Saturday, 23 April 2011

Zan - update on a very flat-footed horse

Zan is not only terribly handsome, he is also one of the kindest horses you could ever wish to meet.   Very sensibly, he spends lots of time on the pea gravel because he arrived with extremely flat feet. 
It seems likely that he also had some medio-lateral balance problems, because it looked - rather like Oscar - as if his feet were overloading laterally in his shoes.  If you look at his joints, his stance is improving but - also like Oscar - its likely that his hooves will appear asymmetric from the dorsal view. 
Zan has another problem - very thin soles and flat feet - so thin that if you pushed them with a thumb, they flexed, which is never a good sign.   Often, the assumption is that horses who have flat feet are stuck with them.  In fact, flat feet and thin soles are usually caused by a combination of dietary and loading problems and - like most aspects of a horse's hooves - they can be improved.
You can see how under-run his feet are and also how little depth there is.   There is a 6 week gap between the photos and you can see from the position of the nail holes (which are the chipped areas in the lower photo) how much growth there has been.  
Zan's growth at the moment is slower than some horses because his feet are too weak at the moment to be able to work him as much as I would like.  The good news though is that the new growth is at a much better angle.   This is important because it will help in 2 key areas - firstly it will bring his toe back and give him more caudal support at the heel; secondly it will mean that once his new hoof capsule has grown in, his pedal bone will be suspended much higher within the hoof.
A higher pedal bone means his feet will be less flat, have thicker soles and he will be much more comfortable and capable on tough surfaces.
From the sole shots you can see that his caudal hoof is becoming stronger and the proportions of the foot are more normal.  There is very little concavity, however, and its still a very weak, shallow foot - for the moment, anyway!

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