Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Hoof balance - Flynn's take on the subject

There is no better expert than a horse when it comes to hoof balance and they are by far the best instructors as well.  So here is a quick tutorial from Flynn the Second about the hooves he wants for Christmas...

This is a photo I took a couple of days ago.  The hoof always gives you a lot of clues about the balance it is trying to achieve but one of the most obvious is the band of new growth at the top of a healthy hoof.  Flynn has been here for just over 10 weeks and there is lots of good growth visible. 
The new growth makes it easier to see the balanced hoof Flyn  is trying to grow and putting lines on the photo gives a clue as to the imbalances that have occurred in the past.  If you look carefully, you can see that the new hoof growth won't be perfectly symmetrical and will have a shallower angle on the medial side, which is quite common especially in horses who've had past lameness issues. 
Looking at this photo from September, you can see that his long toe and under-run heel were contributing to his toe first landing and therefore stressing his DDFT and contributing to his lameness. 
This is the same foot at 10 weeks - a completely different profile and a completely different way of loading.  The heel and caudal hoof are going the right way although there is still lots of work to do. 
The sole shot of the RF - again comparing when he arrived in September with today.  On arrival his hoof didn't look too bad but if you compare the proportions of his frog, toe and heel the development is obvious.  Don't ignore the bars, either - in the first photo they are longer and provide stability to a weak frog and sole.  Now, they are much shorter because the foot is stronger. 
Hoof balance is not about the perfect looking hoof, its not about set angles, its not about making a hoof fit into a mould or even my preconceived idea of what it should look like.  

Its about one thing only - the most supportive, well developed, robust and effective hoof for the horse. 

And guess what?  They normally know exactly what they need to do. 

No comments: