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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I'm trying to figure out how to help build good feet on Moonshine. Her feet have always been bad. Even before I knew what bad feet looked like, hers looked bad to me. Flared and cracked. She would get the occasional stone bruise or abscess. Now that I know what to look for, I see terribly thin soles, especially in front, and flares (although looking at the pictures again, it looks like right now it's really just her fronts). Her soles are softer than the other two horses. Right now she's tender on gravel, again. She was trimmed about two weeks ago. Both the trimmer and I worked on her, so whatever crappy work you see was probably me. He does have a thing where he wants to take their heels down to frog level in the back, which I'm not sure I agree with. So... what can I do about these feet?

I took a LOT of pictures, so that hopefully at least some of them will be useful. I am going to post them in a few different clumps, since last time I tried to upload a whole bunch of pictures at once, it randomly chose some to not upload.

My initial questions:
(1) how is it that her hoof walls are so short but STILL flared in places?
(2) can I trim those flares, even though her hoof walls are short? Especially the right front? And somewhat less the left front.
(3) how can I build a thicker sole and more concavity?
(4) looking at these pictures, it looks like she has no bars. Could that be causing some of her problems? If so, what would I do about it? The trimmer is also big on taking the bars down, but I don't remember if he took hers or not.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Moonshine front feet

Moonshine fronts. Not good.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Moonshine rears

Moonshine rears. Not AS bad.
 

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My gelding has bad hooves, too! No matter his diet or supplements....just bad. I have started using Hoof Doctor and so far I like the results. It smells like burnt cigarettes but has a lot of natural ingredients.
 

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I think her trim looks good and the hoof should be trimmed to the heel bulbs in the back - leaving enough wall (as in mm's) to keep it bareley above the ground so the frog can engage the ground.

If she has thin soles I highly recommend Hoof Armor as it adds another layer of protection on the sole. The trim does not look to be the problem. She may just have thin soles
 

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Discussion Starter #6
So nobody sees flaring that should be trimmed in the fronts? I drew lines for what I thought needed to come off. They are not the best lines, but hopefully you get the idea.
@loosie?
 

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What you have drawn are not flares - that is just his hoof wall and how thick it is. Some farriers will rasp that down a little to get better shape but that can weaken the wall. A flare is a separation of the hoof wall from the core - I have 2 walking horses that get serious flares in back hooves as they twist when they walk those flares look like large bulges in the hoof wall. These are most definately not flares - just hoof wall.

**owner trim my own for years took barefoot hoof trimming classes
 

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Her hooves instantly reminded me of Lipizzaner hooves - the stubby appearance is very common for them even though anecdotally they don't have too much trouble with their feet. (Edit: It appears that the Spanish Riding School Lipizzaners have had a lot of issues but the ones I came in contact with didn't have too many issues - ergo - anecdotally).

What do you know - there is a study!

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7556044/

I haven't tried it so I cannot vouch for it, but the study seems to find that biotin has a positive effect.

Anyhow, her feet don't look too bad to me, but I am not an expert at all.
If anything, they look more natural than overly long feet that are very common.

My mare had trouble keeping her soles, they were too crumbly and wore off too fast. Three years ago I stopped washing her feet and putting anything on them and her soles have improved immeasurably. She will occasionally get some cracks in dry weather but they are filed down with first farrier visit so no ill effects.
 

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(1) how is it that her hoof walls are so short but STILL flared in places?
Because they've 'gone splat' a bit. They are stretching/distorting outwards instead of down. *But not badly. They're really not that bad & managing/trimming as you have been - or have done this time, keeping them short would likely have them improve gradually. Otherwise, bit of a vicious circle that you let her walls go longer, they flare, soles stay thin/get thinner, due to lack of connection - the walls need to have grown down well attached for the sole to *begin* to grow thicker.

Also can't tell from your pics on the ground - no straight-on ground level pics of feet - but if there are quarter flares, that can be(as can see it's not from overlong quarter walls) from mooshed bars, pushing outwards. All bars look quite long & 'run forward' over the sole, but mooshed in(technical term) so they're not sticking out from it.

Look up ELPO if you haven't done so already. Work out where the 'breakover' point should be & you will see that toes are a bit 'stretched'. Not by much tho. Left fore looks less so than right fore. Rears look equally so.

(2) can I trim those flares, even though her hoof walls are short? Especially the right front? And somewhat less the left front.
Think it was Pete Ramey who put it that walls should be shaped to the 'footprint' of what should be for that horse. Or something of the sort. If you only 'dress' flares on the outer wall to be where the wall should end, that's fine(in most cases, certainly this one where there is precious little flaring). Then just round off the outer walls with a light bevel. Except at the toes, where you might need to bevel wall more strongly.

(3) how can I build a thicker sole and more concavity?

