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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Back with my horse with the hoof issues, better compared to before.

The heels are relaxing apart more with help of some jumbo cotton balls.

Do you see any more I could trim off the frog at this time to keep things open?
Can anyone recommend how to approach adding copper to the diet for thrush prevention?
He gets 75mg per day with MVP equine Mega Cell vitamin.

I think it will be a long time before the tissue fills back in from behind. Sometimes it does but it gets flappy/wrinkley and then thrushy from the grooves. I'm wondering if I can change or add anything here so the tissue can regrow faster, hence the vitamin/mineral angle. The area gets cleaned out as needed and packed with cotton which usually comes out clean and stink free at this point. I give it a day off from cotton every few days but the heels close back up if it stays out for too long.




More pics here
https://www.horseforum.com/members/98817/album/dodge-contracted-frog-heels-7-19-19-18185/
 

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Are you doing the trimming yourself?

I would trim that excess bar out on the left side of the photo. it looks like the heel is longer on that side, but it could be an illusion.

In the past, I have pared that dead tissue that grows down into that frog crevice, because it seems to “hold” the heal from opening up.
 

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Not just the contracted heels, the poor horse is not balanced. the bar needs to be removed the heels & toes brought back underneath him. His whole hoof looks like really dry and closing in. if it were my horse he would have a balance trim and I would put them in the foot spa daily. Foot spas just a fancy way of saying I would soak his hooves in water. Actually I built a hoof spa, just took a tarp and some carpet and some wood and fill it up with water, feed the horse and let him stand in there for an hour. Really helps to open up those heels and makes them feel good.
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hi, yes, he is due for a trim any time now.

Just want a good look at the frogs before trimming commences.

He doesn't wear his feet evenly as you can see!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
@greentree

Can you tell me if you think I should pare more off the central sulcus area to keep it from holding shut? What areas specifically should I work toward to open this crack up?

There's material here where I circled in red, and I put a thin green line next to the areas where the hoof material changes from frog to heel wall. It's just all jammed together, so it's a little tricky to tell in all the photos, and I'm not sure if I should trim that out to free up space there. I could fit the knife between there but not a hoof pick, it's too tight.
@waresbear

I too feel very sorry that my poor horse has been living his life this way for so long. He needs to be trimmed every 4 weeks because stuff gets out of line really easily. I've now had 4 farriers and 1 vet check him out. He's most likely had this going on his whole life and I'm the first person to notice and care to want to fix him. He's lucky. I've checked pictures from his pickup at the BLM and can see the line crack in his heels and some other stuff he has going on. It's a tough long road going back on 8 years of uncontrolled damage.



I trim back his bars every week/every other week and they drop back down. I've tried trimming it level to the wall, just below the wall, level with the sole, doesn't matter, it always grows back right away. Catch 22 that he likes the support the bars offer back there, but with all the contracting and squishing the bars and heels need to allow for some outward movement too. There's definitely a lot more to the trimming, but I am most interested in focusing on the frog here to ensure that it doesn't get sucked back up in there. I understand that there needs to be a correct trim all the way around for that to work. I've been working at trimming him along with 2 other farriers who come by. One has done a few trims for me and the other just consults and does my other horse.
 

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1. Sometimes, depending on the bone structure of the horse and what's going on structurally contracted heels will never be completely fixed, in ways we humans think they should be fixed:)

2. There is a structural reason why your horse keeps wearing his hooves down in a crooked manner. Has he ever been seen by a five-star chiropractor? I say five-star because there are some lousy chiropractors out there.

*****

My 24 yr old TWH has lived with me since he was 11 or 12. He is sickle hocked to the point he could twist out of his hind shoes if he wasn't reset every 5-6 weeks. The farrier I had back then, had thirty years experience and said he'd never seen anything like it. That continuous motion is going to cause a horse to wear their hooves abnormally and the bars & frogs may even grow wonky.


