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ESI Q and A Forums > ESI Q and A Forum > Questions and discussions for the ESI Q and A Forum > Rear hoof changes - trying to figure out what this means

Rear hoof changes - trying to figure out what this means
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DrDeb
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 Posted: Sun Feb 28th, 2021 04:14 am
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Thanks for posting photos taken as I asked you to, Redmare, and getting them to go in rightside up so nobody has to stand on their head to see them!

Now I have had a minute to take them and do a couple of other things that are necessary before anything sensible can be said.

First, you have to rotate any picture you take of a horse, any view, so that objects that you know must have been vertical in real life are vertical in the image. I have taken the photo of you riding the horse through a corner which appeared in your first post, for example, and rectified it -- finding that I needed to rotate the image counterclockwise 2 degrees in order to bring structural verticals to vertical.

Many cell phone cameras and even some real cameras have lenses with enough curvature to them as to create a certain amount of "fisheye" effect in the image they record. What this means is that as you move left or right away from the center of the photo, structural verticals will appear to tilt outward. So the verticals you should pay attention to are only those that are, as close as possible, directly behind the subject (which presumably is in the center of the image). SOME but not all structural horizontals will, when you rectify the verticals, also appear to be at 90 degrees or hence perfectly horizontal. Thus the horizontal pink line marked, which follows a ceiling beam, but not the lower panel of the kickboard in the arena. This is because you are seeing the kickboard at an angle, since the horse was passing through the corner on a curve.

The same procedure must also be used (before we can say anything sensible) with the rear views of the hind limbs that you sent. Green lines on those photos mark structural verticals (edge of big tack box, post for the barn).

Pink lines on the limb photos mark the centers of the bony column. I have put both hindlimbs into one image, and re-sized the RH so that the length of the limb from the medial eminence of the distal tibia to the ground is equal, so as to make the limbs of equal length. Your originals are of different sizes because either you were using the telephoto function as I suggested, but didn't use it to the exact same amount for both shots (understandable because this is very hard to do), or else you were standing farther behind him for the RH shot.

OK, now that we've got that squared away:

You note in your initial post that this horse wants to carry its head slightly or somewhat to the right all the time. With as competent a rider as you are, this is most likely due to one of two things, and you will have to go discover which:

(1) Right-handed rider syndrome. I have already told you that you need to quit pinching with that left leg and quit trying to turn your knee and/or toe in. But if the left leg pinches, the right leg will have an even greater tendency to be using too much force and pressure -- if the rider is right-handed. Check yourself and be very very sure that when you ride this horse upon the left hand and especially when passing through a corner going to the left, that you TOTALLY RELEASE ALL PRESSURE in the right rein and TOTALLY TAKE YOUR RIGHT LEG OFF HIM from the knee down to the boot.

Further, do this: Imagine that a giant invisible hand can come down and grab ahold of your right leg between its thumb and forefinger. This is a very benign giant hand and so when it does this to you, there is no pain involved at all, in fact it actually feels good. Let the hand draw your right thigh straight out to the right, like pulling out a drawer; the ball of your femur just slips out of the hip socket and goes to the right and your whole thigh is (in your imagination, the way you visualize it) now standing about four inches clear of the righthand surface of his ribcage.

Generally when I am coaching and get the student to do this visualization "pulling the thigh out like a drawer", it has really shockingly large and immediate effects.

(2) A second possible cause, and note both this and no. 1 might both be going on at the same time: the horse has what Tom Dorrance used to call a "slow corner". In other words, even though he may be untracking and bending appropriately through the middle and rear sections of his spine, the front end continues to sag to the left. This will force him to carry his head to the right and, obviously, it creates an "S" bend in the length of the spine which forces the animal to overweight the left hind leg and, of course, prevents him from going straight.

The solution to this is to carry a barrel-racing bat in your left hand. A bat is ideal because it's just the right length and has a wide "flapper" at the end. Just barely tap him with it right on the offending shoulder and see what that does to help him stand those shoulders up and get the weight off his left foreleg as well as the left hind leg. You should also notice him snuggling up to your right leg, filling the leg and seat up on the right side and also he'll round out through the neck and stop carrying the head to the right. BUT ONLY if you make with the drawer right leg and RELEASE ALL PRESSURE TO THE POINT OF OVERDOING IT with the right hand.

You will now be able to notice that in the rectified photo of you passing through the lefthand corner, the horse is -- despite untracking well, having good rhythm, decent energy, and some degree of appropriate bending through the ribcage -- HE IS STILL LEANING TO THE LEFT. This implies to me that you didn't realize what it really really does feel like to have a horse go really really straight. He will fill up your outside leg, outside hand, and outside seat -- more than you are now experiencing. HE COMES TO YOU not you come to him!

