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GreyDrakkon

Lopsided Hoof

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So I'm leasing a mare who's been barefoot all her life (as far as I know) and when I started riding her, she had some pretty badly contracted heels which were underslung, with overgrown hoof wall and some really badly folded over bars.  Every now and again she would trip (in a fairly flat arena!) and she paddles in the front, just like her mother.  Now, whether they paddle because they both happen to have the same build, or the same kind of feet, I don't know.  What  I do know is that I've been taking a rasp (and more recently a hoof knife) to  their feet (Goblin far more often because I ride her) and the tripping as well as the paddling have improved.  (I'm sure some of that is due to building up muscle though)  In any case, I know the front feet are thrushy even though they have varied terrain in their paddock including high ground that's pretty dry.  I've been treating for thrush in the past week and I'm starting to see some improvement already so I'll keep at that, and I figure getting the heels down and bringing the frog down to give it a chance to contact the ground has been helping with that.  The super deep overgrown bars were NOT helping either, since it allowed crud to pack tight in there with no chance of getting out.  Anyways, here's some pictures, let me know if you need better ones for assessment.  

 

The left fore is the hoof that concerns me the most, it's probably related that until very recently Goblin would NOT pick up the left lead, no matter how strongly I set her up for it.  (it doesn't help that I'm a re-rider after quite a few years off) So an experienced rider could make her pick up the left, but only with a LOT of coaxing.  I'm sure it's a spiral of her avoiding going on that lead, which made her feel unbalanced when on that lead, so she'd avoid it even more, etc.  In any case, I'm kind of stymied by just how weird this foot is, I'm a lot happier with the bars now, but the inside of the hoof looks super narrow compared to the outside of the hoof, which has that funky thing going on.  Is that grown out flare?  An old abscess?  Last year in the fall she came up lame if I remember right, that might have had something to do with it.  

GoblinLeftFront11_23.thumb.jpg.c13e667128878606fe74946dc06d0ab1.jpg

 

Right fore is better than the left, but still not 100%.  Again, those bars used to be wayyyy up at the tip of the frog, so I'm actually pretty happy with how her feet look even though I'm sure everyone here will see a hot mess.

GoblinRightFront11_23.thumb.jpg.eb32067019a982ac8234480e5e283be7.jpg

 

Here's the left hind, both of her hinds are WAY better than her fores, but if you see anything off please let me know!  What I see is that the inside is again, narrower than the outside edge of the hoof.  

GoblinLeftHind11_23.thumb.jpg.fbb42397900f25c8182d6dfa45e9300c.jpg

And here's her right hind, which I'm happiest with.

GoblinRightHind11_23.thumb.jpg.9bdbf6e8f975f2b902f7275df40c788f.jpg

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I'm sure no expert. You need Missy Claire to draw lines on your pictures to show you how to trim these feet. But what I think is the bars have spread over the sole and all the way around the hoof. The bars should slope down from the heel and end halfway to the tip of the frog. All that sole from the frog to the hoof wall should be concave. I think the bars over grew like that to protect the thrushy frog. I would keep doing what you're doing and see if all that false sole will let loose on its own with exercise  and a healthier, more developed frog. But you really need Missy's advice. Send her a PM.

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Thanks, and yes a fair bit of retained sole has been coming out over the past month.  I ride her 3x a week and usually take the rasp/knife to her for just a few swipes on each foot, letting her slowly adjust to her feet coming back to different angles than what they've been at.  

So do you think that where the bars were at messed with her foot all this time, and now that they're trimmed back that her hoof will grow out to a better shape?  

I'll definitely give Missy a PM, I've read up on her other posts and was pretty impressed with her eye.  

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I think it will start to come out on its own as her frog heals. When it gets crumbly, you know it's ready to be trimmed out.  Her hooves won't spread out until it's gone. Keep riding as much as you can. Exercise grows better hoof. What is your ground like? Is it hard and dry or soft?

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I ride mostly in the sand arena, her hooves are always easy to pick out at the end of riding there.  The paddock has a large dry area that tends to be heavy on the clay side, mixed with manure of course.  :/ That leads to nasty stuff packed in tight, which was easy to happen with those deep grooves by the frogs.  

Edited by GreyDrakkon

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If you had a place you could put pea gravel that she woud stand in, like around a water trough or where she's fed, that would help her lose some of  the false sole.

