Q: I'm writing in again
about my paint gelding who has a problem with being shod.
We had a friend who was at our place and she worked with the paint
several times. She took the hoof pick and gently tapped the bottom of
his foot. He still had a problem though. He pulled all his hooves away
and was kind of dancing around. The paint is 11 years old and has been
shod before, however we've only had him about a year. We bought him
with his shoes on, and then took them off for the winter. So this was
the first time we had seen him shod. We know he has some type of spur
growth in his right front knee but there is nothing you can tell that
is wrong with his other legs.
You may wish to consider talking to the previous
owner to see if they can shed some light on this problem. They should
be able to tell you if the horse has some injury that is affecting his
behavior regarding his feet. Hopefully,
they can provide the contact information for their farrier so you can
talk with him/her and find out if your horse's problems are new or
old. The farrier may also be able to provide you with any shoeing
records kept regarding how his feet were trimmed/shod.
Perhaps the previous owners will provide the name
of their vet who may have some enlightening information regarding your
horse's medical condition. And of course, a complete physical
examination may prove helpful.
I would suggest locating a farrier who has the
patience and experience with working with horses, that for whatever
reasons, exhibit a change in behavior as to how they stand while
having their feet trimmed/shod. Horses that suddenly exhibit a radical
change in how they stand for the farrier, usually think they have a
good reason for doing so and therefore convincing them otherwise
sometimes requires a good bit of patience and effort on the part of
the owner, farrier and horse. Plus, this farrier with their knowledge
and experience may be able to assist in determining if there is a
physical reason for the problem.
An eleven year old horse should not have any problems standing
quietly to have his feet worked on. A knowledgeable/experienced
farrier is where I would think you will find the best chance of
determining just what is causing your horse to behave in this manner.
And this person is most likely the one who is going to be able to help
you convince your horse that this process is not going to cause him
The American Farrier's Association website has a
webpage for locating farriers.
Another good source for locating an experienced
farrier is a farrier/horseshoeing school.
Searching the Internet ("finding a
farrier" or "horseshoeing schools") brings up a number
of resources to explore.
I am sorry that I cannot be more specific, but
without being able to examine/observe him, I think the best advice I
can give is to have a farrier, hopefully yours is willing and capable,
out to observe and examine your horse in order to help you come up
with a training program that will help your horse accept the hoof care
that he requires without presenting a danger to himself or others.
Please let me know how this works out and feel free to
contact me if I can be of any further assistance.
Q: I have a
paint gelding who doesn't allow the farrier to pound the nails for
shoes into his feet. He prances around, tries to pull his feet back,
etc. He is fine with getting his feet trimmed and allows his feet to
be picked up just fine. He has trouble with all 4 legs while pounding
in the nails for the shoes. The horse is well broke and his very
gentle, except during the process of getting new shoes on. He had no
shoes on all winter and was just getting new ones. Any ideas?
It sounds like your horse has been
shod before and without any problems.
If this is the case and it is just
now that the only part of the shoeing process that bothers him is the
nailing, and with all four feet, then I would suggest starting with a
thorough examination of his feet/legs in order to eliminate any injury
as a reason for his behavior.
And, yes I, too, would find it
hard to believe that there was some ailment/injury that affected all
four feet, all at once that you would not be aware of already.
However, one has to start somewhere and the obvious is as good a place
as any. I would suggest an examination using hoof testers on all four
feet to see if there is a common area of increased sensitivity in his
feet. Also, don't forget his back, hips and shoulders, as possible
sources of problems.
Okay, so you can find no physical
reason for the horse to all of a sudden not stand quietly for the
nailing. He willingly picks his feet up, stands quietly for the
trimming and is well broke and very gentle except when it comes time
to hammer in the nails.
If this is not the first time he
has had nails hammered into his feet and the previous times he
tolerated this without a problem, then perhaps the problem is not with
the horse, but with the farrier and how he is holding your gelding's
leg/foot during the nailing process.
Is the farrier holding the
leg/hoof the same way for nailing as when for the trimming?
Once in a while a farrier may
adjust their stance because of some problem he, or she as the case may
be, is experiencing. A sore back, hip or something similar.
A slight deviation in the
farrier's stance resulting in pulling the leg outward can cause the
horse a great deal of discomfort.
