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Anatomy of and Recovery Pathway for Foundered Hooves
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AdamTill
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 Posted: Sun Jan 13th, 2008 08:36 pm
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Hi Dr. Deb,

I was hoping you'd be able to help me out with some anatomy issues that have been bothering me for a couple of years now (forgot to bring this up at the dissection class I attended). I've talked with every vet and farrier that would listen, and am still a bit stuck (I've also read every farriery textbook and Inner Horseman article that I could).

I purchased my horse back in January of 2006 knowing that he was a sinking founder (lame on sand), despite the fact that the attending vet wasn't willing to call it that. He seems very happy now, but I'm curious whether I'm understanding what's actually happened within his hooves.



The xrays above and below are all of him, BTW, with dates marked as appropriate. As a reference point I've also added a marked photo below of a cutaway hoof specimen from a horse that I was told was healthy until it died in a fencing accident.

Key as I've intended it:

yellow: outer wall

red: epidermal lamenae (inner wall would be between the inner yellow line and this red line)

purple: white/"yellow" line, or where it would be if dermal and epidermal lamenae were undisturbed.

My question is regarding the area that I've marked with blue hatching below, which I've come to associate with foundered hooves. As I understand things (and please correct me where I'm wrong), most farriers call this the "horn-lamellar zone", and it's a zone of displaced intertubular horn that forms between the dermal and epidermal lamenae following a founder incident. 



Is there any mechanism whereby the epidermal and dermal laminae could ever reattach in a horse like this? We've been succesful in growing out a lot of the distal decent in the hoof so far, but I'm not sure I understand how/if the hoof could ever remove the H/L zone. I understand the mechanism for growing out a rotated coffin bone assuming at least some of the lamellar integretity is left at the coronet, but I think even that is largely lost in a sinking founder, isn't it? (hence the H/L zone).

Any assistance would be greatly appreciated!

Adam

 

Pauline Moore
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 Posted: Fri Jan 18th, 2008 10:13 pm
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Hello Adam - Just been looking at your photo and X-ray images again but I'm still confused about the Jan 19, 2007 photos where you have cross-hatched in blue to denote an area of lamellar horn (also known as 'lamellar wedge' in this country).   On the upper photo, why have you drawn the red line to represent the position of the inner edge of the stratum medium so close to the exterior of the hoof wall, squeezed in between the blue hatching and the white X-ray marker on the hoof wall?  What makes you believe that the blue area is filled with lamellar horn/wedge with no lamellar attachment?

I have certainly seen horses with that amount of lamellar separation but they have been in great pain, barely able to stand - I remember one where I was able to put 3 fingers into the gap at the front toes where the lamellar wedge had been eaten away at ground level.  This horse did recover, grew two very nice new front feet with perfect lamellar attachment and after about 6 months was completely sound - until the next summer when exposure to high-sugar grasses once again made him lame with laminitis. 

Perhaps I am misreading your diagrams, Adam - but I think we will be able to figure this one out once we both have the same mental image in our minds.

Best wishes - Pauline

 

AdamTill
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 Posted: Sat Jan 19th, 2008 05:15 pm
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Hi Pauline,

Thanks for the reply, I appreciate it.

In my experience "lamellar wedge" and a "thickened horn-lamellar zone" seem to be synonymous, so I tend to think of "wedge" referring to a rotational situation and the other to a situation where the dorsal hoof wall and coffin bone are parallel but separated. But same difference, really, and the differentiation is mine and largely arbitrary.

Regarding the xray you mention, I'll admit that I drew that badly. That said here is the concavity photo I took that day:




...and you'll be able to see that I didn't exaggerate by much. The outer horn and inner wall are no more then about 1/8" thick, while the distance on the xray between the wall marker and the coffin bone is pushing 17mm thick. That leaves the coffin bone separated from the laminae on the inner wall by the better part of a half inch, which is the lamellar wedge portion. Drawn better, things would look like this:



I'm hoping that helps a bit.

On days where it's warm and rainy out, you can see the difference between the lamellar wedge and sole that's grown from the solar surface of the hoof. There's no particular difference in texture, hardness, or feel under the rasp, but on certain days there's a visual clue. This is an old photo of the right hind...same sort of internal arrangment of "wedge" but hoof wall parallel to the coffin bone.



I tend to set breakover just outside the inner edge of the wedge, as if there were a proper wall attachment present. That's proven to be right where Gene Ovincek would locate breakover per Natural Balance guidelines, and has allowed much of the wall flare to grow out.

Marshall was certainly in bad shape when I bought him...lame on sand in shoes, for example. But he's quite sound now (if out of shape!). It's been two years today (weirdly enough) since I started working on his feet, and I'm just trying to check myself. I've spoken with a number of farriers who recognize the situation, but all have been at a loss for what to do about it other then what I've been doing. The only other reference I found was in Dr Pollitt's "Colour Atlas of the Horse's Foot", where on pg 194 (bullet 438) he talks about resecting the wall and removing as much of the wedge as possible to allow a tighter wall connection to grow down, but doing this to a horse that now seems sound seems excessive.

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Pauline Moore
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 Posted: Sun Jan 20th, 2008 01:34 am
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Hello Adam - I think all is becoming clear.   It appears that no allowance has been made for the thickness of the soft tissue that lies between the inner edge of the stratum medium (zona alba or unpigmented hoof wall) and the surface of the bone.  There are 2 layers of tissue here which do not show on x-ray - the stratum internum or epidermal half of the lamellar interface, and the dermis or corium which is the other half that covers the surface of the bone.

I have a complete disassembled skeleton including the 4 hooves so this morning I used calipers to measure the thickness of the hoof wall and what remains of the epidermal lamina.  Like all soft tissue, these hooves have shrunk on drying out after the boiling process but the individual laminae can still be clearly seen and felt.  Even in this reduced size, the distance between outer hoof wall and edge of lamina is 10mm, even though the protruding hoof wall at the ground surface is no more than what you measured on Marshall, about 2mm.   The thickness of the corium and dermal laminae would have to be somewhat similar, so in the live horse where these tissues are moisture-filled-out to their full size they would easily fully occupy the space you have coloured blue, which means that Marshall now does have a good, tight lamellar connection.    I'm no expert on reading x-rays, but the one from Nov 15, 2007 certainly looks good.   Your specimen cut-away hoof is a great learning tool, but may not be accurately representative of how the foot was in life.

Wish I had your computer skills to post a photo of the hoof capsule I measured, but anyway there are much better images in the little book 'Building the Equine Hoof' (by David Hood, DVM PhD, Connie Swenson, PhD & Bruce Johnson, PhD published by Zinpro Corp, 10400 Viking Drive, Suite 240, Eden Prairie, MN 55344).  This inexpensive book has the most stunning photos of the internal microstructure of the foot and a very clear explanation of how each tissue type proliferates.

I note in the Jan 10, 2006 x-ray the distance between outer hoof wall and bone is greater at the top than at the sole level.  The reverse is usually true of founder.    Today's solar view photo from Jan 19, 2007, also shows he still had some heel underrun/crush at that time, but no doubt much improved from the year previous when you first got him.  Are you certain that he did founder, ie there was separation of the dermal and epidermal laminae?  Or is it possible that his underrun heels at that time were so bad that the bone had sunk down inside the capsule at the back, taking the laminar connection with it but separating the stratum internum from the startum medium at the top of the hoof?   It is very difficult to pull apart the laminar interface when there is no metabolic interference (refer to Equine Laminitis, C. Pollitt, p44 - in vitro takes 900g of pressure to pull apart healthy laminar explants).   However, the outer hoof wall  can pull away from the epidermal cells of the stratum internum when the hoof has been neglected for a long time.  You've probably seen this on those horses with a huge, flat solar surface to their feet where the hoof wall is bell shaped (partial connection to midway down hoof) or even conical from front view (no connection below coronary band).  These horses will be very sore without shoes and are not truly sound even with them, but because they are not hopping lame on one foot, are often still in work.

You also mention that the area you have thought of as lamellar horn does not have a different consistency when rasped.  I have found that lamellar wedge does have a different feel - it's softer and more rubbery than wall or sole, and tends to crumble under a rasp rather than shredding or flaking like normal wall or sole.  Without seeing it closely, can't be sure what you mean about a visual difference on rainy days, but if there is any remaining flare maybe you are seeing stretching of the caulk-like substance that plugs the gap between ground and laminar.

How are those heels now?  That Nov 15 image seems to indicate the palmar processes are OK - did your vet make any comment?  There's always a worry about demineralisation when feet get to be in a bad condition for a long time but it seems Marshall is one lucky horse who's been patiently brought back to full soundness with no permanent damage.

Hope some of this makes sense, Adam - please let me know if I'm way off the mark.

Best wishes - Pauline

 

 

AdamTill
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 Posted: Mon Jan 21st, 2008 05:37 am
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Hi Pauline - thanks again for continuing the discussion...I'll try to address your questions as best I can by doing some snipping (and yes, all makes good sense thanks much). Dr. Deb - this will be image heavy, but all the files are on my personal server so I hope that's okay.

>It appears that no allowance has been made for the thickness of the soft tissue that lies between the inner edge of the stratum medium (zona alba or unpigmented hoof wall) and the surface of the bone.  There are 2 layers of tissue here which do not show on x-ray...
Even in this reduced size, the distance between outer hoof wall and edge of lamina is 10mm

Thanks tons for making those measurements, and your description of the layers. Do you know that the horse that you have the bones from was laminitis free?

Also, regarding measurements Dr. Pollitt writes in "Colour Atlas" on pg 187 that:
"If the distance between the marker on the dosal wall and the dorsal surface of the distal phalanx exceeds 15-17mm this is early, valuable evidence that laminitis has occurred".

I don't know how that statement factors in relative hoof size, but it doesn't fill me with good feelings. The front hooves have this sort of separation, as do the backs (here's a hind, for example):


I don't remember when the wet hoof photo was taken (I have them bi-weekly since '06), but by placing it next to a dry photo from about the same time you can see what I mean about the difference in appearance of the wedge/white line/whatever. By using the green line to approximate where the coffin bone is sitting, you can hopefully see where I'm coming to think that the light blue line represents the inner edge of the white line (or the approximate edge of the true sole plane). If the dark blue line is the inner edge of the wall, I'm back to wondering what the material is between these lines.

This contrast might make things a bit more clear (or show better where I'm getting confused, maybe). These are both right hind hooves, one being Marshall's, and the other a horse of the same height, weight, general build, and general type (German warmblood derivatives). The other horse was known to have been shod early and continuously, so his feet are smaller then I'd expect they would have grown to be otherwise, but there isn't the separation present:



> I'm no expert on reading x-rays, but the one from Nov 15, 2007 certainly looks good.

It's better, but the distal decent measurement is still too large, the breakover too long, and  the hoof/pastern alignment is far from ideal.

>Wish I had your computer skills to post a photo of the hoof capsule I measured, but anyway there are much better images in the little book 'Building the Equine Hoof'

I've heard of that book, but don't have it onhand (will add to my wish list).

>I note in the Jan 10, 2006 x-ray the distance between outer hoof wall and bone is greater at the top than at the sole level.  The reverse is usually true of founder.

I agree that this doesn't follow the traditional rotation pattern for founder, but I did talk to a farrier who had encountered this situation a few times before (the teaching of one particular misguided barefoot school tends to promote this, apparently). He said that the "reverse rotation" effect can happen if the toe is supported but the heels  are undermined (or more specifically, the sole at the heels is cut thin).

I don't know Marshall's shoeing history prior to my first seeing him, but I did get my hands on some xrays from back in 2004 that show and extremely long toe. The delayed breakover would tend to overload the back of the foot, I think, and if the laminae were weak already (who know's what his diet was) I can see that promoting this sort of situation.

>Today's solar view photo from Jan 19, 2007, also shows he still had some heel underrun/crush at that time, but no doubt much improved from the year previous when you first got him. 

I'll add photos below.

>Are you certain that he did founder, ie there was separation of the dermal and epidermal laminae? 

Taking into account the elevated heat levels in his feet back in Jan of 06, the distal decent  measurements (FL was twice that of FR), and Dr. Pollitt's recomendations on interpreting the xrays that I wrote above, I've come to believe founder, but I've not had a vet diagnose it as such.

>Or is it possible that his underrun heels at that time were so bad that the bone had sunk down inside the capsule at the back, taking the laminar connection with it but separating the stratum internum from the startum medium at the top of the hoof?

Definitely possible. That said, given the relatively minor change in the degree of underrun over the last couple of years compared to the change in soundness, I wouldn't have thought that was the only contributor.

>It is very difficult to pull apart the laminar interface when there is no metabolic interference (refer to Equine Laminitis, C. Pollitt, p44 - in vitro takes 900g of pressure to pull apart healthy laminar explants).   However, the outer hoof wall  can pull away from the epidermal cells of the stratum internum when the hoof has been neglected for a long time. 

I don't know any dietary or hoof care details from his past, so I couldn't say one way or another I'm afraid. I do know that the hay at the barn that I bought him from was ~27% NSC and given as round bales, so that won't have helped.

>You've probably seen this on those horses with a huge, flat solar surface to their feet where the hoof wall is bell shaped (partial connection to midway down hoof) or even conical from front view (no connection below coronary band).  These horses will be very sore without shoes and are not truly sound even with them, but because they are not hopping lame on one foot, are often still in work.

Sure, Marshall's a great example of exactly this situation, and not the only example I've ever seen, as you suggest. "Servicably sound" is a fantastic euphamism for horse owners to cover up a world of sins sometimes.

>You also mention that the area you have thought of as lamellar horn does not have a different consistency when rasped.  I have found that lamellar wedge does have a different feel - it's softer and more rubbery than wall or sole, and tends to crumble under a rasp rather than shredding or flaking like normal wall or sole.

Yes, I know what you mean, and the founders that I've worked on were of the rubbery texture (when hydrated). That's what leads me to believe this is different (along with the lack of any remaining rotation). Also, bevelling into "the region" quite aggressively to set breakover in relation to the tip of the coffin bone doesn't hurt him in any way. Still confused...

>Without seeing it closely, can't be sure what you mean about a visual difference on rainy days, but if there is any remaining flare maybe you are seeing stretching of the caulk-like substance that plugs the gap between ground and laminar.

There is still slight flare, but nothing to the degree that the separation would hint at. I'll paste photos below.

>How are those heels now? 

Here are a few photo collages showing before and after. There's been a significant reduction in the amount of capsule flare (gone from wearing a size 5 Easyboot down to being just too big for a 3, for ex), but the heel tubules are still underrun. Bringing the toe back should hopefully help in that regard. Other then that, there's lots more concavity, a slight decontraction of the heels, and the bars ridge around the tip of the frog is gone.

I'm actually quite surprised at how little the hoof has changed shape compared to the change in soundness that they've permitted, which leads me to believe that there's more going on internally then the outside shape is showing. Just need to figure out what that is now :)





>That Nov 15 image seems to indicate the palmar processes are OK - did your vet make any comment? 

Nope, though by his own confession he's not much of a hoof specialist. Another vet I'd showed the 06' xrays to had called it a sinking founder as well just based on the xray, but only as a casual comment.

>There's always a worry about demineralisation when feet get to be in a bad condition for a long time but it seems Marshall is one lucky horse who's been patiently brought back to full soundness with no permanent damage.