In the rectified hindlimb photos, you now observe that what you've got here conformation-wise is your typical bowlegged Quarter Horse. Notice that the whole left limb is thicker and more substantial than the right; that's a measure of her longstanding preference to lean to the left and thereby overuse the left hind limb all the time, all her life; so that the very development of her legs reflects this. The left limb is also more crooked, a compensation for the constant overweighting.

And this will never ever go completely away, just as her "desire" to lean left will never go away; you have to help her all the time, every step, every ride, forever. What will happen, however, is that over the long term the DEGREE of crookedness will get less, until it comes to a point that although it is not perfect, it doesn't affect her ability to perform well. Straightening her step by step forever is also worthwhile, of course, for its tendency to promote her longterm soundness.

Let us know how it goes once you try the visualization, and quit fretting about the trim. It ain't the trim, m'dear; it's the riding. As I have repeatedly said here and elsewhere -- the rider is BY FAR the most important "physical therapist" any horse ever has, and where good riding is wanting, no amount of massages or chiropractor visits or trimming or shoeing will be of any lasting avail. Cheers -- Dr. Deb

Attachment: Redmare QH bending round leveled.jpg (Downloaded 79 times)

DrDeb
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 Posted: Sun Feb 28th, 2021 04:14 am
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Here's the hindlimb view:

Attachment: Redmare Hocks rear square on L and R.jpg (Downloaded 81 times)

DrDeb
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 Posted: Sun Feb 28th, 2021 07:58 am
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You can compare this photo of me riding Oliver. Note that the photo has been rectified so that fenceposts, metal posts, telephone pole are vertical.

Look at my leg that is nearest the camera and compare with your leg. See how the center plane that would split my leg through the thigh, kneecap, shank, and foot orients OUTWARD.

You cannot see my outside leg, but look at my left hip; it is "expecting" Oliver's body to come to it, as is my left (outside) leg. In other words, I am doing nothing to kill his bending, nothing to inhibit it; I am not inadvertently pushing him to the inside, but rather inviting him all the time to fill out to the outside. This is the same thing as inviting him to put more weight on the outside pair of legs, which he must do in order to center the plumbline (see below).

See how my elbows are BENT; enough to bring the reins higher than the saddle horn (if there were a saddle horn).

See how Oliver's jowl is tucked under his neck. This is one physical sign that he is twirling his head. See that the tips of his ears both lie at the same horizontal level.

To determine whether a horse is or is not leaning in this type of view, drop a plumbline through the centerline of his breast. The point at which this plumb line contacts the ground is exactly centered between his two limbs. If it were closer to the inside limb, the horse would be leaning in; if it were closer to the outside limb, the horse would be leaning out.

Note the gait that Oliver is in. The procedure for straightening a horse is the same whether they are at walk, trot, canter, pace, or amble ("intermediate gait").

In hopes that this will be somewhat helpful. -- Dr. Deb

Attachment: Oliver and Dr Deb straight on curve1 SM.jpg (Downloaded 81 times)

Redmare
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 Posted: Mon Mar 1st, 2021 07:05 pm
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Dr. Deb, as usual thank you for your detailed reply.

Yes, we've talked about this horse having a "slow corner" before. I am very, very careful not to use the outside rein (in this case, my right hand, as you were pointing out) to "straighten" as was taught to me early on in life. It was actually Harry who helped me understand that the outside rein is only to be used as a support to the action of the inside rein.

We've tried the bat before - you mentioned it in a prior thread I started on this gelding. I didn't find it worked particularly well, but at the time he had a LOT of forward push. That's changed immensely since then, so I'll try it again as it may have much more meaning to him now.

And yes, I knew he was still leaning left in this picture despite everything else coming together much better - I still had some room on the long side of the arena to continue on but felt he was leaning and decided to turn him early in the hopes that he might rebalance himself onto the outside pair of legs. I don't know that I have ever really, truly felt THIS horse move utterly straight, no, but I have felt it with others.

Unfortunately, since I started this post I've had the vet out to see this gelding as he had a very severe episode of body soreness a couple weeks back - something that has been getting steadily worse the last month or so - which led me to have the vet test him for Lyme disease as well as do a lameness exam. He flexed poorly in both hocks and radiographs of both show much more advanced OA than I'd expect knowing his history of use (he was poorly started then sat in a field until he was 12 - he's almost 17 now). I am still waiting on the Lyme titer to come back but he has some other symptoms that strongly indicate an active Lyme infection.