Something you might try is to pick
up his feet as you would for normal hoof cleaning and as he stands
there quietly, use the hoof pick to tap (GENTLY) on his shoes to see
if this bothers him. Maybe he had a bad experience the last time he
was shod and is remembering that event. I don't necessarily mean that
the nailing hurt him per se, but if the overall experience was not
pleasant, someone/everyone got excited for example, he may be
anticipating such things happening again.
Of course, you only want to try
this if you are comfortable handling your horse's feet and even then
one has to always be extremely aware that horses can move incredibly
fast should they feel the need.
If your horse lets you tap on his
feet without showing any discomfort, then perhaps he just needs a
little retraining to show him once again that the nailing process is
not going to be hurtful.
To be honest, if you think about
it, that really is a hard sell. "I am going to take this very
sharp nail and hammer it into your foot … and it is not going to
hurt one tiny bit!" But, that is the truth and the way it should
If you think that a little
retraining is in order, then every day when you pick up his feet to
clean them out with your hoof pick, a little gentle tapping should
lead to acclimating him to the nailing process. Depending on his
reactions, you can over time increase the force of the tapping (common
sense should prevail … no sledgehammers) until he just gives you the
"look" and accepts this as just another one of those strange
things humans do to horses.
For a horse to change his mind
about something like this and do so on all four feet, well, I would
start with a review of the last time he was shod OR when the shoes
were removed, and see if something there is the source of the problem.
If he had an unhappy experience then, this may be a carryover of that
If nothing there stands out, then
if it were me, I would pick up his feet and see if there is any
problem with them just being tapped. If so, is it any tapping with the
horse showing a bit of fear which might indicate a previous experience
problem, or is it just when the tapping becomes more like the nailing?
If the latter, then retraining, slowly and progressively, on a daily
basis might be the solution.
Training a horse to stand quietly
for his feet to be worked on may take a considerable bit of time and
effort, but this good work can all be undone in a split-second of poor
emotional control by someone working on his feet.
Now if this is the first time he
has had shoes nailed on, then maybe he just needs to go through the
"tapping" training to get him used to what to expect as part
of the process.
In conclusion, I would suggest
checking your Paint for any physical reasons that would explain his
change in behavior. Then consider if there is a farrier-related
problem that needs to be adjusted. Try a little bottom-of-the hoof
tapping and see if maybe he just forgot this part and if a little
re-training will resolve the problem.
If you still cannot figure out his
reluctance, then perhaps a vet examination by a vet who works with
horses and their feet, would be in order.
I hope I have been able to offer a
few ides for thought. Please let me know how this turns out as I am
curious as to why your well-mannered Paint experienced this change in
Best of luck to you … and your
have a mare who has always had strong, hard feet, albeit with a few
minor cracks. Yesterday (Friday) the farrier came out and she had a
huge hunk missing in her left front hoof. It was about 2" in
length with a 1" width and about a 1/2 cm deep. No soft tissue
has been exposed. I looked at her other feet and her right front foot
seems to be on the same path. On the right foot, her whole hoof wall
isn't separating its just looks like its cracking underneath allowing
dirt and debris to wedge up making it bigger. I rode her this Tuesday
and was surprised to see these big chips. Is she lacking in vitamins?
The pasture is mostly grass with a few buried boulders, something she
knocked it on?? What is causing this? Thanks
is a tough question to answer without being able to examine your
mare's feet. I will try to offer a few things to consider that may
lead you toward finding a solution to her hoof problems.
as part of a balanced diet are big part of promoting and maintaining
healthy hoof growth, so if she is lacking in this area, then this
could be a contributing factor to less than optimum hoof conditioning.
Therefore, ensuring a nutritious feeding regimen should encourage
strong, healthy hooves.
pasture is sometimes overly wet or dry and too much moisture or lack
of, can cause the hoof wall to become more susceptible to chipping.