I know exactly what you mean, but the xrays I have seem okay to my eye from a porosity perspective (not that I have huge amounts of experience there). I'd like to think that Marshall's issues are reversible, and he certainly felt great to ride today, but that's a bit of why I'm here.

Thanks again!
Adam

Pauline Moore
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 Posted: Tue Jan 22nd, 2008 11:41 am
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Hello Adam - a few more thoughts for what they're worth:Do you know that the horse that you have the bones from was laminitis free?
No, I don't know that for certain, he was a 25 yr old dressage TB, around 16 h, with some interesting arthritic changes and a couple of fused dorsal spinous processes but he lived in a dry, native-grass type area and I have no reason to believe he did have any laminitis issues.
Also, regarding measurements Dr. Pollitt writes in "Colour Atlas" on pg 187 that:
"If the distance between the marker on the dosal wall and the dorsal surface of the distal phalanx exceeds 15-17mm this is early, valuable evidence that laminitis has occurred".
I don't know how that statement factors in relative hoof size, but it doesn't fill me with good feelings.    
A similar statement is made in Equine Laminitis (p65) where Pollitt says " The distance between the radiopaque rod taped to the dorsal surface of the hoof wall and the dorsal cortex of the distal phalanx is ...... normally 15 - 17mm in horses weighing 400-450kg".  That's a medium sized horse - how big/heavy is Marshall? 
These are both right hind hooves, one being Marshall's, and the other a horse of the same height, weight, general build, and general type (German warmblood derivatives). The other horse was known to have been shod early and continuously, so his feet are smaller then I'd expect they would have grown to be otherwise, but there isn't the separation present:  Yes, I see what you are referring to now but the big difference to my eyes is the shape of the foot.  Marshall has almost a heart shape to the foot which is consistent with the flaring shown on the other photos, and usually accompanies underrun heels.  Does Marshall land heel first?  Can you see this clearly at walk and trot while on the lunge on hard ground?  Is he comfortable on stony ground?  When trimming, do you need to rasp more heel or more toe, or are they about even?  I'm asking these things because at the back of my mind I'm wondering if the separation you are seeing is being caused by a toe-first landing with each stride.  My feeling is that Marshall probably does have a good laminar connection for most  of his foot, but may have a separation of wall from epidermal laminae around a good part of the wall, in which case what you are seeing at ground level may be the stretched, flexible, glue-like plug that prevents dirt etc from reaching the internal laminae.  Further up, it is possible that extra intertubular horn cells are being generated at an accelerated rate from the secondary epidermal laminae, as happens when the hoof is damaged or stressed (refer Building the Equine Hoof).  I do know for certain that a toe-first landing will cause this type of separation - I've seen it many times.  One of my own horses, an older TB, has had good feet for several years but now he is a Cushings horse and I struggle to keep him laminitis free, but he has gone from landing heel-first  to toe-first and his feet now have a similar separation to Marshall's except that his is filled with dirt as he lives out 24/7 and still enjoys a gallop around with the other two.  Given your freezing winter, does Marshall have much turn out time?
It's better, but the distal decent measurement is still too large, the breakover too long, and  the hoof/pastern alignment is far from ideal.  By 'good' I was mostly thinking of bone integrity - AP balance etc will fix itself once the heel tubules are heading further south.

Taking into account the elevated heat levels in his feet back in Jan of 06, the distal decent  measurements (FL was twice that of FR), and Dr. Pollitt's recomendations on interpreting the xrays that I wrote above, I've come to believe founder, but I've not had a vet diagnose it as such.  You are quite likely right, but also maybe a mild low-grade laminitis on top of the crushed heels.  Thermography scans will show considerable hoof heat even in a very mild laminitis with no obvious lameness and no rotation.


