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Size of Horse's Feet and Limbs -- Need Your Data
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DrDeb
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 Posted: Tue Jul 14th, 2009 06:33 am
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Thank you again to everyone, and now especially to those of you who went over to friends' places so that we could get some big drafters or small ponies....or some of you have waited 'til the farrier got there so you could measure with the shoes off. Alex and Deb T., also thank you to you and to Brenton and Emma....since I know your horses well, it very much helps to have you in the survey because then on the weight estimates, I can compare what the weight tape said or what your vet guessed the weight would be, against my own guess (close agreement in all cases, and thus verified as to having "reasonable" accuracy).

Whenever a scientific study is done in a lab, a great deal of effort is put into training all the lab technicians so that they do whatever techniques as much as possible exactly alike. This is intended to elmininate variation in the data set that is due to "measurement error" or "operator style". However, in plotting up what we've got here plus measurements that I've been taking in my own local area, really I can't find one "outlier" that looks to be a mistake -- or a fib. In other words, all the points are clustering nicely and forming the predicted upward-arching curve (as weight goes up, we expect both B-T and Hoof Width to also increase).

As to fibbing....nobody appears to be doing that either. It really does not matter whether the horse is sound or lame, because this survey is going to be published totally anonymously -- when it is published in Equus Magazine, the reader will not know the horse's name, or the owner's name or the name of the person who took the measurements. So if he's not been real sound, it's quite safe to go ahead and say so.

Neither does it matter, for purposes of this study, WHY the horse was lame. Horses go lame all the time for all kinds of reasons. My belief is that the insight I am trying to convey about the relationship between body weight and limb and hoof size in horses will be evident from the data -- there are going to be some horses where, when the data set is all plotted up, it will be quite possible to say, "that animal has a great chance of becoming unsound because his feet are small compared to his bodywieght." But there will also be a scatter of points identified as "lame" horses that occur throughout the data set, in all weight categories.

So this is why it's been such a great idea to do this survey -- these are real horses that belong to real people, right now and not 100 years ago. So if there are any more of you who wish to post data, again I'd still like to see more Warmbloods, ponies, and the really big horses, but any horse of any size will be welcome and will be included in the dataset.

Thanks very much! -- Dr. Deb

 

Mark
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 Posted: Wed Jul 15th, 2009 01:32 am
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Here's some data:

(1) Quarter Horse gelding, 8 years old

(2) B-T circumference: 8.5 inches

(3) Forefoot: 5.25 inches across, full width from wall to wall

(4) 1340 lb by weight tape

(5) sound

I am forwarding a photograph of him for possible use in your new conformation series. Hope this helps.

 

 

Gaited Gal
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 Posted: Wed Jul 15th, 2009 12:28 pm
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1.) Billy: Seven year old Miniature Horse Gelding
2.) 4 5/8" leg circumference
3.) 2 5/8" Width of foot including wall
4.) 265# and 8 hands according to weight tape.
5.) Sound and barefoot, great feet.

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Gaited Gal
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 Posted: Wed Jul 15th, 2009 12:37 pm
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1.) Radar: 13 year old Tennessee Walker Gelding.
2.) 7 1/2" leg circumference
3.) 4 3/8 Width of foot including wall.
4.) 830# and 14.1 hands according to weight tape
5.) Sound in spite of being born premature and having a moderate angular limb deformity of toeing out. He is currently shod because he wears the medial side hooves faster and quickly becomes unbalanced, even with frequent trims.

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Gaited Gal
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 Posted: Wed Jul 15th, 2009 12:40 pm
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1.) Hondo: Seven year old Miniature Horse Gelding
2.) 4 3/8" leg circumference
3.)  2 1/2" Width of foot including wall.
4.) 300# and 8.2 hands according to weight tape.
5.) Sound and barefoot, thought he tends to have tight tendons or mild club front hooves, both equally. Frequent trims to knock down the heels help.

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Gaited Gal
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 Posted: Wed Jul 15th, 2009 01:02 pm
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Mules~ Do you need mule data? My neighbor has about a 1/2 dozen of them including a pair from belgium mares, plus the assortment of average stock/saddle horse style.

DrDeb
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 Posted: Wed Jul 15th, 2009 07:19 pm
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Yes, the mule data would be useful too. It is very good of you to offer to go over there and measure -- your neighbor might appreciate looking at the finished graphs, though.

