Friday, 8 October 2010

Rose update

Time for an update about Rose, who as you can see is growing in a new hoof at a much better angle on both front feet.  The new growth is not only at a steeper angle, indicating a stronger, better connected hoof capsule, but it is also better quality - dense, shiny and without event lines.  

 LF today
LF on arrival
 What you can't see from these photos though is that on her RF she has very poor medio-lateral balance which has forced her to load her foot in an unbalanced way, landing clearly on the medial side.   

 Rose's RF today
RF on arrival

 Along with most horses, she was landing toe first on arrival but although she now lands consistently heel first on the LF, the RF has been proving more stubborn, because the medio-lateral imbalance was also a problem on that foot.

Its partly a question of time and patience, because the new hoof capsule she is growing is at a much more supportive angle and should resolve the imbalance, but for the moment, Rose is having to make do with only having about a third of a good hoof capsule, poor darling.


jenj said...

Nic, it seems like so many of the horses that come in to your place have hoof angles that are really at odds with where their hoof wants to be. Rose is a perfect example - the difference in the angle between the "old" hoof and the "new" hoof is just amazing (and more than a little scary!)

But... how do hooves get like that in the first place? I realize you're seeing a select group of horses with very serious issues, but do most shod horses' feet look like this, in terms of the discrepancy in angles? If you put a shoe on a barefoot horse with "correct" angles, do you have any idea how long it would take for the angles to revert back to being all off?

Nic Barker said...

You're right that its certainly something we see a lot here. I suspect the angles change dramatically because there are several things which happen at once when horses come here.

Firstly their shoes come off and the horses go onto the tracks, which is a massive change in how the hoof loads and an increase in stimulation.

Secondly, horses go onto a low sugar, high fibre diet with an extremely good mineral balance.

Thirdly, their hooves stop landing toe first and start landing heel first, so a big biomechanical change.

I don't know for sure why the shod hooves become so problematic - its certainly not all shod horses who have poor angles, though many do -but one contributory factor must be that over a 4-6 week shoeing cycle, the shoes encourage the hoof to migrate forward even if the hoof is perfectly balanced on the day it is shod.