There is still slight flare, but nothing to the degree that the separation would hint Here are a few photo collages showing before and after. There's been a significant reduction in the amount of capsule flare (gone from wearing a size 5 Easyboot down to being just too big for a 3, for ex), but the heel tubules are still underrun. Bringing the toe back should hopefully help in that regard.  You've made such huge progress with this horse, to have him rideable and sound is a real achievement so I'm sure you will be able to get those heels fixed - it would not be surprising if he were still landing toe-first, if so, then the priority will need to be getting him comfortable enough to start using his heels which will stimulate growth in a more vertical direction.  With horses like Marshall  I have always had to be very brave in attacking every last little bit of flare and taking every bit of those crushed long heels, then using boots and wedged pads to induce the horse to start believing he can use his heels again. 
I expect you are already doing all of these things - it's easy to be an armchair critic when only having some photos to go on, very different with the live foot in one's hand - so please don't think I'm trying to tell you how to trim, but thinking out loud sometimes will trigger another idea or way of looking at things that provides the elusive key.
Best wishes - Pauline

AdamTill
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 Posted: Thu Jan 24th, 2008 06:56 pm
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>A similar statement is made in Equine Laminitis (p65) where Pollitt says " The distance between the radiopaque rod taped to the dorsal surface of the hoof wall and the dorsal cortex of the distal phalanx is ...... normally 15 - 17mm in horses weighing 400-450kg".  That's a medium sized horse - how big/heavy is Marshall?

Interesting…figured there was a size effect that wasn’t being commented on. Marshall’s on the larger side…16.3 & ~1400lbs.

>Does Marshall land heel first?  Can you see this clearly at walk and trot while on the lunge on hard ground?  

He appears to be landing flat up front and heel first behind on most terrain types at the moment. I use a video camera at ground level to check my eye every few months, and the last time I did that (Oct 07) this was the result (big file warning):

http://www.easphotography.com/Horses/General/Oct2607Slow.wmv

Now the mix is about 20% toe first, 80% flat, and 20% heel first up front on concrete, and 100% heel first on the same terrain for the hinds.

 

>Is he comfortable on stony ground?

He shortens stride noticeably while bare, which is why I’ll boot him up front when I ride out. Using a cut down gel filled horseshoe pad inside the boot, he lands very consistently heel first on all terrain.



>When trimming, do you need to rasp more heel or more toe, or are they about even?


It’s about even now. He tended to land toe-first (and thus wear more toe) up until about 6 months ago or so.

>I'm asking these things because at the back of my mind I'm wondering if the separation you are seeing is being caused by a toe-first landing with each stride. 

I doubt that's helping, for sure.

>My feeling is that Marshall probably does have a good laminar connection for most  of his foot, but may have a separation of wall from epidermal laminae around a good part of the wall, in which case what you are seeing at ground level may be the stretched, flexible, glue-like plug that prevents dirt etc from reaching the internal laminae. 


I just worry because I've never seen a "white line" (or whatever this would be called) that's this wide on a horse without some degree of coffin bone rotation.

>Further up, it is possible that extra intertubular horn cells are being generated at an accelerated rate from the secondary epidermal laminae, as happens when the hoof is damaged or stressed (refer Building the Equine Hoof).  

That makes sense.

>I do know for certain that a toe-first landing will cause this type of separation - I've seen it many times. One of my own horses, an older TB, has had good feet for several years but now he is a Cushings horse and I struggle to keep him laminitis free, but he has gone from landing heel-first  to toe-first and his feet now have a similar separation to Marshall's except that his is filled with dirt as he lives out 24/7 and still enjoys a gallop around with the other two.  

>Given your freezing winter, does Marshall have much turn out time?

Out 24/7…he just gets yak-like in the winter.

>You are quite likely right, but also maybe a mild low-grade laminitis on top of the crushed heels.  Thermography scans will show considerable hoof heat even in a very mild laminitis with no obvious lameness and no rotation.


The bigger problem here was the heat was unilateral at the prepurchase, with noticably elevated temp in the left front compared to the right (and reversed in the hinds, presumably on a compensating diagonal). As a result, I wasn’t particularly surprised to find the distal decent on the LF about double that of the RF.

