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Today when I went to see Lacey I noticed that she seemed to be getting some little cracks in her left front hoof. I'm not really sure if it's something that needs my farrier's attention or what.

Here's a picture:



What do you think? It's been really cold and dry after being super wet and rainy for quite a while so I'm not surprised that her hooves are a little angry...

Thanks!
 

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Those cracks, especially the one on the left, have been there for a little while at least. They didn't happen all that suddenly. They are from undue stress on the walls - is/has the horse been overdue for a trim? It's also usual for infection to go hand in hand with these type cracks, so treat for thrush too.
 

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The last time she was overdue for a trim was in July/August-ish. She hadn't been trimmed all summer, and her feet were horrible. Could they be from that long ago? Since then I got a new farrier and Lacey's been trimmed at 4 weeks out from the first trim, then 6 weeks out from that since her feet hadn't grown much, and now it's been about 2 weeks post that 6 week trim. Her next trim is January 4...
She does apparently have thrush, I totally cannot see it and usually I can spot thrush but my farrier says it's there so I just started treating for it today.
 

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wallaby-I've noticed she has rings in on her hoof. I'm not sure about the cracks but loosie is probably right. The rings in her hoof could be cause from poor circulation caused by chronic laminitis. This may not be the case but thats what I've heard about rings sometimes. This is best diagnosed by a good set of radiographs and with a veteriniarian experienced with laminitis situations. I just hope this is not the case though! I hope everything turns out to be just fine :)
 

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I have been told about the rings. =/ According to most of the people who've seem them it just means she had a laminitic like episode or something like that, and hopefully not that she actually has had laminitis. The rings aren't as bad in the newer hoof so I'm hoping that they're right. She's never been "off" and her hooves look totally normal except for the rings so I'm hoping it's alright.
And over the summer she had some major hoof stress going on, she was shod (first time in probably over 5 years, if ever) and the shoes were left on from the end of June to the end of August. >.< But then I took over her farrier schedule and fixed that. They were on so long that she was actually lame from them, the only time I've seen her be lame. So I'm kinda hoping that it's just from that or something... =/

She was severely overweight for most of her life (like, the kind where you can see all the fat deposits and none of her true structure) so I wouldn't be surprised if she had foundered, I just really hope it's not true.
And even if she has, there's not really anything I can really do. My BO is pretty crazy and she doesn't get the whole "horses with founder need special care" deal. >.< As soon as I get financially stable, which I'm working on very hard, I'm gonna move Lacey asap and then life will be better, I hope.
 

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Another possibility I've heard about. When a horse's hoof goes from wet to dry on a consistent basis such as daily then it can generate cracks on the hoof wall. Once those cracks begin to get to a certain depth they can harbor bacteria and such.

It's just something I've heard about and if you find it not to be other causes, you could look into it being the wet to dry conditions as a possibility or contributer.

I think I also remember that you wouldn't wanna take a knife and try to dig the cracks out to get to the bacteria. Doing said such things would only cause it to become worse. If I recall the best thing to do is soaks with acv to kill the bacteria. But to avoid the cracks would take quite a bit of effort. You would need to keep her hooves dry at all times. That is if it is from the consistent wet to dry conditions. I'm watching my dvd's, "under the horse", and pete mentions it in there. When I come across that part I'll remember to post what he says about it. It may be a few days though cus I just started over and I'm on dvd two.

Just a possibility to consider, cus I don't have the experience to say, "yup that's what it is". But it could be a multitude of things too, so I suppose it's good to know about all possibilities.

And I sppose only for a curious nature I have; has that crack on the left cracked all the way through the hoof wall at the toe?
 

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A quick question to those with the experience. When a hoof forms a toe crack from excess pressure, does it start from ground level and work its way up the hoof wall?

Not trying to hijack the thread, but it's pertinent to wallaby/laceys hooves.
 

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And I sppose only for a curious nature I have; has that crack on the left cracked all the way through the hoof wall at the toe?
It hasn't. It's just a surface crack so far.
I was just looking at a picture from a week or so ago (when it was wetter) and those cracks are there, just less noticeable because her hoof was wet.

Here's the picture in case anyone wants to see it:



There's not really much I can do about keeping her hooves dry all the time since she is pasture kept and it does get really muddy where the horses are fed everyday... =/

So this isn't really something I should be worried about?
I'll start spraying the cracks with my 50% acv solution that I've been spraying her frogs with since she evidently has mild thrush in them... Is that about all I can and should do?
 

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Looks like a surface crack - I'd mention it to a farrier when you get one out if it makes you nervous, but it's probably from the wet to dry. I'd just put some hoof dressing on them once or twice a day. Pine tar is great. Stinks to high heaven, but it does good things for moisture content.
 