He also came to me with contracted heels. Even though I stopped shoeing him a year later, (2007) he STILL has contracted heels in 2019. He's been in shoes off/on due to founder and currently has been back in corrective shoes and pour-in pads for 2+ years on the front end, it has not affected the plus/minus of his heels.

When he had to start going to the lameness vet for shoeing due to founder brought on by insulin resistance in 2012, I asked the vet why those contracted heels never improved beyond the minimum the had. His commented they likely were as good as they were going to get and he was right.

This same horse has lived with a fractured sacrum for many years. That compounds the issue of how his hooves grow -- the back hooves grow more uneven than ever now.

Meaning, if you have tried everything, including different farrier's, have had the horse a few years andnothing has changed about the heels, "don't try to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear", as my grandma used to say:)

Just know your horse may need more frequent trims than what is normal, by a farrier who truly knows what he/she is looking at and is not the common chest-pounding farrier most of us are used to:). That means trim his hoovesaccording to what THEY want, not what the humans want:)
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hi walkinthewalk

I haven't had this horse adjusted. I do some chiropractic stretches with him now and then, but I know it will take a ton of adjustments to get him in line again if that's even possible. Because he's high/low and has been for his whole life he's got a lot of difference between his shoulders. I've just questioned weather or not it's worth it to get any serious adjustments done on him considering at this point he is a leisure animal, not lame, in good health. I try to help his body through his feet and through conditioning.

This horse stands with his front feet pointed in, and his knees twist out. It's not ideal, but it's just him, I'm fine with that.

I certainly wonder if this is something that will ever clear up like you mentioned for your horse. Mine is 8, his body is done changing, so will I even be able to fix it? I realize I may not, but I also realize there's likely another 8 years ahead and I can do the best I can with what I have I guess. I'm not going to magically turn him into something he's not, but I would like to bring as much comfort to him as possible. Most of the farriers have said the same. He might not go back to what we all think of as normal, but what I'm doing looks good and it's worth a try if I want to put in the effort.

I do try to trim him according to what he wants. Generally I just look at where the callousing is and the sole plane to determine where my wall should be. Based of experience in the past I can figure about where he wants his heels, when I need to bevel them, etc. When I first got him he had some jamming in his pasterns from being trimmed according to what the human wanted. I just went slow and took a lot of pictures over several months and the pastern is now more level, he's not lame, and his feet are more level across the sole plane. We have been able to make slow changes successful, I'm just hoping there could still be an opportunity for him to have a healthy back part of his hoof there.
 

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For adding copper into his diet, I'd suggest testing your hay and getting your horse's blood tested (make sure to test at the right time). This will give you an idea where to start and what else needs to be balanced. Then, take into consideration the iron levels in the soil. Are the soil analysis for iron generally high in your area? Iron interacts with copper and zinc and can block copper absorption if It is too high. The ratio between iron, copper and zinc should be 4:1:4.



If your area runs higher in Iron, then generally you should not have to feed any iron in your horse's grain. A horse's body does not rid itself of iron like other minerals and they can still get enough through water, forage and mineral blocks. Feeding enough copper depends on the amount of iron and zinc he retains, so 75mg/day could be sufficient or he may need much more to be in balance with iron and zinc.


As for supplements, I've seen many people (including myself) have success with California trace.
 

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@Filou

If he is a pasture pet, walks sound & does not appear to have any painful lameness issues, adjusting him is the Big $64 question as to whether or not he will stay in place, and would you be opening up a can of worms by doing that.

Toeing in, with knees out is something that won't be fixed by this time. It is likely going to beget arthritis over time. Cosequin ASU+ (Plus) really does seem to work but it's expensive. If you can see your way financially to starting him on it, you might look at the clinical studies on Nutramax website.

You're doing the best you can do for him:). Except for putting a high caliber chiro on the payroll to match every one or two trim cycles, you're probably doing all that can be done:)

My horse's chiro is supposed to be here every four weeks to work on his fractured sacrum, if he needs it. Bout two months ago, we had a heck of hail storm with quarter-to-walnut size hail. I couldn't get the horses in because the other horse was raising panic h***, running the fence and spinning. My injured& foundered horse followed suit as he is the lower herd horse.

