The Horse Forum banner
1 - 19 of 19 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
701 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My QH gelding arrived with "great hard feet" to quote from the previous owner, but has flat-tish soles. He is pretty sensitive to the hard ground we have here at our barn. I have kept him barefoot but booted up with Scoot Boots. I have my farrier trim his feet every 4 weeks. I asked him how to improve the concavity and he said front shoes would allow him to take some of the callus off the sole, and eventually create some concavity. I'm probably not describing what he meant well.

The Scoot Boot person said stimulation would help to create concavity - like the sand footing in the round pen. I use front boots for daily use while riding. His paddock and the barn property have lots of small pebbles and rocks and hard ground. (He does have a sand bed of course). Ideas??
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,404 Posts
I don't think slapping shoes on him and ripping at his sole is the answer...

Your horse has been building up that strong sole of his hoof in order to be comfortable on 'ouchy' surfaces. I feel like it would be counter-intuitive to do what your farrier is suggesting. My farrier currently doesn't touch my horses soles at all, and for the first time in having my gelding for 13 years, he is able to be ridden on gravel roads without doing the 'ouchy' walk.

Of course, I'm sure others may know more about what you are hoping to achieve, this is just my line of thoughts.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,674 Posts
You cannot falsly create sole concavity - if he is very very flat footed I suspect very low grade chronic sugar sensitivity - I would go to a low starch grain or no grain and keep your trim cycle at 4 weeks. The sole is a living thing and needs stimulation to grow and harden - shoes take that away by removing the pressures that stimulate the sole. Toe callous is a good thing! Keep up with the boots and make a slight change to his diet, you can also remove any alfalfa and see if that helps with the sensitivity (it will take some time to notice a difference)
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
24,078 Posts
Hi, firstly NO! to your farrier. As cleardonkey put it, slapping she's on & ripping into his soles is no more an answer than it would be doing that to your feet!

Concavity is a result of healthy, well functioning feet, there aren't really any shortcuts. If he has thin, flat soles, first the lamellar connection has to be good, before they can start growing much thicker. So the horse must be well trimmed & managed to grow out any separation etc. Diet may well have a big part to play in that.

Theñ, as with our feet, lots of comfortable stimulation/exercise is what builds callouses. Boot him on rough ground where he's uncomfortable but have him bare as much as possible & the more exercise the better.

Tiny, the degree of natural concavity is indeed a genetic thing - eg. Drafts tend to have a less dished pedal bone than others, many ponies are very cupped... But thin, flat soles are a common 'environmental' problem.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,590 Posts
Farriers often trim the concavity out of the hoof. Since they are used to putting on shoes, they'll often trim away the rim of sole the horse is growing out. A hoof should not have the white line depression rasped down so the sole and outer wall are completely flat.

This photo is an example of trimming the walls and leaving the sole alone. It's not a good trim, needs balancing and more taken off the heels, bars and quarters. But the example is that the sole is left alone.



Here is another better trim that is leaving the sole alone.


And here's what many farriers do, which is trim down the sole in the very area where it is supposed to be growing thicker and protecting the coffin bone.

Rasping the sole so it is flat with the wall and white line is something farriers do to make a shoe go on, but it removes concavity. The shoe provides the concavity, but this should never be done for a barefoot trim.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,698 Posts
@gottatrot to my inexperienced eyes, that first picture looks like the sole WAS trimmed. It's so neat and smooth and nicely colored. Certainly the frog was cut back.

I need to get X-Rays to confirm, but I rasp Moonshine's hooves every week and it seems to me that she is building thicker sole and her feet seem to be developing concavity. She has traditionally had quite thin flat soles. It's been nothing but rain here for a month, which in the past would have made her footsore, but my daughter rode her out on the gravel road the other day and she was fine. So I do think it helps. I suspect that rasping the hoof wall every week creates a situation where the soles has consistent stimulation and is therefore more likely to grow. This is just my uneducated opinion. So I'd suggest learning to rasp the hoof walls yourself. It's really not that hard.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,807 Posts
@gottatrot that first pic I zoomed in on it ,there's no way that sole was left untouched.

Op farrier carving out sole an shoeing won't produce concavity in soles. I'd continue using boots an keep horse trimmed. You'll never achieve concavity by carving out sole, you'll achieve a sore horse.

New farrier I used doesn't carve out sole. Only takes bars down an trims flappy parts of frog.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
51 Posts
Agreeing with what others have said. Cutting off the toe callous (eek!!) will only make the issue much much worse. A concave sole has to be grown, not manufactured. My mare was tender on gravel until she had been with our new barefoot trimmer for about 6 months. You can visibly see the improvement in her soles now. They are filled out and thick.

