Thursday, October 18, 2012

Hoof Musings

Since Salem gets his hooves trimmed tomorrow, I figured maybe I should post the pics from his last trim (well, several days after his last trim). He has a lot of things going on with his hooves right now, the best of which is the growing-out of his abscess hole.

Left front

Left front solar

What was left of the abscess cavity

Left hind

Right front

Right hind--the current problem child

These photos were all taken this week:

This is the problem with his hinds--he toes way out, which places most of 
his weight on the lateral walls of his hooves. Obviously, this wears the lateral
walls more, which means the medial walls are higher. Also means the medial heel bulbs
are smaller and less developed. Basically, lots of imbalance.

Here, you can see how the frog has moved towards the medial wall

His right hind medial heel has been confusing me lately--part of the heel sort of sloughed away,
so it's almost like the collateral groove goes all the way to the heel bulb.
The frog has also moved so far medially that it's over the collateral groove

You can really see here how much higher the medial wall is

For comparison, here are some older pictures of the same hoof:

Summer 2011

Winter (Jan/Feb) 2012

Obviously, I will talk to Candy tomorrow during Salem's trim and see what she thinks is going on with this hoof and whether or not we need to change something about our game plan. But I also like to get lots of different perspectives, so I would appreciate any thoughts/comments/ideas that you all might have. Do you think this imbalance needs to be addressed, and if so, how? Or should I take a Rockley approach and let it be? I've been on the fence about this one.

In other news, I finally found a mostly-okay footing area at the new place, so I've slowly started putting Salem back to work. We're just doing some walk/trot longeing and groundwork for now, in an attempt to get his muscles back in shape and hopefully help his hooves out as well. I *will* be riding this handsome boy sometime soon (fingers crossed)!


Anonymous said...

If he's sound, and moving well, it may well be (a la Rockley) that his hind feet are shaped to compensate for the limbs above. It may be that nothing's wrong at all with the shape of those feet, that in fact they're right for him, and messing with them in the interests of an ideal of what a hoof "should" look like might well make them less useful to him and even result in unsoundness.

Your call.

Alana said...

Hmmm, very interesting. It would be interesting to see what would happen if you trimmed it to look 'normal' and then chart his movement. Then compare, but that isn't really a possibility. I *think* I am going to agree with Kate and say that as long as he is sound, he is growing the foot he needs to. I know he was off a little when you got him back, is he moving better as his foot morphs? If he is, that would be the super obvious easy answer. Of course, nothing is ever easy with horses though.

eventer79 said...

I just glanced in my horsey bible and had a look on the short section on sheared heels (what he is suffering). B/c he has already pushed one heel higher than the other, it is already "advanced." The notes say that if left unaddressed, the hoof will be prone to quarter cracks and, being unbalanced, will put uneven strain on lower leg joints and can lead to development of sidebone/ringbone.

My disclaimer: I am not a farrier or vet. I just read a really good book written by an awesome vet that is full of good science (w/ references, swoon!).

But I would definitely look into it and do some consulting.

Kristen Eleni Shellenbarger said...

I think the answer is so complex! Salem HAS back issues not related to hoof issues, correct? So I lean towards that he may know best and this is what keeps him comfortable. IF trimmer has been trimming in a textbook balance way, and it's still growing like that; then perhaps it's because he really, really needs/wants it that way to help with support higher up. IT's tricky, I know. All we can do has owners is test different theories and see how at the end of the day, our horse's comfort is. It'll be interesting to see how it develops!
Oh, and YAY for riding!!!!!!! xo

Frizzle said...

Kate and Alana, that is where I'm leaning. Salem's hooves have *always* been like this to some extent, and I strongly suspect it's because of his wonky confo. Alana, Salem is MUCH more sound than he was when he came down here--still not what I would call 100%, but way better.

Eventer, it's not that he has pushed one heel up--it's that he wears one more. The medial is higher because he doesn't wear it as much because he places less weight on it. And he has had this imbalance to some degree or another (in both hind feet) since I've known him and cracks have never been a problem. I think the difference is that his imbalance is because of his confo. But that's just an educated guess.

Kristen, YES, Salem has some hind-end issues not related to his hooves. And of course hooves often compensate for issues higher up, so I think you're definitely onto something there. Salem was just trimmed yesterday, and the walls were evened out, so we'll see how Salem wears his hooves over the next few weeks. And, yeah, totally excited about riding!!

THANK YOU, everyone, for your thoughts! I very much appreciate them. :-)

eventer79 said...

Ohh, I see, I guess I thought it looked like one heel is higher than the other. Hmmmm, I think if the heels were still even and there weren't bony changes, I would let it be then.

Frizzle said...

Hooves are WAY too complex and confusing!! I read and study and observe and listen and learn and read, etc. and still my hoof knowledge is a tiny little drop in the ocean. I will be learning until the day I die.

Val said...

Hi Frizzle,

I love hoof posts. Thanks for sharing the pictures and insights about your beautiful Salem.

I only trim my own horse, so I am no expert on pathologies, but I think you hit the nail on the head. If his movement is causing the "imbalance", then I would leave the hooves the way they are. If you wanted to try and address the imbalance, maybe working from a biomechanics angle may be safer for his soundness. I think that a fair number of horses toe out with their hinds at least a little, but maybe exercises that targeted strength and flexibility in his hindend might help (if he even needs help, that is). You could look for resulting changes in his feet and take it from there. :)

Thanks for joining my blog!


Frizzle said...

Hi Val,
I do think that fixing his issues higher up will help his hooves. My vet thinks Salem looks fine, but to me there is something NQR in his hind-end. I'm thinking hocks and/or stifles and/or SI. Lol. This has been ongoing and I haven't ridden him since he came down here from Chicago a year and a half ago. I wish I had the money to send him for a bone scan and other fancy diagnostics, but I can't afford it at the moment. I will get there eventually! :-) In the meantime, I do the best I can. He will hopefully be getting a chirp/acupuncture session soon and maybe getting started on Pentosan, so we'll see what we have then.
Thank you for your comments! :-)

achieve1dream said...

Wow I never realized he toed out so bad! There is no way to fix the toeing out I don't think so I'd lean toward leaving them alone too. So long as he's getting trimmed so it can't get totally out of control I wouldn't worry about it.