All of this is to say I don't know when he'll be back to work so I can play with the "giant hand" idea and I will have to do something to address his hocks, but the discovery of the hock OA does make me wonder if that has contributed to how he was wearing his hind feet.

Last edited on Mon Mar 1st, 2021 07:08 pm by Redmare

JTB
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 Posted: Sat Apr 17th, 2021 07:25 am
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I hope this post finds everyone safe and well. Redmare I hope your gelding has improved.

This thread has been great. It has inspired me to get my eye in on conformation.

I had to get a new set of eyes out to see my herd and we had a look at my hoof trim, it left a lot to be desired. The hoof trimmer found this 3 year old to be very crooked in the body. He might have hurt himself a bit more than I first thought. Now I am really looking at him, he has a tight back, saggy tummy and carries his tail to the right. I have put him on the back one step at a time program, step one step at a time under his body shadow, to remind him he can let the top line go and coil his loins.

I will get to the hind legs soon but the fronts are the ones that puzzle me the most.

To me he stands with tight elbows so his knee faces slightly out, he has a slight deviation of the cannonbone to the lateral side, his fetlock faces the same direction as his knee. His hoof on this left fore always had more of an angle on it's lateral side than the medial side. My new set of eyes, looked at his foot and just took some height off the outside wall with the nippers. This photo is about 2 weeks after the trim but to me he now stands with his front leg closer to his midline. I think he is too old to try and straighten his leg, or am I waaayyyy off the mark here.

I have taken a lot of shots but they are a bit cluttered. Please let me know what other shots are helpful.

Kind Regards
Judy

Attachment: IMG_3571.JPG (Downloaded 37 times)

Last edited on Sat Apr 17th, 2021 08:03 am by JTB

JTB
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 Posted: Sat Apr 17th, 2021 07:42 am
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View of both front legs

Attachment: IMG_3568.JPG (Downloaded 39 times)

JTB
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 Posted: Sat Apr 17th, 2021 07:52 am
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Taken in front of the right knee, this leg too stands with tight elbows, but doesn't have the deviation of the cannon bone.

Attachment: IMG_3570.JPG (Downloaded 38 times)

JTB
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 Posted: Sat Apr 17th, 2021 07:55 am
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Rear shot of left fore foot

Attachment: IMG_3588.JPG (Downloaded 38 times)

JTB
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 Posted: Sat Apr 17th, 2021 07:59 am
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Rear view of right forefoot, I think the camera is not in quite the right place, needed to go to the left a bit?

Attachment: IMG_3587.JPG (Downloaded 38 times)

DrDeb
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 Posted: Thu Apr 22nd, 2021 06:32 am
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Judy, when you look at the coronet band of any hoof from square in front, it should be absolutely level. Obviously those on the sorrel colored horse are far from that.

"Square in front" means: you should be looking right down the plane that bisects the knee. The plane that bisects the knee should split the cannon bone, bisect the fetlock joint, split the pastern segment, and split the hoof into exactly equal halves.

It should also be the same in rear view, and again, your photos show that the horse's hoofs are out of mediolateral balance. The plane that splits the pasterns should also split the bulbs of heel and the caulks into exactly matching halves.

Of course if the horse also has crookedness issues that originate from higher up, i.e. because he leans to one side, favoring either the left or right pair of legs, then you'll have to work on those before you can get 100% improvement in the hoofs. But I doubt that all of the imbalance that is visible in these photos originates with his injury or how he has compensated or rebalanced himself or stiffened in response to that. A lot of it is just because you are not a professionally trained farrier, and nobody who has not received that training and an apprenticeship with an experienced journeyman has the slightest business messing around with hoof trim. Further, anyone who does not know how to make and correctly apply a basic shoe should also not be doing any trimming, because unless you understand how shoes work as orthotics, and how shoeing and shoes can be used to manipulate movement style, hoof flight, and breakover, you can't understand the same effects created by trimming either. So-called "barefoot trimmers" never want to hear this -- sorry -- they still need to hear it and do as they are bid. Some things cannot be understood ahead of experience, because it is impossible for the person to imagine what proper training will do for them; you just have to trust the teacher.

So Judy, is this horse broke to ride yet? Under saddle is the quickest and most effective way to remove braceyness and crookedness. You can also line drive him. If he's past three years old but not yet physically mature enough to bear weight, then certainly start your line driving. -- Dr. Deb


JTB
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 Posted: Fri Apr 23rd, 2021 07:47 pm
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Thank you for the reply Dr Deb. He was Three last October so not broke to ride. I seem to remember a thread re the line driving so will look it up and dig out the harness saddle with the turrets. He will enjoy his new lessons I am sure. I will also find a farrier who knows his stuff.
Kind Regards
Judy


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