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Here's the picture in case anyone wants to see it

LOL. That's why I was asking if cracks from pressure start from ground level and work their way up. I was looking through that thread with your trim critique and noticing that those cracks were in the middle of the hoof and hadn't grown to the ground yet. And so that caused me to think they were surface cracks. But that's why I was asking about stress cracks, cus I don't know for sure.

I haven't yet looked for the tips for these types of cracks, I've just arrived home from the mountain. But I'll take a look to see if I can find em quick.
 

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A quick question to those with the experience. When a hoof forms a toe crack from excess pressure, does it start from ground level and work its way up the hoof wall?

Not trying to hijack the thread, but it's pertinent to wallaby/laceys hooves.
It definitely can, though hopefully long before it gets that bad the horse is looked after. Typically when a hoof is too long, if allowed movement over varied terrain, the hoof wall will start to chip out or "self-trim". If this occurs, then the stress wouldn't be on that part of the wall anymore. However, the process of developing the crack from the pressure can cause damage to the underlying laminae. A "natural" trim of a horse in their "natural" environment would be done through abrasion rather than chipping.
 

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Wallaby, I know you have been working a lot with your horse's hooves. Good for you! I wouldn't stress over these little cracks. They are beginning to grow out and are most likely from the past care, or rather lack of, that your horse experienced. To me, it looks like they are growing out OK. Keep it up!

Wet to dry and back again shouldn't be a problem. All dry is not great and all wet is not great.

I have just gotten through the wet season here and it is the absolute worst for hoof care. Clean, clean, clean and clean some more. The more you clean the more there is. Even when I make an effort to have a dry spot for them to stand in, they'll stand around in the muck. There is only so much you can do.

In dry seasons, the area around the water trough can easily be kept wet and forces the horses to travel through it to drink. If I had a choice, I'd choose dry, but then the grass wouldn't grow so either way we're screwed :?
 

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Wallaby, I know you have been working a lot with your horse's hooves. Good for you! I wouldn't stress over these little cracks. They are beginning to grow out and are most likely from the past care, or rather lack of, that your horse experienced. To me, it looks like they are growing out OK. Keep it up!

Wet to dry and back again shouldn't be a problem. All dry is not great and all wet is not great.

I have just gotten through the wet season here and it is the absolute worst for hoof care. Clean, clean, clean and clean some more. The more you clean the more there is. Even when I make an effort to have a dry spot for them to stand in, they'll stand around in the muck. There is only so much you can do.

In dry seasons, the area around the water trough can easily be kept wet and forces the horses to travel through it to drink. If I had a choice, I'd choose dry, but then the grass wouldn't grow so either way we're screwed :?
Hahaha, thanks NorthernMama! Something about the way you put that was very comforting and made me feel so much better. :D

Sometimes I feel like I'm running a failing race against time with Lacey since it feels like by the time I get all the little things fixed, she's gonna be ancient! But I guess I'll put my stubbornness to good use and keep on keeping on. :lol:

So I guess I'll keep spraying them with acv and hope for the best. I'll definitely ask my farrier about the rings next time she comes out though, because she's never mentioned them and I've never mentioned them... And that's probably some ground we should cover.
 

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Ah, the rings are history. A tale that has already run its course. Again, don't stress it. What's done is done. It will take months for them to be completely gone. You are dealing with the current condition, thinking about the future and that's what is important.
 

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The last time she was overdue for a trim was in July/August-ish. She hadn't been trimmed all summer, and her feet were horrible. Could they be from that long ago? Since
Firstly I agree with those who say it doesn't look too bad, that they're hopefully surface cracks which haven't gone through the wall. I would expect that ensuring good management will just allow them to grow out.

Considering how her feet were when shod, I'd say the founder is also a part of it. The laminae had become stretched and there was a lot of stress, especially at the front of the feet. While her feet have been well looked after since, there would have still been weakness in the walls & as mentioned, probably infection underlying too. I would ensure that the hooves are kept well 'rolled' and the walls are relieved, never allowed to overgrow, for a while longer, until some strong connections have grown down to the base. It may be that the hooves are not long, but for what *these* hooves need *at this time* they may need a brush up more regularly to ensure the toes stay relieved. Perhaps you could ask your trimmer how to keep on top of the mustang roll between trims?

caused by chronic laminitis. This may not be the case but thats what I've heard about rings sometimes. This is best diagnosed by a good set of radiographs and with a veteriniarian experienced with laminitis situations.
Pechos, you're right that the rings can signify laminitis. If you take a look at Wallaby's other thread, you'll see where these feet came from. Differentiating between lami(inflammation & damage to laminae) and founder(mechanical progression of weak laminae & incorrect hoofcare), laminitis can't be diagnosed with x-rays. It's the degree of founder(coffin bone 'dropped' or 'rotated' in the capsule) that can be seen by x-rays. But it doesn't take an xray to tell that these feet were also foundered when shod. The rings signify that there has been ongoing regular laminitis for some time, but hopefully Wallaby has her diet etc sorted, along with good hoofcare, so that can become a thing of the past.

it just means she had a laminitic like episode or something like that, and hopefully not that she actually has had laminitis. The rings aren't as bad in the newer hoof
See above Wallaby. I'm sure she has had lami, pretty constantly over the last year or so. The way the horse was trimmed when shod exacerbated it & she was foundered too. However, if she's no longer laminitic, great! She can *start* to grow well connected hooves. But they will be weak & need TLC until the new tight growth reaches the bottom.

