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Hello! I had a talk with my farrier yesterday when he came out to look at a new arrivals feet and asked him why my mare's hooves are so upright. He said it is because she is an Arabian and that it the way she is. She has never been lame. I ride her 3 times a week with some light jumping and recently went on a 12 mile trail ride, so she gets worked pretty well. I am just worried that this isn't ok. Sorry, I don't think I have a picture, but can get one and post it later. Should I try to find a new farrier and get a second opnion? Is it just an Arabian thing? I don't know really how to find another farrier. We live in a small town and there is only 1 horse vet willing to come out and all the farms around use this farrier. Thanks!!!

oh - she is barefoot.
 

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I grabbed these before the light ran out so she isn't at her best/cleanest but they should work. If there is another angle that would help, please let me know and I can get it tomorrow. Thanks for any advice, I really don't want to be doing something that will end up hurting her. I love her to pieces and want her to be as healthy as possible for as long as possible.

They are kinda out of order, but the first is her front feet and the 3rd is her back feet.
 

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Now, keep in mind that I am no expert, but they really don't look clubbed to me. Some horses just have very upright feet, my Dad calls them 'mule footed'. My Mustang is like that on his hind feet. Maybe she is just like that. It's hard to tell if that's just how her feet are and the farrier is trimming her the way that is correct for her or if he is just using it as an excuse to do a crappy job.

I can already figure that others will ask for more pictures of the bottoms of the feet and what they look like picked up, etc.

ETA: It does seem strange that he would blame it on her being an Arab, though. In my experience, Arabs usually tend to have bigger feet that are more flat than your mare's.
 

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Yes, those are all four club feet, and no, it's no an Arabian thing. You do need to find a better farrier, but make sure it's not one who's going to "fix" her by trimming the hell out of her heel--that'll make her lame. I'd wager a good guess that her deep digital flexor tendons are significantly shortened. What I'd do as a starting point? Head over the the Hoofcare/Farrier Resource Forum at horseshoes.com - show them those pics, and see what the online professionals suggest.
 

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I pulled this quote from another board, where a professional farrier was discussing a severely clubfooted horse (significantly worse than yours, so don't freak out at the gloom and doom). I hope he doesn't mind my posting it.

No, you can't fix her feet. Keep them conservatively trimmed; don't take too much heel and watch sole depth. She'll always be a candidate for mechanical founder because of DDFT pull on the distal phalanx. The hinds are worse than the fores although the right fore will be a constant source of concern.

An inexperienced farrier or barefoot trimmer will try to "fix" these horses by removing what they think is excess heel. The horse will almost certainly go immediately lame when they do and quickly grow as much heel as physiologically possible again. Lowering the heels places huge tension on an already over stressed flexor tendon, pulling the distal phalanx down, impinging on the circumflex artery and stressing the interdigital laminae. Shoeing a club footed horse requires a solid understanding of the mechanics in play and is not for the novice. She'll try to keep the mare barefoot until the sole begins separating from the hoof wall on the hind feet. She'll notice the sole begin to "peel" away at the whiteline, being pushed away from the toe on the lateral side. Shoeing will be required long term to protect the hoof capsule and sole from excess wear and damage. The damage will be resultant excessive toe stabbing.

These horses go lame easily and often and can be a real challenge to keep comfortable in the long term. The apex of the frog will be stretched and nearly impinge upon the whiteline at the toe; commissure depth will always be excessive and sole depth at the toe region under P3 will be scary thin. She'll toe stab on the right fore and even more so on the hinds, wearing away at the dorsal aspect of the hoof wall. Early onset arthritis will appear in the hocks first and later at the stifle joints. She'll tend towards sore at the sacroiliac under saddle. Good conditioning and strengthening the abdominal muscle group will help her back but that same conditioning will wear early on stressed joints.

She'll be short strided, choppy and tend to string out behind. Collection for a horse like this is nearly impossible.
 

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I've never been really good at the clubbed foot thing, but I don't see it here. She probably is more upright than is common, but club???

It's hard to tell from those pics, but she may have excess hoof growth generally that needs to be trimmed. That is, not that just her heels are higher, but that the entire hoof should be vertically shorter. I do think her heels are higher in relation to the entire hoof as well though and there is possibly some flaring on the heels, maybe even in the back part of the quarter areas.

SMR is right -- more pics would be helpful. Sole shots, and heel shots from ground level or pick up the hoof and take a pic looking down from the heel to the toe vertically. Next time you take any pics (except sole), try to take then from ground level also instead of looking down to the hooves.

