Monday, November 28, 2011

Hard to believe that this hoof functions as well as it does

Taran is almost exactly 5 months out from his injury, and his recovery is nothing short of a miracle. He has good days when he looks 100% on the RF, and days when he's a little short. Fuzzypony does a lot of walking with him, and some T/C under saddle on the weekends (it gets dark too early to do much on the weekdays, as we don't have a lighted arena).

What's really amazing, though, is how sound he actually is on all surfaces. If you look at his feet, you'd swear he'd be the next thing up from dead lame.

RF. You can see where the injury and subsequent surgery occurred on the first event line, halfway down the foot. From the front it doesn't look too bad - well, ok, if you don't look at the medio-lateral balance and the flair.

But viewed from the side, we see a more dramatic story. The event line is nearly 1/2 inch deep, and the heel is incredibly underrun.

The event line is even worse when viewed from this side. The surgery, combined with a hospital plate and 4 months of stall rest, have caused impressive changes in the hoof.

From the bottom, the event line is so severe it almost looks like it's from two separate hooves. The foot is thrushy (we are working on this daily), the caudal hoof is poor, and the heel is... er, somewhere around there...

Another view of just how underrun the heel is. You can also see where he's wearing the caudal hoof - it's getting some stimulus for sure, but in a really odd place.

I'm curious to see what other hoof nerds have to say about this foot - I've only pointed out what I've learned to recognize from all the experts out there, and I'm sure there are lots of things I've missed or gotten wrong. What continues to amaze me is how well he is doing, on everything from sand to the road to the trails with rocks. Despite all the challenges he has with his foot, he's pretty darn sound. Makes you wonder why some horses with relatively good-looking feet can't handle anything but the softest of surfaces, while horses with feet like Taran's can stomp around on a surprising variety of substrates. Any thoughts?


  1. :gasp: that's an atrocious foot. It actually looks better to me from the side than from the front - the horrible flare isn't so noticeable.

    I have no idea why some horses are so unconcerned about their terrible unbalanced feet.

  2. I've seen horses compensate for some really atrocious injuries and go on to function really well on some HORRIBLE limbs and feet. This is an awesome example of just that. Their bodies are DESIGNED to overcome adversity to ensure survival. Very cool.

  3. I love these photos :-) The pattern of UGLY hooves but horses saying they just feel so much better no matter how they look is something I see a LOT but it never loses its fascination! Handsome is as handsome does - but the important thing is that the stuff he is growing is so much better and I think that's what counts.

  4. Under run heels for sure..what does trimmer say about bringing that toe back to help that out? Or are you doing that slowly? Thrush sucks. I do use "NO Thrush" it's a dry powder and cram it into all crevices with my fingers. It's pretty darn good at staying in for a couple of days. Then I zap once a week with White Lightening. Some horses are also way more stoic and can handle transitioning hooves. Glad to hear he's comfortable..that is most important!

  5. Kristen, we are trying to back the toe up, a little each month. He was shod in a hospital plate for 3 months, then 1 month in Natural Balance shoes with the toe really backed off. He's just having so many changes that we don't want to do anything really drastic - a little at a time. Walking him on the road is helping him self-trim, and of course more movement will help even more. Hopefully in 6 months he'll have a great new hoof!

  6. He's sound because he has a robust digital cushion. That goes a long way towards dispersing the shock of landing.