Somehow he managed to seriously re-injure himself --- to where I thought I might lose him. Between the traditional vet/chiro, the hollistic vet/chiro, and the 60 minutes daily therapy instructions they gave me, we managed to put "Humpty Dumpty somewhat back together again". His new normal is now to see the hollistic/vet chiro every two weeks until further notice and I will likely be doing 60 minutes of therapy daily for the rest of his life.

To look at him standing still, nobody would know how injured he is or that his founder nearly cost him his life seven years ago. I honestly could have a decent Dressage horse and two years of lessons to learn to ride dressage for the money I have in this guy (my avatar BTW:)

Meaning, keep doing what you are doing, within your financial means, until the horse tells you he is too tired to try anymore:)

Also, think about the California Trace since you are in California. It is too high in selenium for some of us in other areas of the U.S. :). However, if it is being added along with other products containing selenium, be alert for over feeding (including what is in your hay) as selenium is the one thing that can cause toxicity in horses if fed too much:)
 

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No problem :) here are a few good articles about it, if your interested:

https://foranequine.com/expert-advice/copper-supplementation-in-horses/

https://vetpro.co.nz/supplements-horses-really-need-day/

^ This one talks a little more in depth about balancing different vitamins/minerals and their interactions, but has some information on Cu/Zn and Fe interactions as well. It's a good read to start to understand the overall picture.

Feeding the Hoof

^ information on hoof nutrition and other links to explore.
 

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To your initial questions Filou(somehow missed this thread earlier), No, I don't think it looks like there's more needing/should be trimmed from the frog. And if you have balanced the diet appropriately, you should not add more copper - it's an extremely toxic heavy metal(that doesn't get excreted, just builds up in the liver) if in excess. If nutrition is not well balanced and there is not enough copper(&/or other important 'ingredients') in his diet, then you can work out if/how much he needs extra, from the diet analysis. FeedXL.com is one great option for working that out, and if you have a pasture/hay analysis, you can ask them to include that, so you can get an accurate analysis. To my knowledge(not a nutritionist tho) it is safe & can be really helpful, to add MSM and extra magnesium to the diet, regardless of nutritional balance.

It is possible that this deep central sulcus thrush is not able to heal fully because it has been so bad for so long, too much damage done. Or that antiseptics have retarded growth of healthy tissue. So I'd be careful what you choose to use topically - I'd actually consider treating with honey and packing with activated clay.

Likewise, if he's been high/weak/contracted for a long time & is a mature horse, he may not be ABLE to ever grow a stronger caudal foot. From Dr Bowker's research, he has found that once 'hamburgered', you can't 'unhamburger' it(his words). So, never say never, but it's entirely possible the best you can do is just manage what he's got.

As to imbalance & 'high-low', that is likely a body issue - so don't just try to 'fix' the feet & make them symmetrical & low heeled, at least without the help of a bodyworker. If he's had long standing issues, again, it's possible there is permanent damage now, and as you know, the limb deformity - toed in but knees out, will not be changeable. But IMHO that, and that he likely needs 'a ton of adjustments' & that he's 'just a leisure horse' is no reason not to have him seen to. Especially if he's got unfixable probs, then he could do with regular bodywork to make/keep him as comfortable as possible. You probably know yourself that if you have some body issue/imbalance, or you limp or such, and you just ignore it, you'll eventually get sore in other areas too. You may not be able to fix the limp, but bodywork/massage might keep the rest of your body from being painful & getting further damage. If he's got all those obvious issues, I wouldn't be riding him.

At one point you say something like he's 8 years old so potentially has another 8 years left. What does that mean? As 16yo is about middle aged for a horse generally, what's going to happen in 8 years?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Going back to your last post walkingthewalk,

He can be a pasture pet, but it would also be nice if I could use him for something more. I think ultimately I'd like to be able to do some dressage or jumping showing on him, but if that's not possible then I'd like to just poke around the ranch on him and sometimes mess around with other stuff. He's been fine with both of those things, jumping, general riding. I think once his feet are a little more even then I may see what an adjustment could do for him. I think I can do some stretches with him that can help until then, because I also realize they may never be level/even, or if they are going to get a little closer to even that will still take more time.