Proper trimming, varied footing, and continuing to use the boots when needed will help to grow a better sole. Not every horse has the genetics for thick strong hooves but it will help.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,943 Posts
This is really interesting. OP my mare is 17hh irish draught and was shod on all fours. Approx 9 months ago I went full barefoot 24/7 turnout. At nearly 800kg (50 of it fat :< :< :<!!) that's a lot of weight. First farrier when we transitioned would carve the foot as if he was about to shoe.. but then not shoe. I expected her to be footy and she was, a little. But I put it down to being newly barefoot, only natural right? Farrier #2. By accident tagged him. First cycle he said she had nothing to work with because of so much wear and slow growth. But when he finally did... he didn't touch the sole. He said he lets the horse decide what it wants done with that. He helps the frog along only as needed and manages the rest. And no joke she moves like she's wearing shoes now and when I clean her feet I actually have to dig some dirt out. Those winter cycles were scarily flat and bruised :< I have and used scoot boots, and will probably need them this hard summer coming or if we go on roads more but more to protect her from wear. Not to say he's amazing as I'm no expert, I also want to post some before and after photos but the difference in my mare is undeniable. I'll never shoe again but I do have boots for all 4 feet and will use them.

How much hard work on natural hoof to you do? The majority of our exercise is commuting up and down a hard concrete/fine gravel lane. Getting to point B from point A. Farrier said it was good to do light work on hard surfaces and that I couldn't condition her feet for a hard surface without actually working on it. By working he meant regular walks and trotting, which I do almost daily. For reference we probably spend about 6-8 hours a week on that lane or roads moving about to get to grassy work areas both ridden and in-hand. Good luck!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
701 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
So interesting, thanks, folks. I will post some shots as he was done just a couple days ago.
My old TB gradually developed more cupping in his hinds after a couple years of being barefoot behind.
The QH doesn't get grain, he's on timothy hay and vitamins, Brewers yeast and Farriers Formula. I do plan to keep him barefoot.
Has anyone heard of something called Hoof Armour? I already use the Hoof Hardener a couple times a week. The Scoot boot lady was mentioning it (she's a distributor). While the Scoot boots are good, I see they admit little pebbles along the sides of the boot. I had to use black gorilla tape to seal off the entry as he was stepping on them inside the boot!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,023 Posts
For what it's worth, when my horse was still barefoot he was always footy. At one point I started taking out more sole between farrier visits and he became less sensitive. I didnt touch the toe area much, mostly around the quarters and bars. He started to get more concavity too, though he's still fairly flat. My thought is that he had enough sole that wasn't naturally shedding and it was effectively jamming up and adding extra pressure.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
13,153 Posts
Cowboy, our BLM mustang, has flat soles. And he can go anywhere, no matter how rocky, with ease. Mia likewise had flat soles and didn't care about rocks. Not sure I see a reason to want concavity. My three horses live in a corral that is rockier than a lot of trails.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,590 Posts
In dry climates, horses can retain a lot of sole depth without having an appearance of concavity. The dryness along with thick hoof walls can cause the sole to retain longer within the hoof. Concavity in hooves in less dry areas can be an indicator of a healthy, thick sole with a protective layer over the coffin bone. If a horse has thick, hard soles and no soreness, there is no need to worry about concavity. If the horse has thin, flat, tender soles, then developing concavity is a sign of improving hoof health. One sign of a flat sole that is not caused by thick, retained soles is that the frog will often sit above the rim of the outer hoof wall level, with no protection.
Here is a truly flat, unhealthy sole.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
759 Posts
In dry climates, horses can retain a lot of sole depth without having an appearance of concavity.
Absolutely true. Concavity of the sole in terms of the physiology of the hoof is "live sole" concavity". Dry hard ground causes a horse to retain dead sole. How they "know" I have no idea.

Concavity of thick live sole with built up dead sole is not a sign of bad feet and they will not be tender.

OTOH, a flat footed horse that IS tender, has thin soles. Unless they've been cut away by a trimmer, one frequent cause of thin soles is a descended coffin bone that can occur gradually over a long period of time from long toes and underrun heels. There are other causes but that is I believe the most frequent other than laminitis which has other characteristics that can be identified.

The concavity of the live sole is absolutely a sign of a healthy well cared for hoof. But to carve it into the foot would be similar to trying to gain strength by blowing up one's muscles with silicone. Don't do it.

Edit: The best and perhaps only way to diagnose a descended coffin bone is by a properly performed x-ray to determine the CE measurement.

This article addresses how to increase concavity by addressing coffin bone sinking.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
701 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Wow there is great information on this thread and useful links, thank you. I will chat with my vet about the xray for the coffin bone sinking.
Yesterday my horse refused to walk out to his paddock from the barn after I took off his boots :(...
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
24,078 Posts
Didn't mean to 'like' that last bit - if he's tenderer than he's been, then something's going wrong. Sounds like you may need to boot him full time for a bit. I'd look carefully at diet & also the trim - guessing that a farrier who thinks removing sole from a tender, flat footed horse is right, probably hasn't trimmed to help the feet. Sorry to say. Will await pics. If he's trimmed to leave the horse walking on his walls, not helpful. The walls need to be relieved of excess pressure before anything can change. In the meantime, horse needs protection & support under his feet.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
701 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I'm trying to educate myself...I found a great video from an equine podiatrist on thehorse.com that I will link to with great images.
Here's the front feet...the RF is the flatter sole, I believe the 2nd pic..
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
351 Posts
I'm trying to educate myself...I found a great video from an equine podiatrist on thehorse.com that I will link to with great images.
Here's the front feet...the RF is the flatter sole, I believe the 2nd pic..
There is a great facebook group called Hoof Talk for the Barefoot Horse that I've found extremely helpful.
 
1 - 19 of 19 Posts
Top