Friday, 17 February 2012

More on the puzzling hoof

Several of you have been asking for the sole shots on the puzzling hoof.  I first posted about it here, then did a follow-up post here but many of the comments asked - quite rightly - where on earth were the sole shots?!?!?!?
You ask, you get - here is the medial deviation on that LF which looks so mad from the top.  TBH, I hung on with the sole shots because I wanted not just to post the photos but footage as well, and its been so busy that took a few days!

The biggest problem  - for most people - with a hoof that looks like this is reconciling how it looks with how it works.
My ethos over the last few years has been to respect movement above appearance - if a horse is sounder with an odd-looking foot - well, that's fine by me.  And in fact, once I adopted this approach I started to see why horses grew the deviations they did and suddenly the "odd" appearances made sense.

With this horse, you need to be aware that the other 3 hooves are self-trimming and look (relatively!) normal.  For me, that's a red flag that there is something unusual about the limb which has the deviated hoof capsule.   Kudos to those blog readers who had already suspected that the deviation was due to a shoulder injury :-)

Here is the footage of this horse on a circle.  Consistent work is essential for him because, as you can see, he has a weak caudal hoof which requires regular work to maintain its health.  His hoof isn't ideal, his shoulder injury isn't ideal but sometimes we have to work with what we've got.


Maria said...

Thank you for all the info, so useful!

Nic Barker said...

No problem, Maria :-)

jenj said...

I know, I just KNOW, that any trimmer would work to take that flare down. And to my (very uneducated) eye, it looks like it should go, too - it's a little hard to see, but I think there are slightly stretched laminae there? Ditto on the smaller flare on the other side of the hoof. Certainly it doesn't have the nice tight line that it does at the toe.

I think that most of use are used to seeing hooves with a certain shape. Deviations to that shape should be "fixed". Making sure that the hoof functions at its peak, regardless of how it looks, is something altogether new - and often not easy to do in practice!

Nic Barker said...

Yes, I'd agree, Jen - the connection is a bit stretched and in the past I'd have whacked it off too. I would much prefer it if his hoof was pretty BUT in view of everything else and how sound he is at the moment, I don't dare interfere...(!)

jenj said...

Oh gosh, I didn't mean to suggest you SHOULD trim it off, since he's clearly going well and has grown it for a reason, plus his other feet are all self-trimming. But I bet his owner must have to keep hoof-care-practitioners off with a pitchfork!

Nic Barker said...

LOL - I know what you mean :-)

Alibear30 said...

So for us newbies , the filer bit that makes up the flare is streched laminae? I wondered what par of the hoof it was that was making the deviation possible.

Nic Barker said...

That's a really good question, Alibear. I am guessing, like you, that its something akin to the lamellar wedge you see at the toe on laminitic hooves but I may be completely wrong.

So far as I know, there aren't any dissections available of these types of hooves and without that you'd be hard pushed to know exactly what is going on internally.

Deered said...

The scientist in me is starting to try to break out - That is a fascinating hoof, I hope the horse has a long and happy life, but it would be awesome to have the 'mystery foot' and leg necropised (sp)if the horse is still growing the hoof that way at ToD. I always believe you can learn more from the well functioning oddities, than fromt eh 'normal' population!

BruceA said...

It will be very interesting to see if that hoof changes shape as the shoulder injury heals over time.

My lad Linkwood has a slightly similar deviation on the medial aspect of his hind right - as his spavin gets better it fades away and in the winter when it's cold and all arthritic things get worse, it reappears.

Trimmers need to really understand why deviation is there before touching it.

Funny to say such a daft thing, but that hoof just looks right on the leg.

Nic Barker said...

I know what you mean, Bruce :-)

Interestingly (but nor surprisingly, perhaps!) I think the deviation reduces with work - so the more work he does and the fitter and stronger he is, the less extreme the deviation. Whether it will ever completely disappear, I don't know, but you'll be the first to know :-)

Good point about trimmers, and I am speaking to several who are already very aware of this type of issue - the word is spreading, which can only be good for the horses.