I can already tell when this horse gets old it's going to be an issue for him. I've thought about putting him on some type of joint maintenance, but I just haven't been able to justify the cost. I obviously want him to be comfortable to the limit I can afford.

As for the hay... He is getting hay grown in Oregon! I have looked into cal trace, but I think I can do better with other stuff. Most of the hay I've seen grown in California is out in the desert, dusty stuff! Or it's a mixed grain type hay like what is available in pasture.

Jolly and Loosie
I will look more into the copper/zinc/iron/mag thing. There's probably a better way to do that. We're switching hay soon so I may do some research and hold out till our new permanent hay for the year arrives. There's another gal who will benefit from getting it tested so I can likely go in on that with her.

I had been planning to pack it with NoThrush, which I kept leaving at the other barn. Brain finally clicked in so I was able to use that yesterday. NoThrush ingredients (Non-Caustic Natural Clays, Salts of Copper, Iron, Oregano Powder and Diatomaceous Earth).

Going back to the riding thing... I feel like he is well enough to be ridden, but it's a question of how much, and what type. Most of the time it's just me walking on him for 15 minutes or so. I do that about every other or every 2nd day. He just doesn't want to do more riding than that so I don't make him. On occasion I might push it and have him do more if he feels like he's good for it.

I think the future for him is the big unknown question. I didn't really buy him thinking about all that, but rather knowing I would be capable to give him a home that's at least more comfortable than where he was before, and that he could live with me forever. I think it comes in at how many resources can I afford to throw into him for him to be more comfortable, what is his level of discomfort currently, and how is that gauged. I don't think he is uncomfortable nor unhappy, but I also think that he hasn't really had the opportunity to know what more comfortable could feel like so if I can offer that to him then I would like to!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I trimmed the left front and put a bunch of photos of the process and final results here-
https://www.horseforum.com/members/98817/album/dodge-trim-left-front-7-28-2019-18193/

I started knocking back and down the heels a bit.

Lots of material in the turn of the heel that's rock solid and not really wanting to come out.

Noticed some loose flaky material around the frog I cleaned off and found a little thrush pocket in there... Sad and happy... It used to be 10, then 5, then 4, 3, 2... I'll take 1 spot of thrush and eventually none!
Treat it, or cut it out?

I roughly leveled the wall to the sole, then dressed the edge of the wall from the top.

I moved the bars back to meet up with the new back of the frog area, and I also tried to bring them down just a tad lower than the wall, but they are realistically probably equal to the wall height since it's so hard.
One question I have is, How can I make the back part of the foot more elastic? Considering there are these areas cornered by hoof wall and bar and packed with sole material... how can that part of the hoof ever expand? I could remove some, but no doubt he will be sore! Then, on the other hand, is he sore from it jamming? Yes, we have hoof boots, but no foam inserts yet.

After that I readjusted the levels of everything so that the hoof is relatively flat across the bottom and all that stuff...

I think the biggest thing I'm wondering about now is... How can I get the medial side of this hoof and heel to relax and spread out? Is there any trick here, like beveling the wall more aggressively on that side, or something else?

Overall I feel like this hoof is on an ok track. The pocket is really deep but it's at least connected to the frog and has a chance to all spread out together. The other hoof is a different story that I could get to soon/later.
 

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Looks fine. You didn't drop them very much, so shouldn't be an issue, but do just keep an eye on how he feels about whatever you do too. (prob stating obvious there)

Just in one of the pics, good angle to illustrate a couple of 'tweaks'... Taking bars down to sole level, and it seems maybe only the one quarter, or the angle doesn't show height of other one, or that's it's natural imbalance, but you can see one side is standing up 'proud' of the sole. Rather than trim the wall flat from heel to toe, I'd 'lower' the wall there, keeping the wall at the same level above the sole plane all the way round.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Probably took off 1/4 inch around, more than that in the back half of the heels. It will grow back in a week or two. I think he has enough sole to stay comfortable.