But let's wait for some experts to put in their 2 cents. Loosie?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Ok...thanks! I will wait to get super scared until I hear from more people. She has never been lame and works hard. I'll get the pics you suggested tomorrow and post them. I didn't think about getting a picture of the sole.
 

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My farrier says a mild club foot is very common in Arabians. My mare has one hoof with a mild club foot, but it doesn't seem to bother her in any way. The farrier says that as long as her hooves get trimmed every couple of months that she should be good to ride until she dies - at least as far as her feet are concerned.

Look at the front right for comparison:

 

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I don't know about it being an Arabian thing. I used to own two Arabians and both of them had normal hoof angles. :?

I suspect looking at the photos, that her hooves are upright because her pasterns are naturally upright. In which case, as someone else posted, they really shouldn't be "corrected" because that is what the horse needs due to her conformation. Just my opinion though.
 

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This isn't an arab thing... people are just prejudiced towards arabs. I own an arab and he is pretty flat footed... I'm not sure if this is truly clubbed feet. Might just be a bad trim job. It looks like the horse is growing a lot of heel and no toe, but that should be able to be fixed. A good farrier should help you straighten your horse our after around 3 shoeings.
 

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Both of Lacey's back hooves are pretty club-y (according to my hoof trimmer)...and she's an Arab... But I've never heard that before either. Interesting. I also know a NSH (half Arab) that is basically the OP's mare's twin with her front feet. When she's not trimmed often enough, her front hooves will basically turn into short little pillars. It's very strange.
Huh, I had never heard of that before. I wonder if it's really true or if it's just a very strange coincidence....

Here's my mare, this doesn't show them well, but it shows them (I think this was relatively soon after a trim, usually her heels are much higher)...She's totally sound, at age 26, and she has no issue using her back end to push herself. She does have a terribly rough trot which I hypothesize comes from her wonky hind hoof/pastern situation, but other than that, her gaits are great.

 

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Yes, those are all four club feet,
First off, not singling you out. Just answering multiple posts from here.:D

Though the angles are quite high, it looks as though the right front and left hind may be low grade club feet. (club foot = 60 deg or more) Not uncommon to find feet that match on the diagonal.


and no, it's no an Arabian thing.
Not saying it is, but, it is well known in the profession that Arabs can be known for club feet.I suspect that a portion of them would be more correctly identified as Hi/Low instead.

You do need to find a better farrier,
Not necessarily, however, farrier should be made aware that you would like the heels taken down a bit to help align the hoof/pastern axis.

but make sure it's not one who's going to "fix" her by trimming the hell out of her heel--that'll make her lame.
Agreed.:wink: Flexion testing would help determine how much theheel can be reduced safely.

I'd wager a good guess that her deep digital flexor tendons are significantly shortened.
If the tendons are short then theyv'e been that way from birth.(bones grew faster than tendons) Clubs that aren't congenital are generally, but not always, caused by a shortening of the flexor muscles.

What I'd do as a starting point? Head over the the Hoofcare/Farrier Resource Forum at horseshoes.com - show them those pics, and see what the online professionals suggest.
Also good advice.:D

Someone also said that "people are just prejudice twords Arabs". That's just ignorant. Some do think that Arab's are nuts/crazy, IME the only ones I had problems w/ were a direct result of thoses that owned them.:wink:

As for lameness, keep a propper trim and you should be in good shape for a long time.
 

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Both of Lacey's back hooves are pretty club-y (according to my hoof trimmer)...and she's an Arab... But I've never heard that before either. Interesting. I also know a NSH (half Arab) that is basically the OP's mare's twin with her front feet. When she's not trimmed often enough, her front hooves will basically turn into short little pillars. It's very strange.
Huh, I had never heard of that before. I wonder if it's really true or if it's just a very strange coincidence....

Here's my mare, this doesn't show them well, but it shows them (I think this was relatively soon after a trim, usually her heels are much higher)...She's totally sound, at age 26, and she has no issue using her back end to push herself. She does have a terribly rough trot which I hypothesize comes from her wonky hind hoof/pastern situation, but other than that, her gaits are great.

It seems like when I was researching barefoot trimming, it was said that in studies of Mustangs, it is normal and natural for hind feet to have steeper angles than the front. My BLM Mustang (long domesticated) is that way.

But it seems very common in other breeds to have the hinds at a lower angle than the fronts. But I don't think that is ideal. I think that if Lacy's hinds are steeper than her fronts, that is probably a good thing.

