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Discussion Starter #1
Hi, all! We have a horse that we're leasing out to a girl in 4H. They have their own farrier trim and shoe his feet. Ever since, I've noticed his front feet look a little different and I can't quite put my finger on it. It's like he's really upright on his toes, or has too much heel or something...I am not very knowledgeable with feet and hoof angles. He's also been tripping while being ridden which I never noticed before the farrier switch. I had the mother of the daughter that is riding him, mention this to their farrier and he said, "His angles are great, I don't see a problem." So, I was just wondering what you guys think? Does he have good angles? Sorry the pictures aren't the greatest, I was by myself and only had my cell phone with me. Any help would be appreciated! :)
 

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The disclaimer is that I am not a farrier and have no professional training.

But he looks short shod to me, meaning the shoe is too small, forcing his hoof into an unnatural shape. His heel does look quite high to me, as well, and in some of the photos the toe looks long, as in overdue for a reset.
 

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Thank you for the quick reply! Now that you mention it, it does look like his feet are being squished into a size too small shoe. I have talked to Michelle (the mother of the daughter who is leasing my horse) on numerous occasions about how she should ask the farrier about him having too much heel and the farrier's response is always the same, "He has great angles." Kind of disheartening. These pictures were taken today, a day after he trimmed and re-shod Preston's feet. Before that, he looked like he was wearing a pair of heels. Thank you for the response, he's always been sound and always had such nice feet, I would hate for that to change. What are the ramifications of being short-shod? Are there long term damages to the feet?
 

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Keep in mind that this is speculation only, consult a professional, yada yada. But the first thing I would worry about would be navicular. Generally that's more associated with long toe / low heel syndrome, which isn't really the case here, but you're amplifying concussive force onto a smaller area and that can't be good.

For more professional responses, I'd urge you to check out horseshoes.com and see what the experts there have to say.
 

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Absolutely no professional here either.

I agree with all the above; short shod, high heels and can that horse go barefoot over the winter?:-(

I wouldn't take his heels down too much at once either, if they do pull the shoes. He appears (disclaimer there as pictures can be skewed) to be so high that taking them down to what is normal could stretch his tendons too much and sore him up.
 

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I agree with others assessment. That's a lot of heel! Are the lessees close enough to use your farrier? I'd be very unhappy if I were in your shoes.
 

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Thanks for the replies you guys! This definitely gives me a jumping off point of where to start. I'm also going to take Bubba's advice and post on that horseshoes.com forum to see what they think. I am very unhappy with his shoe job, especially since this farrier has "forgotten" appointments with other clients, and just generally does not seem very reputable. The leesee is close to where I live and after I have a talk with them, I will definitely have them switch over to our farrier.

I'm glad my concerns weren't unfounded. It's just hard telling someone that their shoer is not doing a good shoe job when the so called professional tells them that there is nothing wrong and the shoe job is just fine. :/
 

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I'm going to agree with what has been said - I'm not a professional but I do tirm my own horses feet and I must say ... ditch the individual who is trimming/shoeing that horse. There is nothing "great" about that. Have them use the farrier you choose.
 

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OK, really need better pix for a reasonable critique. Mud free is also helpful, to. Check out the link in my signature for tips for pix. Can only get a rough idea from those pix. Also we don't know whether these pics are fresh after a trim or overdue, we don't know what the feet were like prior to this farrier & how long he's been working on the horse. Horse's age, diet and work/management is also helpful to know.

If you're talking only of toe/pastern angle, this isn't too bad IMO. They are perhaps a little broken forward. It appears there may not be much flare at the (long) toe, tho who knows whether the farrier has just dressed any flaring off on the outside &/or the mud is disguising it. Hairline angles look a bit shallow to me, which you'd expect with a horse that's tipped up on his toes like that. But 'angles' are but a few guides to give you an idea of what's what. I don't think trimming to specific 'good' 'angles' is the right way to approach hoof balance & you can get horses with very 'correct'(what is 'correct' also often depends on the circles in which you move) hoof angles & terrible hoof balance & function.

Like others, I agree heel height looks to be a big problem(albeit one waiting to happen). Without seeing what's happening underneath, wouldn't know whether much can come off in one fell swoop, whether it needs to be done gradually or whether one or both of his feet are naturally 'clubby'. I wonder, is it possible he had one clubbed front & the farrier has trimmed to try to match the other to it?

His heel platforms are also way forward of where they should be - providing no support under the back of the foot, and appear quite contracted too. This is likely at least partly due to high heels and it's possible his toes are actually run out a lot more than we can glean from these pix. Lack of function of the heels &/or constant shoeing tends to cause them to become contracted.

Heels will likely be sensitive and weak. Being constantly on his toes will put added pressure on the ground toe tip of P3, on the front of the pastern joint and on the navicular region, among other areas.

I advise all horse owners to do their homework & learn the basics about hoof function & health, among other subjects you need to know to take care of your horse properly. This example seems to be another of why horse owners shouldn't just be trusting the 'experts' to do & tell them what's needed. While many don't have the inclination(or time) to get into these subjects in great depth, it's not a great stretch to at least learn the basic principles & factors. That way, you can be pro-active and make informed decisions about these sorts of issues, rather than waiting for the feet to get to that point, or for the horse to actually become lame, before you start to question any part of the process.
 