This is especially true if the hooves are allowed to grow out more
than normal as can occur during the winter off-time for the horse.
well-trimmed, properly balanced hoof encourages strong healthy hooves
which are better prepared to withstand chipping and cracking. Of
course, should a horse step on a rock "just right" then
sometimes a chip is unavoidable. In this case the farrier will do all
they can to mitigate the circumstances while allowing the hoof to grow
out over time.
chunks of missing hoof wall however, often indicate a problem that
needs to be addressed by both you and your farrier. It may mean
recognizing any environmental problems associated with moisture or
ground conditions; or perhaps as you mentioned, her nutritional needs
require adjusting; it may be necessary to have her feet trimmed more
often; and for certain, it is absolutely necessary for her feet to be
condition you describe that is occurring on her right hoof should be
addressed by your farrier. Any separation occurring in the hoof
structures is an indicator of something going on there that needs to
be addressed by the farrier before it turns into a larger problem. The
best case scenario is that this, too, can be corrected through proper
trimming, although, it will depend on how long and how severe the
separation is and for how long the condition that allowed for this to
happen has been in place. Your farrier should be able to tell if there
is any infection/bacterial growth present that requires further
in conclusion, I think the best I can suggest is that while chipped
hooves are not all that uncommon, large chunks and separation of the
hoof wall should be cause for concern (as you are) and your farrier
should be able to offer you a plan not only to help protect the
damaged hooves while they grow out, but he/she should be able to
assist you in developing a hoof care program that will hopefully put
sound feet under your mare once again.
care of horse's feet is all part of the farrier's job description. It
is not unreasonable to expect straightforward, logical answers to your
questions from the person entrusted with your mare's hoof care. If a
farrier comes upon a situation that they do not feel comfortable in
handling, then most often they will be happy to help find someone to
assist them or you in resolving the situation. There is nothing wrong
with getting a second opinion from another farrier if you are not
comfortable with the current situation.
think you are correct and I applaud you for being concerned about your
mare's hooves. I hope your farrier will listen to your questions and
provide the necessary care for your horse and provide you with the
peace of mind that everything is being done that can be done to get
your horse's hooves back into top condition. If not, then they leave
you with no choice but to look for someone who can.
am sorry I cannot be more specific, but to do so would require being
able to examine your mare and discuss with you all those things that
go into a proper hoof care program.
wish you, your farrier and most of all, your mare, the very best in
resolving her hoof problems.
feel free to contact me if I can be of further assistance.
Q : What
problem is a horse said to have when he takes loud rasping breaths
A: The following links may provide the answer to
Thank you for your question.
Q: How to
remove a horse shoe.
A: I commend you on wanting
to become more involved with your horse’s hoof care program. The
more you know and are able to do will be of great benefit to your
one thing to always remember is that no matter how well-behaved your
horse is, horses get distracted easily and kick even faster, so
anytime you work around horses' feet, you have to be aware of
the danger involved.
trying to remove or replace a horseshoe, you should seek out
professional assistance. Most farriers are more than willing to help
an owner learn how to remove a shoe. It not only takes the horse out
of a potentially dangerous situation, but removing a loose or damaged
shoe may prevent further
damage to the hoof thereby protecting it until the farrier can replace
is a very informative article on removing a horseshoe located at the
following website. http://horsecare.stablemade.com/articles2/shoe_off.htm
may also wish to check out the shoeing related books written for horse
owners located at:
My suggestion is to find a farrier willing to help
you learn how to safely remove a shoe and if you are serious about
learning to trim and shoe your horse, schedule the time to attend a
class that will teach you the techniques necessary to successfully
trim and shoe your horse and manage all your horse’s hoof care
Best of luck to you.
problem is a horse said to have when he takes loud rasping breaths
A: The following links may provide the answer to
Thank you for your question.
Q: How many centimeters
does a HORN (on a horse) grow a month?
A: Assuming we are not talking about a Unicorn,
but hoof growth instead, the amount of hoof growth
is dependant upon a number of different variables ranging from the age
of the horse to its overall health. Additionally, the quality of its
feed, the amount of exercise and environmental conditions will have an
impact on hoof growth.
That being said, the
figures most often quoted for the average hoof growth is between 1/4
to 3/8 inch per month. (Sorry, I don't have the conversion to
centimeters right at hand).
Additional information on
hoof growth can be found online by searching for "hoof growth
Thank you for your question.
need to know four ways you can tell if a horse needs re-shoeing.
A: Here are four possible indications
your horse needs the attention of a farrier.
growth has taken the hooves out of balance.
wall is overgrowing the horseshoe.
shoes/lost and/or missing nails.
wear of horseshoes.
think that my horses have been trimmed way too short, I have two
horses and both of them seem to be very tender on all four feet.
