I've posted before on the blog about strange looking hooves and the importance of judging hooves by performance, not appearance. Its something I am passionate about because - for many horses - it can mean the difference between soundness and lameness.
Its all too easy for some well-intentioned trimmer, farrier or owner to insist on hooves conforming to the shape or model of a "normal" hoof but for some horses its downright damaging to interfere in the support they are trying to create for themselves.
The purpose of this blog is to try and explain a bit more about bizarre-looking hooves in the hope that - if you encounter any - you might stop and consider the reasons for them rather than just wanting to make them look "normal" :-)
Regular blog readers will know that this is Dexter, a thoroughbred ex-racehorse who has been barefoot since 2008. Since his shoes came off he has hunted, evented, competed in showjumping and dressage and covered thousands of miles over all sorts of terrain.
His feet are very, very ugly BUT they function extremely well. The hoof above is the most extreme but it is perfectly self-trimming and always maintains this medial wall deviation.
If this were normal flare it would chip on the roads or when he crosses uneven, stony ground...but it doesn't. Its possible - even probable - that most farriers and trimmers would remove this wall deviation and make his feet look more acceptable.
But imagine what would happen to his limb if the deviation were taken away.
I hope you can see from this angle that the wall deviation is doing an effective job of providing extra support and that if it weren't there, he would have a tendency to collapse medially. With the wall deviation he is sound, happy and capable of high levels of performance barefoot.
More on this theme over the next few days :-)