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No one can really make an assesment without seeing the angles of the shoulder and watching the horse move there may be a reason for standing him up.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thank you for the indepth reply Loosie. I know the photos aren't the greatest, I only had my cell phone with me at the time so I had to make due with what I had. I will try and take better pictures in the next couple days and post them. Like I said earlier, all the pictures I posted were taken the day after he got his hooves trimmed by the farrier. So, his feet are freshly done in those photos. His feet have never looked clubby before. He's always had nice, round even feet. Although he's always had feet on the smaller side. I really wish I could find a good picture of his feet before I leased him out, but his hooves were never an issue so therefore there was no reason to really take specific pictures of his feet before. I am really willing to learn, but the entire subject of hoof care is overwhelming, especially if you google it. Could you possibly point me to a beginner friendly article where I could start learning about what makes a good hoof? Thank you! Also, if you think it would help, I can take pictures of the angles of his shoulders as well.
 

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Thank you for the indepth reply Loosie. I know the photos aren't the greatest, I only had my cell phone with me at the time so I had to make due with what I had. I will try and take better pictures in the next couple days and post them. Like I said earlier, all the pictures I posted were taken the day after he got his hooves trimmed by the farrier. So, his feet are freshly done in those photos. His feet have never looked clubby before. He's always had nice, round even feet. Although he's always had feet on the smaller side. I really wish I could find a good picture of his feet before I leased him out, but his hooves were never an issue so therefore there was no reason to really take specific pictures of his feet before. I am really willing to learn, but the entire subject of hoof care is overwhelming, especially if you google it. Could you possibly point me to a beginner friendly article where I could start learning about what makes a good hoof? Thank you! Also, if you think it would help, I can take pictures of the angles of his shoulders as well.
I always swear by Doug Butlers textbook, Principles of Horseshoeing. Great book!
 
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Thank you for the indepth reply Loosie. I know the photos aren't the greatest, I only had my cell phone with me at the time so I had to make due with what I had. I will try and take better pictures in the next couple days and post them. Like I said earlier, all the pictures I posted were taken the day after he got his hooves trimmed by the farrier. So, his feet are freshly done in those photos. His feet have never looked clubby before. He's always had nice, round even feet. Although he's always had feet on the smaller side. I really wish I could find a good picture of his feet before I leased him out, but his hooves were never an issue so therefore there was no reason to really take specific pictures of his feet before. I am really willing to learn, but the entire subject of hoof care is overwhelming, especially if you google it. Could you possibly point me to a beginner friendly article where I could start learning about what makes a good hoof? Thank you! Also, if you think it would help, I can take pictures of the angles of his shoulders as well.
Sorry I missed the bit that said it was the day he was shod. I find that regardless of problems, pictures never go astray, as they can give you a more objective idea about some things, including what changes have happened over time.

The thread link in my signature will give you some more good info & sources. barefoothorse.com has some basic principles without getting too overwhelming. barehoofcare.com has some good info also on when & why shoes or bare/booted may be the option of choice in certain situations.

Yeah, seeing the entire horse, shoulder angles etc can be helpful in determining athletic aptitude, as well as why hooves may be balanced in a certain way, but again, those 'angles' should provide feedback IMO, not be a measurement to trim to. These angles change, with changes in the hoof as well as posture too, so that also needs to be considered. Ie. pastern angle - it doesn't look too bad, perhaps a tad forward to me in the above pix, but for the last - because of the way he's standing, his near foot looks broken forward quite strongly. As he's got high, underslung heels, you will also find his shoulder angle will be different to what it is when he has well balanced, functioning heels. Other 'conformational' points, such as 'over at the knee' or 'camped under' may be directly related to posture & how the horse is trimmed too.
 

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As a farrier of some 38 years hope what I am going to say is of some help:
I feel the heels of both fore feet are to long, but it looks like they have not been that way for a long time as they have not started to prolapse yet!
My worry would be that they have to be lowered in order to get the caudal third of the foot working again, but not all in one go.
I would be trimming those feet every 5/7 days just taking a little off the heels each day.
My main concern for you is the same as I have for most of the owners I meet when I get referrals, that is they do not have a farrier who is going to take the horse forward in the correct way.
Please get your vet involved when trying to sort this out as it will be advantageous to have both farrier and vet working as a team.
I am working hard over here in the UK to make sure there is a minimum standard in farriery so owners know that at best their horse is being shod/trimmed in a way that will cause no damage.
 

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Looks like the shoer's been rasping off the sides and backs of the heels so they fit those tiny little shoes. IF at all possible, I'd let him go barefoot for a month or two, so the foot can relax a bit. As muddy as his environment is, the heels should relax in no time. Gradually lowering the heels as that other fella said would help. Poor horse has to be in pain. Is the Shoer Manolo Blahnik? :lol: I can't think of anyone else that would do that to a foot!
 
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