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Hey. Hi Jubal! I'm here. Firstly, I see a nice hoof a straight run, despite the paddling and a nice trim and someone that is doing their homework, which is really nice to see. Keep up with the thrush treatments, firstly. The central sulcis should be a mere thumbprint depression sitting on top of the frog, not a crack that runs thru the body of the frog and defining the the two different heel bulbs. The back of the hoof from the hairline down should be solid mass with the heel bulbs built into that mass. Cracks that harbor thrush have a leading edge of infection that is down at the bottom of that crack. As it heals, it heals from the bottom up with that crack getting shallower as it goes. So there is a way to go on that war and the front line is at the bottom of that crack, any crack. I also have a tool box for different methods of fighting thrush as well. In dry conditions, I soak in vinegar/water, borax/water. Always not soaking enough to generally soften the hoof and in your case, always thinking about the sand in that arena. In wet conditions, its No Thrush, which even works for rain rot on skin and go to stalling on shavings for a few hours clean and dry/then medicating and turning out. My cleaning tools are a long handled kitchen brush, tooth brushes and even Q-Tips, in order to get clean down to bottom of any cracks. You can even medicate cotton balls and stuff them into the cracks while out on pasture and have them working for you. When they start to fall out, then you're getting somewhere. The best defense against thrush is air and getting spanking clean and a trim that lets that air in.  As for the sand. It has its advantages and disadvantages. Its abrasive and congesting but will toughen. The better surface would be walking on asphalt, so if you have such a driveway, warming up on it for 15 minutes before heading to the arena, would be good. As I advise you, I'm always going to thinking of that sand. I like your trim and you are doing great. Obeying the sole and tweaking often is the way to go, which avoids big changes that can sore. These are nice hooves, with no great pathology. All the parts and pieces are pretty much where they belong and your trim obeys the sole. You are doing fine, so keep doing what you're doing.  What I'm going to show you, is to see shape, what it means and why its there and how to see it. Give me some time....I'l be back.

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(Top left...pic 1, Top right...pic 2, Bottom left..pic 3, Bottom right...pic 4) This is "what is" to show you what you are looking at. The reason that I say sand is congesting, is because it melds things together and makes it harder to see things. Coming in from pasture, soaking for thrush, then looking/easier trimming will help, if not enough, then take pics, go to the computer and take all the time you need to see and form a plan. Pic 1...the darker band below the coronary band is new/better/well connected growth coming down. Keep doing what you are doing with the tweaking and when it reaches the ground, you will have arrived. The lines on the hoof wall are signs of imbalance, how its jamming all the way up to soft tissue. It's the inside that is high. (note the profile of the hoof wall in pic 3. This causes discomfort, horse avoids, weights the outside which is being jammed up, hence the hoof wall lines on the lateral side. Note how the width of sole is narrower on the lateral side of the frog and flared on the inside. What I call the jam and splat effect. Medial/lateral imbalance. The bevel is also a 90 degree and inconsistent going around the hoof. The 90 leaves a sharp edge on the ground, which still pulls, thins the wall at the toe where torque is the greatest and when the hoof rolls over it, (breakover) the support is just gone. A 45 applied from the bottom of the hoof sees the horse breaking over ON that bevel, that pushes the toe back to where it belongs with every step and works for you in movement, the breakover flows better, is smoother, the width of the wall remains intact for full protection and improves the concert of all 4 feet. Pic 3...If you hold the hoof from the front of the pastern, let it hang and lean forward for this same view, what you get is the run of bone and how the hoof is balanced to that run. You get the truth on what balance means to the horse and how its being delivered to the ground by that run of bone that the hoof must be a perfect extension of. You should get a straight line from ergot, thru middle of frog, to 12 o'clock at the toe. You can see by the turn in that line, that imbalance begins at the heels. Note the profile of the hoof wall itself, how it creeps higher on the right side. Note how the frog is not pointing to 12, that its not on an even keel, but banking like an airplane on a turn to the left. So, the run of the frog should be straight from toe to ergot, the balance lines crossing should be perfectly perpendicular (high sides on those lines have dots) These are all symptoms of imbalance.  The don'ts? Don't touch the frog. You need every bit of callous for that sand, only flaps, which you have none of. Don't touch the sole. Concavity has to be earned and will get its own ducks in order.  All the parts and pieces work together like pages in a book. The sole is the binding of that book that keeps the story organized and tells you the most. You trim it, you are ripping pages out of the book, flying blind and increasing the risk for soreness. So don't touch, read it and know it, earn it and obey it. The sole tells you what the hoof wants and obeying it puts the balance right in line, no worries. This is what is, I will continue to work on the pics, takes time, gotta do chores, will be back.