Regarding your BO, I hope her 'craziness' doesn't extend to feeding her grain, sweet feed or putting her out to gorge lush grass. If so, you've got to change this ASAP & feed her only a healthy, low carb diet. Founder isn't just to do with obesity, but is linked with it because many obese horses develop insuline resistance, which causes laminitis, in the same way people develop diabetes. Even if they were never fat, they can develop IR & it doesn't go away, must always be managed, even if fat horses slim down. Even without IR, horses aren't designed to digest rich, starchy food and 'hind gut acidosis' is another common cause of lami.

A quick question to those with the experience. When a hoof forms a toe crack from excess pressure, does it start from ground level and work its way up the hoof wall?
Quick answer - generally yes. If there is a lot of lamellar damage at some point, the weak wall can crack there tho, and if there was an abscess at the coroner band & stress there, they can occasionally start at the top. Regarding wild horses or those with enough movement on hard/rough ground 'self trimming', this happens constantly and the hooves don't get to the point of overgrowth. Once they get to that point, depending on hoof conformation, wall strength, etc, they will either break off in chunks, &/or will flare & split.
 

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I just wanted to pop in real quick about those cracks. First, I don't think being dry all the time is nearly as bad as being wet. And wet/dry, wet/dry is very damaging to the hoof wall. Excess moisture makes the hooves easier to bruise on a rock. Excess dryness? Well, to a point, moisture is controlled on the inside of the hoof by good blood flow, etc. Unless your horse is dehydrated, and/or shod or trimmed to a point that circulation is compromised, excessive dryness is not really a problem, so I actually DO NOT advise muddy water trough areas, at least not intentionally. Sure, horses encounter mud and rain, but the ones that get the cracks tend to be in a cycle of wet/dry, rather than one extreme or the other, and again, water, in itself isn't bad, except it does soften the hoof and that makes it easier to puncture, bruise or get infected.

Personally, I would just treat the hooves with an anti-fungal med (like ACV ) let them dry thoroughly, then apply a hoof SEALANT. It looks like polish, but it prevents the hoof from being water logged, and if you are in a dry area, can lock IN the internal moisture, but as long as the hoof isn't excessively rasped, it tends to hold the moisture level, despite dry weather. Watch hoof trimmings on apparently very dry hooves, after being cut away, the curl up really tight, evidence that there was plenty of moisture inside...

Just be sure to get sealant , not polish,that doesn't wash off, or the first rain will undo it and defeat the purpose. This is good for pastured horses that are in humid areas with a lot of morning dew, that dries out in the day, etc. I would suggest reapplying at least once a week.

Also, only apply about an inch below the hairline down, and you can apply to the sole, but not the frog-it needs to breathe. Let dry a few minutes and you're done.

Of course, if you are battling cracks from poor trimming or deep infections, like WLD, trapping the germs in whith a sealant isn't a good idea, and poor trimming will continue to promote cracks until that is fixed. Sealant only works for moisture issues.
 

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Rings can signify a whole spectrum of hoof related issues, besides founder. My mare has very simmilar rings. She has been radiographed a few months back. The vet was specifically looking for founder or fractures, but we only found navicular. Ive also herd any big change in diet or stress can cause rings as well.
 

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Go to this website and read this article about Key Vale Farms: blackhorseblog.com
The owner, Lisa-Harrell-Brock, has some great hoof care techniques and one of her horses, Angel, had some cracks like your horse has. If you contact her I'm sure she can tell you all about it.
 

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BFH, my horses are in and out of the wet areas pretty much all summer here and I never see cracks like Wallaby's horse has. Pretty much every day their feet go through some water or mud whether they want to or not. I know that the only time I have difficulty is when it is wet everywhere. :-( I dread the fall every year when the rains come.

At first I was surprised when you advocated a sealant, but then I saw you said only apply about an inch below the hairline down. I just wanted to emphasize that for other readers. Sealants, if misused, can lock in all the bad stuff as much as the good, so I have avoided them so far anyway. I have used a hoof care product for use on the coronary band, but that's as far as I have gone.
 
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