We have sand and gravel and no big rocks. Sometimes he's been sore after trimming from other farriers, so just going slow. Removing some from the frog, then the heels, then I can go back to the frog again... seems to help.

Good to know about trimming it level with the sole plane all the way around even as the sole plane rises and drops. I trimmed it down to the sole, then it's uneven, so I try to level it out a bit after that. It's ok if it's uneven, just as long as there's no prominent high spots which happen sometimes.

The pic you posted is the first raspings over one side of the heels. I think the bars ended up around there, not sure about that area in the quarters.

I suppose that's just because the bone in there is tilted or dented?

I will do the other hoof tomorrow... that one I think I will bevel/rocker the heel where it's under run and then check the bars and just dress the hoof from above mainly, the whole front half likes to flare out.
 

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Going back to your last post walkingthewalk,

Jolly and Loosie
I will look more into the copper/zinc/iron/mag thing. There's probably a better way to do that. We're switching hay soon so I may do some research and hold out till our new permanent hay for the year arrives. There's another gal who will benefit from getting it tested so I can likely go in on that with her.
Waiting until you have your new supply is a good idea! That's what I have done before, as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Last weekend I went in for another trim like this one, except I didn't take length off, I just dressed flare and trimmed out the flaps on the frog. It's really opened up since I left some cotton balls jammed down in there for a few days after the trim.

Since taking these, the hoof has started opening up more in the back, but he's also a bit sore back there. Still, better for us than it crammed shut with thrush eating away from the inside out.

I think I will get more pictures with a ruler in there to measure how deep and wide it is. Then I can retake the pictures with the ruler to see if anything changes.
 

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That's quite some... cleavage! As I think I said before, I'd get those overgrown bars down. I also wouldn't be so concerned with paring the frog - whenever this is done, it makes the tissue more sensitive and more open to infection. I don't think it's necessary anyway, just that you remove any 'daggy' bits & obvious infection.
 

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Note: Double posted with @loosie.

It's really good that is opening up. The air will help a lot with getting rid of the infection. You can see why it's sore, with the thrush going up into the live tissue.

Here's a big reason why you can only do so much with a contracted heel. If the hoof has been left in that state for a while, the narrow heels help narrow the entire hoof capsule, which in turn will deform the coffin bone into a more oval shape. You'll never have a hoof with spread out heels if the coffin bone in the front is narrowed. This is a classic problem in horses with a club hoof, since even if the club was created by tall and contracted heels, once the coffin bone is remodeled that hoof will always be smaller and more oval.
The wings have to be spread out in order to create a round hoof.

Versus oval.


So you questioned about how to make the rear of the hoof more elastic. Probably you can't. There is still the same amount of sole corium on the inner hoof, so if the heels are contracted/squished inward, the sole tends to grow more compacted into the rear. This will lead to deep collateral grooves, the squished frog and tendency to develop thrush in the central sulcus.
(Sole corium)


In my opinion, the really deep collateral grooves are a sign to take the heels down at least eventually to the level of the frog (this is how I have trimmed some clubs for years), and sometimes that means rasping off some of the compressed sole in the heel that just doesn't care to exfoliate out on its own due to its compacted nature of the cells. Your seat of corn is too far forward, buried under some of that compressed material, and also burying sole that should exfoliate.


I like this picture because it illustrates how the bar corium that the bars grow from are back behind the coffin bone, in the soft/cartilage part of the hoof. So your bars can grow in any number of directions depending on what that soft tissue is doing. Imagine if the heels are high, causing some bend in that softer rear part of the hoof. That can make your bars grow very differently.

I could not get this photo to link in, no matter what I did, so here is the source:
The coffin bone is the predominant bone within the equine hoof.
 
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