Wednesday 8 January 2020

A complete new hoof over 6 months

These are the feet of a horse who returned to Rockley last summer after being away for a year.  She had been kept barefoot throughout and had been in regular work but something wasn't quite right when she returned. Her toes had got very long and she no longer had the confident heel first landing she had left with. 
I was pretty confident her feet would improve and so it has proved, although it has taken 6 months to grow in a better foot and to grow out abscess damage (one she had while away, one soon after she returned).
As ever, the day 1 photos are at the top and the recent photos below. Here you can see how the balance of her foot has shifted so that she is no longer using her palmar hoof so effectively. As a result her heels and frog are weaker and she has some crazy bars and long hoof wall. 

Her toes had been trimmed, probably in an attempt to move her balance back, but as the palmar hoof was weak the trim just made matters worse. 
 She has not been trimmed at all since she came back and her foot is better balanced. its far from perfect but this is a horse with history so her feet have a  lot of compensations to perform. Many people would want to back up her toe but for the reasons I've outlined above, its much better to let the toe shorten once the palmar hoof is stronger.
This has always been her more problematic foot and this is the foot which developed the abscesses, probably due to poor balance and old internal damage. 

Again, the long toe and weak heels were a worrying sign but she still had just enough of a good landing to enable her to move around correctly on the tracks and on the roads so good movement was going to be the key to restoring hoof health. 
Six months on, you can see that her foot has a clear asymmetry, which we are not going to interfere with, as its enabled her to stay sound; she has also rebuilt muscle wastage on her right shoulder which means she is now weighting her front legs more evenly.

A nice reminder, if one were needed, that its never too late to allow a hoof to strengthen and rebuild - this is 22 year old horse who has, I hope, many more miles ahead of her.


Unknown said...

Hi Nic, so interesting to read this and see the photos. It would be so tempting to trim, especially those bars, really hard to resist. Just demonstrates that patience is so important and we need to curb our great need to ‘help’ all the time. Diana

Linzjd82 said...

So what did you do differently to improve the back of the foot to allow that heel first landing to return?

Nic Barker said...

As set out in the blog, Linz, no trimming (so back of the foot not over-stressed) but plenty of movement and stimulation from good surfaces.