 

image.jpeg

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Ok, you're gonna have to study this one. First I defined the heel height which the sand has webbed over with the frog and hidden it from you, so you could see the heel pillar roots and how they are now both the same height. I've left the height of the left one alone, but re-shaped it as it goes around and leaves the heel. The right one shows a thin curved red line of your old heel and blue lines showing the direction of the rasp strokes. Reverse the rasp in your hand and pull straight back towards yourself, rotating the rasp outward as you go forward. This expands the heel area and gives a strong back shape to the heels. Notice how the old heel goes up and up. As you are rotating and going around, stay level with the heel pillar height and don't allow this. This is how you got higher on this side. Just stay level and keep following the sole line. The heel should take on the shape of my lines instead. The center line shows where the run of the frog should be to 12 o'clock. Put these two lines together (heel balance line and sole line) and imagine that the heel balance line is the horizon on water and that the inner line (sole line) going around the hoof is the perfect sunset on that horizon. That's balance. The green represents 2 things in this view. One is how much it needs to be lowered shown by the thin red lines and the other is flare. Because this pic is not right behind the middle of the hoof and out of balance it looks wonky, but just focus on the sole line, where it is and bring everything down level with it. You should be able to close your eyes, run your thumb up off the sole, feel a direction change that's flat to ground and flat/even...straight on out from there. That's obeying the sole. Then put the bevel on. From 10-2 o'clock at the toe, the bevel should leave the inner wall intact and level with the sole, beveling at a 45 degrees on out. Past 10 and 2, on the sides, the leading edge of the bevel should fade out to only take the outer half of the wall away in bevel. On the left side, the wall is thin, so basically, just tweaking the outside corner off it. So first find your heel balance line and the sole line. Balance and shape the heels, follow the sole and get everything level with the sole line. The green shows where its high and how much. Then apply the bevel. Now the bars. The bar ramps should merge from the sole half way back on the frog and meet the heel pillars dead on. See their shape. Their surface is also flat to ground (white) and actually look like ramps. The thin red lines show how much they need to come down from the existing. The ramps need to be established. The height of the material in front of the ramps, needs to lead in nicely to the ramps, but is a sensitive place, so slivers done gradually over a week.  The material outside of the bars, should be slivered gently to meld their heights together, with the white contour lines in mind. Anytime your inner voice says, quit/enough, then do so. The continued thrush care will help a lot. Just come back in a few days and see how much things have opened up, filled in with the frog, sole that's been exfoliated and how much less you actually have to do. By rights, which you can't see, is that I am probably lowering the right side of the hoof about 1/4" at its worst. But check on this as you go....hang the foot, lean forward, see the big blue dots and check to see if they are balanced with each other across the correct run of the frog. . That's balance too.The frog will quickly get its own ducks in order with this change. This is a correcting trim, so go slow and look, look look. I don't think that there will be any rasping from the top necessary at this point. Preserve the wall width you have and have faith in the bevel to hold the fort in the meantime.  Hope this helps...

222222.jpg

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Wow! The bar on the left....its a bar block that has spawned 3 blocky babies on the outside of it. Serious discomfort. When the material in front of where the bar ramp begins, does not lead into it nicely and is no longer supported by the ramp itself, its a jam straight into the corium. See the black that I've removed and where. It's still not a perfect sunset and is going to have to be a work in progress. Know this foot well for the next couple of trims.

LR.jpg

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Thanks so much for the input, both of you!  

Each time I ride her she's led over a gravel driveway, every now and again I do ride her on it but she takes an "ouch" step every now and again so I was avoiding doing that too much, plus I only ride outside the arena if I'm riding with someone, which isn't often.  

 

I don't own the property (or the horse, for that matter, I'm lucky in that they let me mess with her feet) but I'll encourage getting pea gravel around the waterer, she's always good about going for a big drink after each ride, and since it's under shelter it should last a good while before getting swept away.  

 

I'll re-read all of the posts a few times before I get to her feet again, since daylight is short and I'm stuck at work until dusk with the holiday rush.  :/  Might not be until Sunday that I can mess with them again, although I did treat them for thrush again the last couple times I was out.  

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Ok let me go over what I've absorbed so far:

1.Keep treating thrush

2. Leave frogs alone aside from treating for thrush (was pretty much doing that.  Farrier was the one who cleaned up the frogs aside from the left front, which he must have seen needed to be left alone since it's the most shriveled) 

3. Put a better more consistent bevel on each hoof, making sure it's 45 degrees from 10 to 2 (completely my bad, but easy enough to improve on)

4. Get heels an even height (Not sure how much of that is me and how much of that is where Goblin's feet started from.  I've been trying to rasp a few times more on the sides towards her belly since I know it's a lot easier to go too lightly there, but at the same time Goblin used to be BAD about picking up and holding up her feet.  She's improved a ton since I started regularly touching up her feet though, so I should now concentrate on LOOKING first and then going after it)  

5.  Keep knocking the bars back to where they should be (this is the part that I have the most problems with, since her bars were REALLY bad.  It was only a few weeks ago that I managed to finally find where the bars had folded over and trapped a line of dirt under them.  Those deep ramps leading down to the frog bother me a lot but I'm not sure how to get rid of them aside from scraping away a bit of the bar each time I mess with her feet.  I figure overgrown bars are a bit like an ingrown toenail, REALLY painful if left to jam into everything but also really painful to just yank the whole thing out!)

 

Still haven't gotten out to the barn, work has been crazy but I'm riding her in a clinic/lesson tomorrow, and Sunday I should be able to get a good look at her feet again.

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