As to Radar's supposed 'angular limb deformity': he has absolutely no such thing. What he DOES have is that the ENTIRE LIMB FROM THE SHOULDER JOINT DOWN is turned out. In other words, he is in the habit of holding his elbows in; he has 'tight elbows'. A horse's knees and toes are locked to his elbows; if the one turns, the others must also turn, and in the same degree. Because a horse cannot rotate the shoulder joint so as to carry the elbows inward without also carrying the knees and toes outward, his toes orient outward.

As far as what you report about him wearing off the medial parts of his feet, sure, absolutely this is what he does, and you are wise to protect the feet with shoes. However, you'd be even wiser to teach the horse the following:

1. Leg yield, both directions; practice every time you ride him. Begin with 'expanding the circle', which is the easiest form to practice.

2. Alternate long-stepping walk (sub-gait) with short-stepping walk (short like you were in a herd of cattle picking one out), with the horse's head and neck stretched forward and down -- down all the way to below his knees. Then you turn him to one side and then the other in a 'snake trail' pattern with his head low.

3. Avoid absolutely any time with the horse's head up/base of neck dropped.

4. Teach him the two-footed or 'plie' bow

5. Teach him to 'wave goodbye', i.e. lift one foot as if to 'shake hands' while standing on the drum, then the other foot. You should not touch the feet or stand within striking distance when you do this; you get the horse to lift the desired foot all by himself, by drawing his awareness to one side, noticing when he might have lifted the foot on his own, and then telling him to lift it (and rewarding him for each incremental try).

Your drum is great and the horse looks confident and happy so that part gets an A+. But you go ahead and do what has been suggested here, and then let us know in six weeks whether he isn't standing with his toes straight forward when he's up there, or even 'pigeon toed' -- there will be a great release of the elbows so that we then see how he was intended to stand. It is the fact that he gaits with more tension in his back than you might have been aware of, and a higher head position than he really should, that causes him to 'guard' by holding his elbows in.-- Dr. Deb

 

LynnF
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 Posted: Wed Jul 15th, 2009 09:34 pm
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I measured one of my mules but didn't post the data because I wasn't sure you would want it.

This is a 10 year old molly.  14.1hh

Bone is 8"

Hoof is 4"

Weight is 900lbs - estimated

She is barefoot and sound.

 

Philine
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 Posted: Thu Jul 16th, 2009 05:31 am
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Got measurements of a couple of other horses at my stable as well as mine.

12 yr old Morgan gelding

B-T     8 3/8 in

hoof   5 7/8 in

wt      1100 lb  (weight tape)

barefoot-always sound, shod only for the mountains

lightly worked

 

 

30 yr old Appaloosa gelding

B-T      8 1/4 in

hoof    5 3/4 in

wt       1267 lb  (weight tape)

usually barefoot, sometimes shod depending on what owner doing with him-always sound during working life (actually still goes on regular slow, short trail rides with owner in the 'back 40')

light to medium work (when younger)

 

8 yr old Tb mare

B-T  left front     8 in

B-T  right front   7 3/4 in

(standing square-measured both legs several times to confirm difference in legs)

hoof  5 in  (left one)

wt     928 lb (weight tape)

Shod when I got her because she was foot sore without front shoes.  She was also babysitting Tb babies in training and on training rations ( lots of oats, high alfalfa hay etc.)

Kept shoes on for 8 mo although she kept losing them along with chunks of her hooves.  Has been barefoot for about 20 mo.  Ouchy on scattered gravel but sound on softer footing-arena and round pen sand, dirt, packed gravel and also on grass trails.  May not be suitable for survey because of many changes (different stables, different hay, different supplements, no oats anymore, different farriers)  I don't consider her feet to have reached a stable state yet.

lightly worked   

DrDeb
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 Posted: Thu Jul 16th, 2009 08:03 am
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Folks, I now have data for 75 horses....between what has been submitted here and some others I have gotten locally, that's more than enough for "group" statistical significance on some aspects. This has just been a great response and very, very helpful.

In graphing up the data that we have so far, some gaps are still showing up. At this point, the greatest needs are for:

1. Data from people who own Warmbloods (this can be "full registered" or out of a TB mare -- either one is fine).

2. Data on horses that weigh 1300 lbs. and up

3. Data on horses that weigh between 400 lbs. and 900 lbs. (the larger miniatures, Shetland ponies, Welsh ponies, Icelandics, Fjords, and other larger ponies almost up to horse size).

