's reached the stratum internum. Do you differentiate between 'seedy toe' & 'white line disease'? I'm Australian(if you didn't guess from my mention of snake types), and I think of them as interchangeable, but that 'seedy' is the Aussie term & 'WLD' is the American one. And it's all just a matter of degrees - you can have 'shallow' or rather 'superficial' seedy cracks, or they can be deep, chronic, even eating into live tissue, even in extreme cases into the bone. But then, some differentiate & only call the more serious infections 'WLD' - a farrier I work with only calls it 'WLD' if it's deep & in the quarters for eg.
Haha. I think you could talk to 100 different farriers anywhere and get 100 different answers / variations on some things.

My instructor at school insisted that WLD should be called White Line / Stratum Internum Disease since when the term is used, it typically refers to severe cases where the bacteria / fungus has effectively invaded the stratum internum.

Here seedy toe is terminology sometimes used in minute cases that can be resolved with minimal digging. I believe a lot like you and yours, the terminology WLD is reserved for more severe cases.

I'm guessing you're a well educated farrier or such, but most here aren't pros, haven't had detailed anatomy lessons, so it's best to use 'lay' terms, for ease of understanding.
I did try to keep things a little more simple in my earlier replies but thought more detail may be needed.

The first bit I bolded - sounds like you are saying 'chronic laminitis' to you means only without rotation? And so, the way you've written it, I gather 'founder' to you means WITH rotation?
To the best of my understanding laminitis is defined as simply inflammation of the laminae, and founder defined as displacement of the coffin bone.

Laminitis can be caused by insulin resistance, bacterial overload in the hindgut, endometritis, a severe systemic illness, excessive concussion after exertion, and circulatory compression.

Founder is almost always the result of separation caused by laminitis.

Regarding the 'without rotation' bit, relating to the lamellar wedge, it seems IME that this is not likely to develop much if at all, in cases without 'rotation'.
In my eyes, if the hoof is 'stretched' but there is no gaping hole, it is not 'separated' but has 'lamellar wedge' material between sole/inner laminae and wall. This tends to happen if imbalance is 'mild' and chronic. Whereas sudden breakdown - such as in a major laminitic event, &/or when there's significant 'seedy' infection, there may be an actual gap between sole & wall - separation.
I agree. Laminitis cases without founder aren't going to bring about severe / irreparable damage. However to the best of my understanding laminitis can still cause lamellar damage, resulting in the growth of abnormal horn tissues. If I were to personally consider any distortion a lamellar wedge (aside from that caused by rotational founder) it would be this. That is my opinion.

The second bit I bolded of your above quote was to say that the stratum internum/medium is put out from the dermal laminae, which in cases of mechanical stress such as discussed, divide & grow longer to be able to put out more material. IME it is one of those just commonly accepted, not actually thought about assumptions that the hoof wall all grows down from the coronary border(I bet Dr Chris Pollitt would use his scientific term(cough) 'intuitively obvious'...), and so, with that assumption firmly entrenched, I remember the first biology lesson I had with Dr Robert Bowker confusing us by saying the internal horn did not grow from the coronary border, but out from the laminae. Lamellar wedge & thickening of 'horn' lower down the hoof capsule is one thing that just could not happen if the entire wall material were produced from & grew down from the coronary border. And horn cells dry out & shrink as they age, so if that's the case and there were no cells produced below the coronary border, we would see the hoof wall thinning out further down, not thickening. On a cellular level, it can be seen that only the stratum externum comes from the coronary corium.
I'm not a doctor and all I can speak to is my education, the knowledge of my peers, and my personal experience. But I am going to say that I am... skeptical of some of Mr. Bowker’s and Mr. Pollitt’s theories. Please know that’s not to mean I believe they’re not brilliant. However it doesn’t take long in this industry to find that there’s a lot of guys constantly trying to find the next new thing, the greatest new method; reinventing the wheel. (The “physiological trim”... come on.)

As far as the firmly entrenched assumption, I will tell you that we are taught that hoof wall grows primarily from the coronary corium but that there is some horn-producing papillae that exist in the sensitive laminae.
 

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Yikes. I wouldn't be too wild about a bunch of venomous hanging about, either. Sounds stressful.
Not too concerned about us - just don't go traipsing thru long grass or thick bush with bare feet - but I worry about my dogs - one has been bitten once(but must have been very little venom cos she was ok) because she attacks & kills them. Thankfully yesterday's brown near the house was spotted by my other dog who's a lot more cautious of them!

Haha. I think you could talk to 100 different farriers anywhere and get 100 different answers / variations on some things.
Yeah I'm always curious about people's perceptions of terms because many are... Very open to interpretation.
going to say that I am... skeptical of some of Mr. Bowker’s and Mr. Pollitt’s theories..
. (The “physiological trim”... come on.)
Yeah, 'reinventing wheels' & 'next new things' - does seem to be a lot of that around. And Pollitt... Well my mother always taught me if I can't say anything nice....

I appreciate too that Bowker has some controversial ideas, but interested to know what specific ones you're skeptical of?

As for the lable 'physiological trim', I'm sure, if you've been a farrier for any length of time, you would have seen some... Very different trimming styles, even amongst 'qualified' farriers(assuming you're in part of the world that last is not a given), and many are far from physiologically correct, so I think that's not such a... Scoffable lable myself.
 
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