What can I do to help ease their tenderness and how long will their
hooves remain tender?
first thing would be to call the farrier immediately upon your horses
showing signs of lameness so that the cause of problem can be
If your horses have been trimmed
too short, then the farrier should offer (at no charge) to make your
horses comfortable (while bringing their feet back into a balanced
state) until their feet have had a chance to grow out. This may
require re-trimming, pads, slip-on shoes or pads and shoes. The exact
solution will depend on each horse's situation.
If your horses are in pain, then
your vet would be the one to decide if medication to relieve the pain
is something to consider.
If the farrier is unavailable,
then my first suggestion would be to contact another farrier if for no
other reason than you have sore horses and it appears the problem is
with their feet.
Before you can address the
problem, you need to know exactly what is causing your horses to be
sore. Once that has been determined you can work on getting them sound
again. Are they only trimmed too short or is there an additional
problem with the feet being unbalanced beyond the shortness of the
Trimmed too short can mean the
hoof wall was cut short, the frog was over-trimmed, the sole was pared
too deep, or any combination of these things.
Generally, a horse trimmed too
short will be sore until its hooves have had a chance to grow out
enough to provide the required protection. The length of time will
depend on what part of the trim was incorrectly administered, how
severely the injury is, as well as what and how soon corrective
measures are applied.
Making the horses comfortable
until they have had a chance to recover can include putting them on
soft ground, not working them until they are sound, and depending on
just how short they are, placing/taping pads (leather, plastic,
cardboard) on their feet, or using slip-on shoes/boots to provide the
extra cushioning until their feet grow out.
The "just turn them out for a
couple of days and then call me" suggestion is a sure sign that
you need to find someone else to seek advice from concerning your
horse's hoof care. Your horses hurt now and that should be any
Therefore, I suggest you use a
common sense approach in making your horses as comfortable as possible
until such time as a farrier can definitively define the problem and
assist you in alleviating their pain. Then the farrier should take the
necessary steps to correct the situation. In the meantime, you may
wish to try slip-on shoes/boots, but something to consider is that if
the farrier trimmed the some part of the hoof too short, then what is
the possibility that the rest of the job was not done correctly?
Making the horses comfortable is
first, then fixing the problems should follow immediately. Perhaps
having a written record of your horse's hoof lengths and hoof angles
(once they have been trimmed correctly), will help in preventing this
situation from reoccurring.
I wish you the best and your
horses a speedy recovery. Please feel free to contact me if I can be
of further assistance.
long does it take for an abscess to heal?
is one of those questions where the answer begins with, " It
depends on the seriousness of the infection, the location, the cause
and how soon and how aggressively the abscess has been treated. It
also depends on how well the horse responds to the treatment. This
could be days for initial signs of improvement to months for a
complete recovery if the abscess has been allowed to grow unchecked
for a long time before treatment begins.
need to be diagnosed and treatment begun immediately thereafter. The
root cause has to be addressed at the same time in order for the
treatment to be effective.
I would suggest that you contact both your vet and farrier at the
first indication that an abscess may be present. Quite often it will
require the attention of both these individuals, working together with
you, in order to get your horse back on its feet.
appreciate your asking this question.
much does a horse's hoof grow each month?
The amount of hoof growth
is dependant upon a number of different variables ranging from the age
of the horse to its overall health. Additionally, the quality of its
feed, the amount of exercise and environmental conditions will have an
impact on hoof growth.
That being said, the
figures most often quoted for the average hoof growth is between 1/4
to 3/8 inch per month.
Additional information on
hoof growth can be found online by searching for "hoof growth
Thank you for your question.
I was wondering if you can help me find information on the proper way
of trimming and shoeing a Rocky Mountain Horse?
While it is possible for someone other than a trained farrier to
trim and shoe a horse correctly (many, many horse owners and others do
just that … and do it really well), this
process does require training on the part of the individual.
It is through this training
that one comes to realize that each horse needs to be evaluated
independently in order to determine the correct trimming and shoeing
parameters for a particular horse.
You may wish to check out
the following websites for information relating to horse owners and
Also, you may wish to
contact the horseshoeing/farrier association nearest you and see if
there is a farrier nearby that would be willing to help you learn the
correct procedure used to trim/shoe your Rocky Mountain Horse.
Best of luck to you and
serious congratulations are in order for you wanting to learn how to
do this yourself!