We have mucho plenty information at this point on horses weighing between 900 and 1300 lbs. -- that's the majority size anyway for riding horses. But if you haven't contributed and you want to, I'm still happy to receive data on any horse of any breed or size at all. -- Dr. Deb

Fryslyn McGee
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 Posted: Fri Jul 17th, 2009 02:09 am
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Have some big horse numbers here...

1.  Des, Percheron x Appaloosa gelding, 18 years old, 16.1 hh.
a.  BT circumference 9"
b.  Foot:  6
c.  Est weight- 1400 (fat old easy keeper with not enough to do!)
d.  sound but prone to stone bruises
2.  Bear, Percheron Stallion, 13 years old, 17.3-18.0 hh.
a.  BT Circ:  11
b.  Foot:  7.5
c.  Est Weight:  1600ish at moment (He looks AWFUL (BCS 3.5) at the moment... hard keeper and he frets 24/7 during breeding season)
d.  sound, if a little stiff from 12 years of perpetual motion [purchased as yearling and had spent most of his first year in a large box stall; very, very high energy horse also].
3.  Ella, Percheron mare, 9 years old, 17.2 hh.
a.  BTC: 10.5
b.  Foot:  7.5 (sole only)
c.  Est weight:  1800
d.  sound
4.  Jules, Percheron mare, 8 years old, 18.0 hh.
a.  BTC:  10.75
b.  Foot:  8
c.  Est weight 1900-2000
d.  driven hard, and sound sound sound.
5.  Annie, Percheron Mare, 6 years old, 18.0 hh.
a.  BTC:  10.75
b.  Foot:  8.5
c.  Est Weight:  1800
d.  sound
6.  Reba, Percheron mare, 5 years old, 18.1 hh.
a.  BTC:  10.25
b.  Foot:  8.25
c.  Est Weight: 1800
d.  sound, but she doesn't do anything- her breeder was an idiot and overfed her dam on corn to keep her fat for show season, blew Reba's hocks and now she has OCD in both hocks and is blind in one eye from trauma after weaning.
7.  Cassie, Percheron mare, 4 years old, 17.3 hh.
a.  BTC:  11
b.  Foot:  measured 8" this spring when we put her pasture plates on.
c.  Est Weight: 1700-1750
d.  Sound
(Preceeding mares are all sired by our stallion, following mares are his harem, but none are dams of above mares)

8.  Linda, Percheron mare, 7 years old, 17.1 hh.
a.  BTC:  10
b.  Foot:  8.5
c.  Est weight: 1650
d.  Sound, but with beginning of sidebone on the cranial aspect of the cartilage, still pillowy on the heel.
9.  Lola, Perchron mare, 6 years old, 18.0 hh.
a.  BTC:  11
b.  Foot:  8.5-8.75
c.  Est Weight: 1900
d.  Pasture/broodmare sound at the moment after getting hit by a car last year and doing a number on one of her (many prize winning) hocks.  I rode her a few times this spring; she's square and swingy at the walk, and a little off at the trot.
10.  Susie, Percheron mare, 4 years old, 19.0 hh (on the stick)
a.  BTC:  10.25
b.  Foot:  7 (sole only)
c.  Est weight- tonnish+
d.  Sound and won't be asked to do a lot of heavy work anytime soon.

All weights are veeeeeeeery guesstimated...I abandoned "the formula" when it told me Jules weighed 750 pounds and my weight tape stops at 1375.  Aside from the stallion, everyone is slick and fat-  6's and 7's all around.


Last edited on Fri Jul 17th, 2009 02:26 am by Fryslyn McGee

DrDeb
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 Posted: Fri Jul 17th, 2009 10:28 pm
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Fryslyn, thank you so much, your data is an amazing amount of help.

Now can we get some WB owners and some folks who own ponies or small horses in the 400 to 900 lb. range to write in? I pop onto this thread every morning looking to see whether any of those have showed up!

