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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay I need some oppinions... My first horse is 14.3hh and 10yrs old. I didn't notice how cowhocked she was untill i already got her home and fell inlove with her personality. I have found a good farrier who wants to shoe her and try to straighten her back legs but i don't know if it is because of her genes or being stuck in a small corral for a few years before i got her. My trainer mentioned to me that i shouldn't take her trail riding this summer because she might trip or roll her anckle and injure both of us...has anyone had a cowhocked horse and what are your oppinions on trail riding? (It wouldn't be super harsh terrain i live in utah)
 

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I am not a farrier, but I question whether or not a horse's cowhocked ness (is that a word?), can or should be corrected with shoeing. If a horse has been that way since birth, all it's bones and joints have developed to function in that position. To then try to force a change from the foot up seems more likely to create problems in all the impacted joints, all the way up to the hip and back. Now, I would love to hear what a farrier says, because I admit that I do not know this for a fact.

I would guess that your horse , if it's lived all its' life cow hocked, has adapted and will be fine walking on modestly rough terrain.

Is it possibel for you to post a photo?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
The farrier said that he thinks he can straighten them a bit but he doesn't think they will ever be super straight. When she walks its choppy but when she runs its smooth. It doesn't seem to bother her but I feel bad.
 

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I have one who is also cow hocked. He was not as bad as yours at this age, but still was cow hocked. 2 yrs ago I free leased him to a therapeutic riding center, where a farrier, without my approval, decided he would remove some flares and try to slightly correct the angles. Within 2 months he could not even be used to therapeutic riding, was returned to me, and has been in full retirement ever since, with his legs even more rotated than before.

I would say that probably your farrier can help prevent it from progressing, but most likely, over the years it will get worse. Just based on my experience.

I will never let a farrier try to correct angles on a mature horse again, unless it is a slight heel angle or something similar. Certainly not when it torques joints that are mature.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
That makes perfect sense. Thank you for the input! Sorry to hear about your horse, that's a scary thing. Do you use any joint suppliments on him or anything?
 

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My old guy is a long story, and there are many factors that led to his arthritis and his retirement, but the rotation of his left hind was sort of the "last straw". Yes, he is on supplements-Cortaflex w/HLA and MSM. THey help some. He is also out 24/7, which helps keep him moving.

He was actually so badly cow hocked at birth that the vet recommended he be PTS, but the breeder rigged something up with PVC pipes, etc and straightened him out enough so that he gave us many many years of sound riding. He is also a draft cross, and was started jumping too early....which has not helped matters. I bought him 18 yrs ago as a 4 yr old and he was jumping then.:-(
I did not know then how detrimental it is at such a young age.

Good luck-it is tough for sure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I don't ride her hard but i do ride her almost everyday for a bit when the ground is solid (i ride western and just in the pasture right now). If it's not i do ground work and the other horse keeps her active. I think i 'll look more into joint suppliments and talk more to the farrier when he comes in april. She hasn't been shoed since i have had her just trimmed.
She slways wants to go fast when your riding, do you think that is just her personality or due to the cowhocked?
 

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I don;t think her speed has anything to do with her cow hocks. I would suggest talking to the farrier, and perhaps the vet when he comes next also. The more input you get the more options you may have. If you decide on supplements, that is a whole 'nother subject and it is pretty complicated. I will say that altho Smartpak is expensive they are really very helpful and will send samples, since if the horse won;t eat it it does no good!
 

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Supplements are not going to change the angle of these hocks and corrective shoeing it not going to change the angle either. This horse probably won't make it as a 100 mile endurance horse, but she will probably be fine on some trails. I would hesitate to do a lot of circular ground work if you don't have to to be able to ride her because it might cause undue wear and tear on her joints. I would ride her and enjoy her. Just don't push her to do extremely long rides. If she becomes lame, then you can deal with that then. Your choices are really to keep the horse or to sell her. If she is fun to ride, ride her.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for all the information frank.
Celeste thanks for your input. I would keep her even if she was just a pasture ornimate if she wasn't seriously hurt ofcourse. The groundwork i do with her is mild stuff to keep her sharp if she is naughty. No running just 3circles without stopping and such.
I will ride her on a small trail ride and see how she does. The only time she trips is when she isn't paying attention, other than that she listens really good.
I'll ask the vet as well. Thanks everyone
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Celeste now that you say that, she does do that right before the farrier comes out. I'll have to have him come a tiny bit sooner and talk more to him about my concerns about her legs. Thanks
 
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