Q: How many centimeters does a horn grow every
A: Hoof growth rate averages about 6.35 mm to 9.52
mm per month. Please bear in mind that there are numerous factors that
can influence how fast or slow a hoof will grow.
If you are not referring to hoof growth, then
perhaps a search of the Internet (horn growth, perhaps) will help you
find the answer to your question.
Q: Is there anyway I
can sharpen my horse nippers?
A: Yes. However,
I would recommend either sending them back to the manufacturer for
re-sharpening or you may wish to use a commercial sharpening service.
A search of the Internet may prove helpful in locating a source for
re-sharpening hoof nippers
Doing it yourself is a
possibility, but this is a job where the proper skills and knowing
what you are doing means the difference between a job well done and
reducing a good pair of nippers
to a pair of so-so pull-offs and having to buy new nippers in the end.
This task is more
difficult than it appears (to me, anyway) and is almost on par with
re-sharpening rasps … it has been my experience to let the
professionals handle this job and not take a chance on permanently
ruining a good tool.
Thank you for the question.
Q: What do I do
if I quick my horse?
"quick" you mean driving a nail into the sensitive parts of
the hoof, then first you have to convince the horse that it is best to
let you remove the nail while being very careful to avoid any
reactionary movements (kicks, bites, stomps) by the horse.
for the point of the injury should be as you would for any puncture
wound. Your vet should be able to help you with a detailed treatment
you have removed the offending nail, and the horse has had a chance to
regain its composure, it may be prudent to skip that hole in the shoe
and use another instead.
may wish to evaluate the reason for the mistake, adjusting the shape
and/or fit of the shoe if necessary and reviewing your nailing
technique before continuing.
might be a good idea to watch that hoof for any signs of infection
you and the horse have recovered from the incident, then it will be a
matter of regaining the horse's confidence in your ability to hammer
on his foot without causing harm.
you for your question, and if it is not just a rhetorical one, this
type of injury does need proper care and judicious observation.
I have had my horse for less than a year, and yesterday I was lounging
her before I was going to ride her...and she tripped on her right rear
foot...at first I didn't think anything of it, thinking maybe she was
not paying attention, and accidentally tripped, and she wasn't
limping, so I asked her to canter, and she wouldn't use her back foot.
I stopped her and checked her out, and made sure that nothing was
sore, or tender...and at the front of her pastern she is sorta
tender, but not really...and nothing was hot, so I got an older wiser
horse person who was there to take a look at her before I did anything
else, and I lounged her again and she would not put weight on her foot
while she cantered, but is perfectly content to walk and trot. And
then she tripped again...and after that she started limping...so I put
a cold water hose on it for 10-15 minutes, and then put frozen pees on
it for another 10-15 minutes...and wrapped it, gave her some buteless-bute
and put her up in a small foaling yard, so she did not have enough
room to run around. This morning she is still limping, and sore, but
she bares weight on it with no pain whatsoever...it is only when she
is walking fast that you can detect a limp and even then it is very
subtle...and she is still not using her foot when she canters. I
called my vet, and she seems to think that she might be getting ready
to abscess, but this has not been gradual...and other horses that I
have worked with gradually get sore, and then they abscess...but this
just happened yesterday...She was completely sound beforehand...I am
I can see where you might be confused, what with the horse behaving
as she is and your vet's possible diagnosis that she might be
"getting ready to abscess."
While it is neigh on impossible to accurately diagnose over the
internet, my initial thought is that since the horse's symptoms came
on suddenly, after she, "tripped on her right rear foot,"
then that would be where I would begin looking for the source of the
Being "sorta tender" at the front of her pastern right
after the tripping might indicate that she actually interfered with
herself and the injury may have been the result of one foot striking
the other. Then again, she may have just taken a "bad" step
and injured herself in doing so. You may wish to consider x-rays if
you feel this would be helpful in diagnosing the problem.
Your treatments sound right on target and it is good that you called
the vet right away. I hope she was able to offer some form of
assistance besides the "she may be getting ready to
abscess." I am not real sure exactly what she means, but
hopefully, her counseling included a way to prevent this from
happening. I always thought that abscesses were either there or not
and while they may appear as the result of an injury, pre-treating
involved treating the injury so as to preclude the formation of a
You may wish to contact your farrier as he or she, as the case may
be, may be able to offer a more specific diagnosis after examining and
observing your horse. After all, horse's feet and injuries to them are
what they deal with on a daily basis. That, and farriers often work
with vets in diagnosing and treating hoof injuries. The farrier most
likely will be able to determine if there is an abscess present.
