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2MT - Tech Question - How Can I Relieve Hoof Pressure?

on Thu, 10/03/2013 - 22:44


"I have a horse that has thin soles and cannot go barefoot.  I had pads put on him that did not work.  He has pain from pressure on the back of the foot.  Is there any of your products that you think might work for me? I am enclosing  pictures of my horse. Help Please!" - Laura






"Hi Laura,

Thank you for sending the photos over this will help a bunch.

First things first, it's hard for me to really pick on a shoe job because, I don't know the conditions and how old the job is.

The first thing that jumps out at me is the size of shoe, I would like to see at least a size bigger on this foot. In the second photo you can see the wall growing out of the hair line and then a fold in the wall that drops down to the size of the shoe. Keep in mind I like the shoe to be as big or bigger than the coronary band. As the hoof leaves the coronary band it gets larger as it gets closer to the ground. The way this foot is set up, the shoe is under the coronary band not out side of it. This is a very common way of shoeing, just not the best way.

In the first photo you can see the dish about 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch below the hair line. That is where the hoof wall is coming down in a good line but the toe is being pulled forward due to not backing up the wall. The heels I don't think are under run, the foot is just in front of the leg. This can be corrected by trimming the heels back ( from what I see about 3/8 to 1/2 an inch could come off ) and dressing the toe back. The line before the dish in the toe is the line to follow. 

If you can't get that much wall off, set the shoe back just in front of the white line. After a couple of shoeings you should see the dish start to go away.

In the last photo I see it looks like they have been trying to dress the toe back. It looks like the white line is showing through a little. 

I'm not sure that's the case, but if so, they are on the right track. A larger shoe will speed up the changes due to getting the whole foot the support it's needing.

The photos below are of hind feet.  I fit them very full on the out side heel, but what I wanted you to see is how the shoe is bigger than the coronary band.

I hope this helps and if you have any questions please let me know." - Tab Pigg, CJF


Debbie's picture

Rings appear for many different reasons...not just inadequate diet. Grass hay may not be a sufficient source of energy for some horses that need a higher caloric intake due to work load or breeding. Research has shown that oats are a low calorie, high starch supplement. Some horses can not go without shoes. Barefoot is best if your horse is happy and comfortable, but if lameness persists after a sufficient transition time...put the shoes back on under the watchful eye of your vet and farrier. Just as we are all different so are our horses. What works for one could spell disaster for another...let's be mindful of these differences!

mariabaverstock's picture

Good to hear the voice of reason, Debbie!

CH's picture

Without knowing the history of the horse, one needs to be objective/sensitive in viewing pictures. Pictures do give a great visual, however, but can be deceiving depending on what angles you are shooting from. Top photos make it quite clear that the horse is showing stress through the foot, be it diet or mechanical, or both. The hoof wall just below the hair line is the healing part of the hoof that, ultimately, you would like the rest of the hoof to align with. I've never heard the comment from a farrier to apply a shoe that's equal to or wider than the coronary band...makes sense! Wonder if some hooves fold under at the heels (crushed heels) because of shoes being too small? Regarding the bottom photos...very clear that the frog is trying to do what Mother Nature intended those frogs to do...reach the ground so the foot can get full support/function, not just on the walls. Lots to be discovered, yet, in ways to "properly" support the foot when shoes are a must. Environment, hoof structure, diet, discipline, on and on, are all part of the equation.

Janelle's picture

It is easy to see by the rings on this horses feet that he is being improperly fed. I would imagine that she is feeding him alfalfa. Horse eat grass, period... probably on grain or some other mix... needs to get off of all of these .. a small amount of oats and organic ABC Fortified.
Pull the shoes and get a good trim and get those frogs working on the ground like they should be.

mariabaverstock's picture

Alfalfa is fine for many horses, it is excellent feed and scaremongering against it is indiscriminate. Rings can be caused by all sorts of things, and yes, he may have wrong diet but let's not single out alfalfa. And what does "pull the shoes" have to do with it? That's the usual mantra: barefoot will cure every ill. Let's be a little more educated, since vettec is such an enlightened company!

Abigayle's picture

Alfalfa doesn't always cause the rings on horses feet, oats are actually more likely than other grains to cause this, and horses do not eat just grass they can eat alfalfa, but it depends on the horse what works, it also depends how much, and how the horse was introduced to alfalfa. I personally have a 28 year old barrel racing Qh and he is perfectly healthy, fed grain all year, alfalfa pasture in the summers and alfalfa hay in the winter, but the reason he didn't founder from alfalfa is he was very gradually introduced. I know everyone says alfalfa is dangerous for the horse and only grass is safe, but alfalfa is safe when fed properly, the only reason people think grass is the only choice is you can feed grass however and it wont hurt, where as other feeds need to be fed properly. Its not about the kind of feed, its about how much knowledge the owner has to feed it.
As for the hoof problem, I have a horse who is an old pony, and the tendons in her front legs where pulled when she was younger (she is a rescue) so she has hooves ahead of her leg (like suggested in the article) and she had hooves of a similar shape. My farrier used a shoe that was one size too large for the pony, and every visit the farrier would rasp of just a bit from the front hoof wall (not down to the white line though!!) and after around a year, her feed are perfectly healthy. I have also seen horses that have foundered in the past have hooves of a similar build, if the horse is overweight then diet could factor in, check out what your horse is being fed and how much he is exercise, also factor in how fast he gains weight and maybe ask a vet about feed plans if you aren't quite sure.

mariabaverstock's picture

Agree with Abigayle completely. Larger size shoe and gradually bring back the wall, and design the diet which works for this horse and appropriate to its level of work. If it's prone to laminitis, then grass is a prime suspect, not alfalfa.