Also, and it is just a personal belief, I think that the hoof form follows it's function. If the hoof grows wonky I think that is a result of the way the horse's body moves and wants those feet to be (within reason). In other words, I think if the feet are steep, and it's not the result of a poor farrier, it is because the horse's pasterns or some other part of it's skeleton is set up in such a way that the horse's feet naturally need to be that way. To try to over-correct such a flaw could do more harm than good to the horse's body. Just my opinion though!
 

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It seems like when I was researching barefoot trimming, it was said that in studies of Mustangs, it is normal and natural for hind feet to have steeper angles than the front. My BLM Mustang (long domesticated) is that way.

But it seems very common in other breeds to have the hinds at a lower angle than the fronts. But I don't think that is ideal. I think that if Lacy's hinds are steeper than her fronts, that is probably a good thing.

Also, and it is just a personal belief, I think that the hoof form follows it's function. If the hoof grows wonky I think that is a result of the way the horse's body moves and wants those feet to be (within reason). In other words, I think if the feet are steep, and it's not the result of a poor farrier, it is because the horse's pasterns or some other part of it's skeleton is set up in such a way that the horse's feet naturally need to be that way. To try to over-correct such a flaw could do more harm than good to the horse's body. Just my opinion though!
To the first two paragraphs: That's very interesting! I had no idea. That makes me want to go research barefoot trimming more! haha That's good to know!

Third paragraph: I'm of the same opinion. :)
I'm pretty sure my trimmer isn't trying to correct it, I think (I try to talk to her about Lacey's hooves as much as possible so I understand exactly what her thoughts are and she's never said anything about trying to "correct" those angles)... She's told me that she just takes down the heel/bars a bit so that Lacey's hind hooves don't turn into little cylinders. :lol: I've never actually seen her take off any toe on her back hooves. She rolls them with her rasp but she's never done more to the toe than just rasp, she just doesn't have to. :shock:
Thanks for the information! I'm off to research more, my interest has been piqued.
 

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I wouldn't have a clue as to whether they're clubbed or not, and I've never heard it being common to arabs, I've been around a lot of arab's and none of them have ever been said to have a clubbed hoof, but I've always been told most thoroughbreds have one clubbed hoof. What's the actual definition of clubbed hoof?? And if you have a hoof that flares a bit even after being trimmed, could that be classed as club?
**When I say flared, I don't mean properly flared, (I find it hard to explain) I mean like the hoof itself is curved.

-Oh and to the OP, sorry to hi-jack your thread, I was going to start my own but I didn't think it would be worth anything.
 

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Someone also said that "people are just prejudice twords Arabs". That's just ignorant. Some do think that Arab's are nuts/crazy, IME the only ones I had problems w/ were a direct result of thoses that owned them.:wink:

As for lameness, keep a propper trim and you should be in good shape for a long time.[/QUOTE]

I said that and I agree with you that it is ignorant to be prejudiced towards them, I own one and he's an awesome horse. But I think this is also the reality. Most people I know really dislike Arabians, some barns I know of refuse to have them at their facility. Also there's no question that there are a lot of people who don't want the breed which is why so many end up at auctions. It's sad but true... many people have a lot of prejudgments about the breed that are wrong and talk about them negatively.
 

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This is a horse I use to own who had a club foot. You can probably guess which.......... it's her right. You can see that foot compared to the left foot.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thanks everyone! She has never been lame and her gaits are not choppy at all so maybe if she is clubbed it just doesn't bother her at all. I looked back at pics from before we moved and had to get a new farrier (went from Ohio to Wisconsin) and while her feet were more upright thanmost then they were definitely not this bad. I think I will just make the farrier take a little more heel and less toe to get back to how she was a year ago. If he can't I will try to find a new farrier. Thanks!!
 

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I wouldn't have a clue as to whether they're clubbed or not, and I've never heard it being common to arabs, I've been around a lot of arab's and none of them have ever been said to have a clubbed hoof, but I've always been told most thoroughbreds have one clubbed hoof. What's the actual definition of clubbed hoof?? And if you have a hoof that flares a bit even after being trimmed, could that be classed as club?
**When I say flared, I don't mean properly flared, (I find it hard to explain) I mean like the hoof itself is curved.

-Oh and to the OP, sorry to hi-jack your thread, I was going to start my own but I didn't think it would be worth anything.
If you want some input on this, please do indeed start a new thread and include pics. A hoof should not be curved on the vertical -- generally speaking you should be able to hold a ruler all the way around the hoof wall vertically and not see any space between the ruler and the hoof. From the new growth down that is.
 
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