The fact that she won't use her foot at a canter would seem to
indicate that perhaps the injury is trauma related. I think you should
trust your judgment and proceed accordingly.
If you want a second opinion from another vet and/or farrier, by all
means get one. Both of these professionals should be able to discuss
your horse's situation with you and be able to explain what is
happening in such a way as to ally your concerns. This is part of
What it comes down to is, if you think more should be done to assist
you in diagnosing your horse's problem, again, trust your judgment and
seek out professional help. I would suggest that you not be afraid to
voice your concerns to both your vet or farrier.
As I'm sure you are aware, the most important thing is to find the
source of the injury so that you can begin treatment that will allow
your horse a speedy recovery.
Please feel free to contact me again if I can be of further
When do horseshoes need to be replaced.
Horseshoes need to be replaced when they are no longer able to perform
their function satisfactorily.
may be due to excessive wear at the nail holes and/or excessive wear
on the shoe itself.
the wear pattern of the shoe becomes an issue as to adversely
influencing the breakover of the hoof, then it needs to be replaced.
the reason for using the horseshoe changes, then the horseshoes may
need to be removed, replaced or changed to meet the new requirements
of the horse.
wear out at different rates depending on a number of things such as
the type of material the shoe is made of, what kind of work the horse
has been doing, as well as the hardness of the ground surface.
course, the rate of hoof growth is a material factor in deciding when
horseshoes need to be reset or replaced, but I'm assuming your
question pertains only to the horseshoe itself.
in doubt, you should contact your farrier who will be able to tell you
if the shoes need to be replaced.
you for asking this question.
I have had the same farrier for 2 1/2 years,
never a problem. After the last trim my horse walked off from the
trimming just fine. The next afternoon (about 24 hours later) my horse
was in agony. Her eyes were big, the veins on her face stuck out, and
she walked like a wooden soldier - obviously hurting with every step.
I gave her bute and kept her in her stall till the next afternoon and
she improved daily. Here's the thing, in the same 36 hour period (add
about 12 hours before the trimming) she was put out in a new pasture.
The hooves did look short, but I'm no expert. Others have
suggested the new grass made her founder (first time ever for this 14
year old horse). I have no idea what to think was the cause.
My horse improved with every day and in one week was moving
normally. But it was a nightmare to see her in so much pain. How do I
know what caused it?
My farrier is good and I've never heard of anyone complaining,
but I know no one is perfect every time either. The founder idea
scares me because that means, apparently, my horse will probably
founder again (as I've never heard of a horse foundering only
Any idea how I can possibly tell if the trim was too short or
if my horse foundered??? Would really appreciate another opinion.
While it is
possible for any horse to founder regardless of it's age, it has been
my experience that founder rarely, if ever, will just go away if left
A horse that is
foundering needs immediate treatment, as this situation will progress
rapidly with the horse becoming increasingly more lame over a very
short period of time.
That your horse
recovered so quickly and was moving normally in a weeks time would
suggest that the painful condition she experienced was most likely the
result of a bad trim.
While it is
impossible to make a definitive diagnosis without being able to
examine the horse, the
symptoms you describe are common when a horse has been trimmed too
hooves looking short; I suggest that the next time her feet are
trimmed, you ask the farrier for the hoof lengths and hoof angles she
is trimmed to in order to balance her feet. Also, I suggest that every
horse owner trust their judgment whenever they think something has
changed with their horse.
I would suggest
keeping a shoeing record of her hoof lengths and hoof angles just so
you know if she is being trimmed consistently as well as being able to
tell any farrier exactly how long/short her feet need to be trimmed in
order for her to remain sound.
Everyone should know
exactly how their horse’s hooves need to be trimmed (and shod if
necessary) in order for the horse’s feet to be balanced.
thing is that once you know exactly how your horse’s feet need to be
trimmed in order to be balanced, then this information makes it easier
to be sure her feet are trimmed correctly. You can measure them
yourself just to be sure, but if you ask your farrier to trim her feet
to specific lengths and angles, and you are there, you can see for
yourself as he measures each hoof for the correct settings. It does
not add any measurable time to the appointment, but does wonders for
your peace of mind, and most importantly, provides your horse with the
consistency of a balanced trim.