Thanks to everyone, again -- Dr. Deb

DrDeb
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 Posted: Sat Jul 18th, 2009 11:56 pm
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Hello out there! Does anybody who reads here own a Warmblood? We could sure use your data. I've been calling all my horse-breeder buddies today to enlist their help, too, but Forum readers are our best source for this study because the data comes in the quickest. Our deadline is approaching and I just want to make this appeal again, in hopes of scaring up some WB's. Thanks! -- Dr. Deb

AdamTill
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 Posted: Sun Jul 19th, 2009 04:15 am
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Okay, trimming day, so lots of info for you. Thanks to Monty for the help and willingness to share pony data! All pony weight by tape, all hooves sole measurements, all barefoot and sound.

Flash
Section A Welsh
12 yrs old
11h2"
607 lbs by tape
6" cannon
3.5" sole (inside wl/ inside wl)

Ringmaster
Section B Welsh
585 lbs
12 yrs
12h2"
6 3/4" cannon
4 3/4" sole

Promise (full sister to Ringmaster)
Section B Welsh
11 yrs
12h 2"
596 lbs
6 1/2" cannon
3 3/8" sole

Snowy (lateral work master, extraordinaire) <- I added that bit
Welsh X something
12h3"
16 yrs old
708 lbs
6" cannon
3 1/2" sole

Bali
German Riding Pony
16 yrs old
14h1"
684 lbs
6 1/2" cannon
3 3/8" sole

Memory (I think, can't read own writing)
 Section B Welsh
13h3"
4 yrs old
7" cannon
4" sole
794lbs

Name withheld by request
Austrian Warmblood
13 yrs old...I think. Within a year.
1450 lbs by visual comparison with Marshall
16h3"
10" cannon
4.5" sole (was likely shod early, natural sole would have been wider)
Barefoot 3 yrs, was sound shod in plain perimeter before that. Horse tough to keep sound for non-hoof related reasons (musculoskeletal due to very rare bone disease and digestive issues)...very good feet. Nicest movement I've ever seen anywhere when he's doing well.

Found measurements for my old warmblood
Marshall
Holsteiner X TB
12 yrs at measurement time
1400 lbs by truck scale
16h3"
10" cannon
6.25" sole
Bought at 10 yrs old completely lame on sand, in bar shoes (had been shod 4 yrs when I started riding him as a lesson horse). Basically impossible to keep sound shod, was later found by me to be road foundered in radiographs. Bought horse, pulled shoes, sound after a year of rehab. Horse sound for riding barefoot on all but gravel roads, sound on gravel roads with boots in front. Stayed sound 3 more yrs (sold), but tricky feet to trim due to poor concavity and very very thin walls.

Last edited on Sun Jul 19th, 2009 04:22 am by AdamTill

DrDeb
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 Posted: Sun Jul 19th, 2009 07:30 am
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Adam, thank you very kindly and please say 'thanks' also to the people who own the horses that aren't yours. Do assure them again that this is absolutely, totally anonymous. Their horse is going to show up as an unlabeled dot on a chart -- they can know which one it is by cross-referencing the weight vs. bone or weight vs. hoof width data themselves.

And often, thanks to all the people who have now written in -- we're up to 90 different animals now -- two or more animals will almost overlap, forming a cluster, so it really is anonymous as to which horse is which.

No WB owner is in any danger from me or this survey of losing some kind of points, being criticized, losing their chance at registration or approval or whatever. I do hope more WB owners will participate in this out of just the plain old desire to know where their horses would fit in, how they would compare in this area to horses of other breeds and sizes. Rational information can do nothing but help.

Also, remember -- I already have, through the published literature which goes back into the 1880's, more than 5,500 sets of measurements, hundreds of which are WB's. So I already DO know where these horses stand -- or I should say, where they STOOD -- because the most recent study in the big data set was in 1970. That's nearly 40 years ago now, and so one major thing we're doing here is trying to get a handle on whether things have changed in that time.

I have spoken to my old friend Dr. Matthew Mackay-Smith by telephone today....his family is a major breeder of Welsh ponies and also (at one time in the past), Cleveland Bays -- the only WB's to exist in the U.S. until 1972, when Anne Gribbons imported the first Trakehners to Long Island. Dr. Matthew understands the purpose of this survey and has agreed to contribute as many measurements as he can. So our pony 'gap' is getting filled nicely, and I hope to see the WB 'gap' filling up soon too. I wouldn't mind hearing from some American Saddlebred owners too! Thanks to everyone again. Cheers! -- Dr. Deb


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