See above. Using pads in boots can help, by providing support under the foot for her to be able to use her feet comfortably and also reduce the 'load' on the walls while they're a bit weak.

(4) looking at these pictures, it looks like she has no bars. Could that be causing some of her problems? If so, what would I do about it? The trimmer is also big on taking the bars down, but I don't remember if he took hers or not.
See above. There could be pressure spots causing tenderness under them.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks @loosie, that was great.
 
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Bit more of an extreme, but this is one of my new mare's feets - only took couple quick shots, got none of her soles, but while they're thin(soles) & on the ground - with all that excess wall, there was no excess *height* - they're pretty neat feet - it's just the walls that have 'let go' & splatted outwards. With just a quick once over with the nips(that's all I had time for, planning full trim for her tomoz), they looked reasonable.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I had actually been thinking about hoof boots for her for a while. Does anyone have any thoughts about what brand to go with? I've heard that different brands fit different horses better...
 

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Discussion Starter #15
@Hondo my takeway from that article, for my own purposes, is that I need to keep her hoof walls just barely above the sole, or even level. Which is fine, I can absolutely do that, and it's one of the great things about trimming your own horses. I can just rasp them every other week or so.

One thing that sort of jumped out at me was that while the article cautioned against paring the sole, toe callus, and bars, it didn't say anything about the frog. I am now in the "don't trim the frog" camp, but you'd think the article would have mentioned that as well.

I had been thinking about getting XRays. I think I will find out when the lameness vet is next coming out, and have him do them. What instructions do I need to give this guy in order for me to get the images and information that I need? And should I get the back ones done as well?
 

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Due to it's length, the article did not mention many things in depth but did include resources at the bottom that go into any depth desired..


If you have a sure enough lameness vet coming out, I'm not thinking he will need any instructions as such. That said, marking the lowest hair follicle of the hair line is a must to get an accurate reading on the CE measurement.


Marking the true apex of the frog is also of course important.


Even though there is no flare in front, it is still typical to tape a wire or horseshoe nail down the front of the hoof beginning at the hair line.


But I'd be cautious mentioning these to a lameness expert since it would be sort of like cautioning a doctor not to forget taking your pulse and temperature.


Just my thoughts..........
 

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One thing that sort of jumped out at me was that while the article cautioned against paring the sole, toe callus, and bars, it didn't say anything about the frog. I am now in the "don't trim the frog" camp, but you'd think the article would have mentioned that as well.

Oh yeah, wanted to mention, the article was specifically addressed to flat feet which the frog does not contribute to in any way that I know of so to go into frog trimming in that particular article would have been a little off topic.


They did not say anything that Ramey does not say in his articles but rather than post an article from Ramey which would put you into overload, (Ramey is good at that) I used that article as a way to support what I was saying.


I could have quoted a snippet from Ramey with a referencing link but this 'seemed' simpler at the time.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Please post the article! I was actually looking for one where he talked about flat feet. I'm fine with information overload. Too much is better than too little IMO.
 

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If you read Ramey, you must have read this article.


"Above, are two flat feet with very different needs – at first glance, the only difference between the two might be the collateral groove depths."


https://hoofrehab.com/HorsesSole.html


A lot of stuff has to be read from Ramey and then sort through the facts until the seeming contradictions and confusion goes away.


Without actually seeing the hoof, and without knowing where the live functional sole sits, and without knowing what the CE measurement is, it is hard to say for certain what the problem is and what the best treatment would be.


"BUT!" IF there is a significant decent of the coffin, and IF the live sole is sitting on the ground, I'd say Ramey's rehabilitation protocol for sunken coffins would be in order. This has been tested (challenged actually) by a leading equine university and the results are dramatic.


It includes a drastic rockering of the heel that may at first actually get into the live sole and a total unloading of the toe. If the coffin is too close to rocker the toe, I would use boots with 1/2 firm closed cell neoprene of the approximate durometer reading as dense EVA boot pads with the area ahead of the frog apex removed, (which is exactly what Hondo is wearing as I type this).


The reason I do not use EVA is that the front edge will deteriorate quickly allowing the toe to again bear more weight.


This all said, I do not and would not suggest any of this until the big IF's above are answered. If the answers are yes, then I'd say Ramey's protocol would be in order for developing concavity and sole thickness.


Sinking coffin bones are a major contributor to thin soles as the pressure on the arteries impedes the blood supply that furnishes the nutrients for growing sole.
 

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If you read Ramey, you must have read this article.
Ah, yes, I actually re-read that one yesterday. The problem is, unless I'm missing something, that it is full of things NOT to do, and full of hooves that look bad and hooves that look good, but aside from one paragraph near the bottom, I didn't find a lot of instructions on what someone in my position should actually do.
 
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