There isn’t a heat difference now, but interestingly enough it now seems like the LF is healing quicker then the RF (especially flare-wise). It’s almost like the extra damage in the LF kicked its metabolism into overdrive.

>With horses like Marshall  I have always had to be very brave in attacking every last little bit of flare and taking every bit of those crushed long heels, then using boots and wedged pads to induce the horse to start believing he can use his heels again.
 

On other horses I’ve taken a more aggressive approach to flare removal, but I haven’t had good experience with that for Marshall. Especially for the first year, the hoof wall was so thin that thinning it further to any degree seemed to remove too much internal stability, and the flares got no better. A more successful approach has been to trim every couple of weeks to remove the ground level load on the flares, which is easy enough since this is my own horse.

I’ve also had to walk a bit of a line with the underrun heel, in that lowering the heels to the sole overpressures the caudal half of the foot, and causes him to toe-walk. Leaving a bit of extra heel height (~4-5mm) isn’t in theory helping the underrun heel as much, but it does seem to ensure that he lands heel first or flat much more often.

He’s fine in boots, but considering that my riding time makes up ~2% of the week, prioritizing the mechanics of non-riding time with a bit more heel height (temporarily) seems to be the best compromise.

>I expect you are already doing all of these things - it's easy to be an armchair critic when only having some photos to go on, very different with the live foot in one's hand - so please don't think I'm trying to tell you how to trim, but thinking out loud sometimes will trigger another idea or way of looking at things that provides the elusive key.

Not a worry, I appreciate the reality check. I’d rather learn something new then be blissfully ignorant.

Pauline Moore
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 Posted: Fri Jan 25th, 2008 11:33 am
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Excellent movie, Adam - worth the wait to download and a great way to see accurately how a horse is moving, at least at a walk.  Marshall is certainly a challenge but you've come a long way with him. 

Does Marshall have the type of feet that can cope with boots for a longer period?  Not all horses are able to be fitted for boots without rubbing, but those that do have a perfect fit will benefit from having that heel support for most of the day.  I have put boots on for 24 hrs, removed for 12 hrs, on for 24 etc, others have been OK with boots on overnight, then removed until next night, or vice versa if that gives more movement to the horse.  Results have been much faster when this has been possible.  The new frog-shaped boot inserts of varying thickness and/or density have made it so much easier to customize the amount of support any individual horse needs - have you tried them? Or do you cut your gelpad to that shape?

AdamTill
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 Posted: Wed Jan 30th, 2008 07:09 pm
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>Does Marshall have the type of feet that can cope with boots for a longer period? 

His feet would be fine, but for snowy terrain I don't like the tread pattern of the boots that I have for him so I'd rather not leave them on for longer periods right now. In the pasture, and especially during the winter, he seems fine - got sight of a beautiful extended trot as he made a beeline for the shelter last night (granted it was windchill of -41 at the time). I'll keep that in mind for the spring however.

>The new frog-shaped boot inserts of varying thickness and/or density have made it so much easier to customize the amount of support any individual horse needs - have you tried them?

I've not tried the new preformed ones I think you're referring to, but I have a bunch of different densities of foams that I've tried and can mix and match for different horses. Definitely makes a difference.

>Or do you cut your gelpad to that shape?

Can't cut the gelpad to shape, since it's a tough outer plastic shell around a goopy type of gel that would leak out of a puncture. You can cut the outer flange back to fit a boot (the bit that horseshoe nails would otherwise go through), but the gel bit itself is a fixed shape.

I did a bunch of testing, and found that I got the best results using either a flat, medium density foam pad, or the same result using this gel pad. The advantage of the gel pad is that I haven't replaced it yet, and it's been about a year since I bought the set! Low maintenance is helpful in my world.

Wouldn't use them on a really footsore horse, but on one with a minimal level of soundness these are great.


Last edited on Wed Jan 30th, 2008 07:10 pm by AdamTill


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