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Hi everyone,

I’m posting because I’m at a complete loss and am heartbroken over this whole situation. She’s my heart horse and I want what’s best for her and could use some opinions.

Some back story on this mare: I purchased her just over a year ago. Previous to owning her, she did prelim eventing before having a partial bicep tear in her Right shoulder. Previous owners kept her in a stall for almost three years, even after it had healed. First two years = no riding, no turn out to recover from injury. The last year she had very minor work because of behavioral issues (rearing, bucking, bolting etc.)

She was shod with a pad on her RF for quite some time, and then the month before I purchased her it was removed and she hadn’t had her feet done in well over two months.

When I purchased her, she was turned out for the first time and very cautiously brought back into work in my trainers program. After every work out, we use theraplate and red light therapy before and after. Despite this, she ended up having some severe soreness in her back at the start of spring and got a month and a half off after we tested for kissing spine, injected SI, refitted my saddle, and treated with lots of chiropractic, body massage and red light therapy.

Again, during late spring as she was coming back into work, she ended up on stall rest with a popped splint. I believe there were three main causes: 1) She is overweight due to lack of work 2) Her RF is at 46 degrees and severely under run not giving any support at all. She was put on stall rest for two months: X-rays were taken, her stifles were injected a week before, and she was hand walked daily.

The past couple months, she has slowly been returning into work. We started with just ten minutes- 8 minutes walk, 2 min trot. And now it’s gradually increased to 40 minutes rides. Primarily walk and trot as we do transitions and leg yields to help get her off the forehand so she’s no on her RF, and a little bit of canter. She gets lunged once or twice every two weeks depending on the situation and ridden 4 times a week which I was gradually hoping to increase to 5-6 times a week

Now the issue;

My normal answer to being overweight would be to lower the grain + hay, and increase the workload. I can’t lower the grain anymore than I already have- she’s on two handfuls of Tribute Essential K rational balancer for the morning with Elevate Vitamin E supplements, Electrolytes, Mare Magic, and Probios. In the evenings, she receives one handful. I do AM lunch PM grass hay, but the hay is last years cut and mostly bleached out. I am ordering a grazing muzzle- the one I purchased doesn’t fit.

Now the issue with increasing her work load: her hoof gets worse. She is poorly muscled from so much time off, and not strong enough to use her hind end as much as she should. So I’ve only seen a decrease in the quality of her RF.

What we’ve done shoeing wise:

She’s being trimmed by a farrier I’ve used for 10 years. He’s done a good job at keeping her at around 48-49 degrees but we cannot get this heel to come back at all. When she went onto stall rest the second time, I tried a new farrier who pulled her shoes completely for 4 weeks and then a pad was put on her RF. After two trimmings, this is the worst her hoof has ever looked. I switched back to my previous farrier, who is an absolute god sent and still willing to work with me. He trimmed her two weeks ago, and obviously I can’t expect her hoof to go right back to where it was (wasn’t great in the first place- NOT my farriers fault) but I’m genuinely concerned about continuing to work her while it looks like this. The flip side to that is, I can’t get weight off of her without working her and that’s also a factor worsening this whole situation.

Does anyone have any suggestions as to what I can do? I’m absolutely begging. My answer right now is to just pull her out of work, and try to figure out how to get this heel looking right and get a vet out to take more x-rays. I’m absolutely at a loss and so heartbroken.

I have pictures from when her shoes were pulled (4 months ago). I will try to get new ones tomorrow when I bring her in. Please keep in mind that this was the first time her shoes had been off in several years: hence the chips. She was bedded heavily in her stall. She had also just been showered hence the wetness.

I’m also adding a picture of what she currently looks like condition wise

A big thank you to anyone who read through this long, loooong, long post. I appreciate it so much, and if you have any advice on supplements/work load/or anything else, I would strongly appreciate it.
Water Foot Snout Barefoot Human leg
Cloud Sky Horse Plant Tree
Water Foot Snout Barefoot Human leg
 

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Instead of trimming for angles, you need a farrier that can read the hoof and trim to grow the hoof out properly. The shape of the hoof is being entirely misread, and needs to come down a lot between the heel and toe (quarters), to help it grow correctly. If you could find a good barefoot trimmer to come every 4 weeks, it would help a lot.
 

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Elle, 1997 Oldenburg mare
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I think a lot of farriers are afraid to take anything off the heels when they get low and underrun like this. But if they don't take anything off, the heels just keep growing crushed and forward.

This video is a great watch, for showing how heels can be taken back without losing much height at all.

 

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So many questions about what you wrote. I usually quote bits of posts to reply to, for clarity, but I think I'd be quoting your whole post & referring backwards & forwards to bits, so wouldn't be helpful... First, what does 'your heart horse' mean?

It's obvious you're putting a lot of effort & $$ into trying to get her recovered, but not knowing her age, previous injuries(except the tear) & how chronic they were, what treatment was given, hearing that she's been locked up so long... Sounds like you should be seeing if you can get her healthy & sound just being a horse first, before even thinking of using her for your riding aspirations. **I'm guessing tho, as it sounds like you care about her, that you've been advised by someone it's OK to ride her.

So, first & foremost, I'd not even contemplate riding, or lunging her until she is sound, unless on express (lameness specialist) vet's advice. I'd be keeping her turned out with other horses, in an environment she will be motivated(but not forced) to get lots of free exercise & taking her out for in hand walks. I'd also be doing a proper diet analysis and ensuring she is getting well balanced nutrition & healthy, 'low carb' diet, as diet & nutrition should not be underestimated in importance. If she's been overweight long term, I'd also assume she is 'insulin resistant' & suggest you look up Dr Kellon's ECIR horse website.

I don't know what a 'theraplate' is, Googled it & not much the wiser - guessing it's a vibration thing - but their main page, between telling me nothing & showing horrible pictures - including a laughable 'before & after' of a hoof - did not give me... good feelings about it. 'Red light therapy' IME is possibly helpful for minor issues, but never seen it help anything major or be of obvious benefit. So I'd find a top lameness vet & also use a chiropractic vet or other well qualified bodyworker, and find a hoof care practitioner who is experienced in successful rehab. *Not trying to say, with one pic & little info that your farrier is no good, but after so long, I'd at least want to have seen at least some improvement, or if not & the horse is still lame, for the farrier to 'admit defeat' & saying she needs something different/he doesn't know how to help her, rather than just 'plugging away'.

You said she was shod on her (worse?) foot before you got her? Do you know what that was supposedly for? I'm guessing she must have been significantly lame in that foot long term? You said you got xrays but nothing showed up - I sus it quite probably did, but the vet didn't recognise it(can you post them here?). Have you got other professional opinions on the rads or anything? You haven't said if the horse is lame just in the paddock or only when 'worked', whether only when turning, or... whatever? But it's clear her foot(feet) are weak & in an extremely bad way, so I'd at least be using padded hoof boots for hard/rough ground, if not some form of support/protection full time. Further, in order to begin healing/building strength in the 'underrun' feet - assuming they can be improved - I would NOT be considering conventional rigid peripheral loading 'shoes' that put more pressure on walls & provide no support. To improve, she will need extra support under the frog, and the heel walls relieved.

Can't say more than an 'educated guess' from just that pic angle, but it appears that the foot pictured is 'broken forward' in bone angle. That would mean the angle of P3 is too steep. I'm guessing that you're talking about dorsal wall angle, when you are telling the degrees - while if that's 45 degrees, it may well be too shallow(esp if the bone angle reflects that), and a bit steeper is generally more appropriate for most horses, it is totally erroneous to assume certain dorsal wall angles are better or worse, without far more info.
 
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