Friday, 3 August 2012

Medio-lateral balance - where to look?

I seem to post a lot about medio-lateral balance, probably because (second only to a toe first landing) its a massively common problem among horses who come here.

Incorrect medio-lateral balance stresses the collateral ligaments and makes it much more difficult for horses to cope with uneven ground.

You can see the problem on x-ray and on MRI but there are also ways to check balance from the outside of the hoof. 
Its logical if you think about it - its best for the hoof (in front - there are different rules for hind feet!) to land so that both sides load evenly. The key areas of the hoof which reflect how the foot lands are the frog and digital cushion and its here that you need to look. The hoof above was overloading laterally when the horse arrived - the lateral (RH side) is more developed than the medial (LH) side.
Here is the same foot more recently. Its not perfect but the 2 halves are much more symmetrical.

For me, there are 2 places where hooves SHOULD be symmetrical and thats from this view and from the solar view. If you've got that then you are probably heading towards even loading and decent medio-lateral balance.

We have a new arrival who is a fascinating demonstration of this - and it will be exciting to see whether, and how, his feet start to change. More on him soon :-)


amandap said...

Thanks very much for this Nic.
Hoof balance can be so confusing.

Anonymous said...

Hi Nic

This is facinating.. could you tell me is it just over time that the balance and loading improves with correct exercise and diet or are there other specific things that need to be done to help correct this?