Wednesday 8 June 2011

What happens when a horse has thin soles and poor hoof balance?

Zan has now been here for 3 months and he had, as his vet had identified, a combination of problems when he arrived - thin soles, poor medio-lateral balance and caudal hoof problems.
Although their rehab isn't complete, many horses are ready to go home from Rockley once they've been here for 12 weeks, but each horse is an individual and the right time for one isn't necessarily the right time for another.  I've talked to Zan's owner about him staying longer because he had a cocktail of problems with his hooves when he arrived, and his situation was so complex that he needs a bit more time - I am delighted that she's agreed, as Zan is one of the kindest horses you could ever hope to meet.
For starters, you can see that his hooves on day one weren't well balanced for him - he was twisting and overloading both front hooves laterally.  Today, they are far from perfect but he is beginning to be able to load more evenly, though we still have a way to go before his medio-lateral balance is correct.
Putting Wiola's lines onto the photos, you can see that his LF has improved more than his RF - and not surprisingly his RF is the foot with the biggest problems. 
Here is his RF on the day he arrived...
and here is the same foot today. 
The single thing which will make the most difference to Zan's comfort and competence will be more robust soles and a hoof capsule which more effectively protects his coffin bone.   The new angle of growth is a good indicator that these changes are beginning to happen, and putting lines on again, look what a difference it will make once the new hoof is fully grown in.
PS: For the Texans - its 8 degrees C and torrential rain here at the moment - hence Zan having a rug on again, just as he did in March(!)...He's had it off in the meantime but was feeling the cold yesterday. 


jenj said...

Nic, can you explain how you're choosing to position the red lines on the front legs? How do you know where to start them from at the top of the leg?

I'm curious because I want to try the same thing with pictures of my horses, but I honestly don't know where to draw the lines.

Nic Barker said...

Jen, I have to admit its not like markers for gait analysis, although I am trying to be consistent across the comparison photos. So for the vertical lines, I tried to replicate starting at the mid point of each leg above the knee and taking it straight (like a plumb line) down to ground level.

For the hoof angles, I just take a line parallel to the angle of new growth - you normally need a few weeks of growth for this to be clear enough for drawing lines.

Unknown said...

Hello - I thought I would add some details about "my" lines ;))
For front legs - I would always go for the middle of the knee joint (or carpus) so the lines bisect the carpus joint, cannon bone and fetlock joints. I guess it could also be done from the forearm to see whether the carpus joints are positioned centrally?

His feet are changing so much - looking forwards to follow the progress!

cptrayes said...

I actually think, in spite of that being the biggest hoof angle change that I have ever seen, that you could have drawn that last line even steeper with complete justification!]

What a result, no wonder the poor horse was unsound.