A very short
word or two concerning hoof lengths and hoof angles. These are
specific to each horse. You cannot look for, feel for, imagine or
conjure up by any known method, the correct hoof lengths and hoof
angles. Herein is the Catch 22 … the horse has to be trimmed
correctly in order to arrive at the correct settings. This requires a
farrier capable of examining a horse and being able to trim the hooves
to the correct hoof lengths and hoof angles for that horse. Then you
take the measurements and by knowing them, you are able to provide
consistency as well as being able to show any farrier just how you
want your horse trimmed.
You might find
the information at this webpage, http://www.antelopepress.com/hs_record.htm
to be helpful. The little record book is not necessary; you can make
up your own. I only came up with this as a simple way for horse owners
to keep this information handy. What I do think is important is that
the horse owner to have a way to verify as well as show any farrier
how your horse’s feet need to be trimmed in order to keep him sound.
The part about
taking these measurements yourself are located toward the bottom of
attempt this if you and your horse are comfortable with you working
around his feet. Even then, one must be aware at all times that this
is very hazardous work. The least little distraction may result in
severe injuries to you and/or the horse.
While the object
is to never have your horse founder, it can happen and if it does,
then it should be your farrier, your vet and your goal to make sure
that it only happens once. If a horse founders twice, then either the
reason for the first time was misdiagnosed, the horse foundered for a
different reason or the situation that precipitated the first occasion
was allowed to be repeated. While it may be true that once a horse has
foundered it might be more susceptible to foundering again, the
easiest way to prevent a reoccurrence is to avoid the conditions that
preceded the first occurrence.
Something else you
may wish to consider is taking measurements of her feet now that she
is not lame. At least you know at this length she shouldn't be lame.
While no one is
perfect and mistakes will be made, the very first thing you want to do
if your horse comes up lame immediately after a farrier has worked on
her feet is to CALL the farrier. They should return at once and help
you in determining the cause of your horse's lameness. If the cause of
the problem is related to the farrier's work, then the farrier should
make every effort to resolve the situation. And this includes any pads
or shoes or other devices necessary to relieve the horse's pain and
suffering as well as accepting responsibility for costs associated
with getting your horse back on its feet. "She'll be okay in a
couple of days" is not an acceptable response.
It is very good
news that your horse has recovered from this injury. I hope you have
discussed this with your farrier as most farriers will want to know if
they have caused a problem for your horse and will do all they can to
make sure it does not happen again.
My Daughters 23
yr. old Arab gelding has just recently gone lame on his front feet,
she uses him for 4-H and has been riding him everyday recently
preparing for fair and he was fine until about 4 days ago. Our farrier
seems to think his soles are dropping. How can I tell if that is the
problem or if it is just too much protein? I would really like to
solve this problem and see if she can use him for fair but she is
supposed to be going next Wednesday.
first thought would be to be sure that his lameness is not being
caused by the amount of work he is doing in preparation for the fair.
I'm sure you have considered his age, overall physical condition and
the ground surface he is being worked on. Also whether or not he is
barefoot or wearing shoes.
soles will protrude below the ground surface of the hoof wall. A true
dropped sole is most often associated with chronic founder and the
rotation downward of the coffin bone. If your horse has experienced
chronic founder problems, then I would suggest contacting your vet as
well as a farrier experienced in treating laminitis/founder.
a farrier is going to make a diagnosis that identifies dropping soles
as a problem, then I would assume that he or she will be making every
effort to treat the situation before it becomes worse.
founder is involved, it is most likely that your horse will have
gotten progressively worse in the time between your email and my
response. If this is the case, then a call to the vet would definetily
be in order.
however, you think that perhaps his soles are sore from working on a
hard surface or a too short trim, or anything other than
laminitis/founder, then adding some extra protection to his feet might
be something you could consider. Your farrier should be able to help
you with this, although you may wish to consider a pair of slip-on
shoes or boots. If this is not an option, then shoeing the horse with
pads may add enough extra protection to allow your horse to recover in
time for the fair.
course, this will depend on just how sore he is as well as if there is
bruising to the soles that may require a longer recovery period.
I would suggest that if a farrier thinks your horse's soles are
dropping, then treatment should being immediately as this is not
something that will fix itself by ignoring the condition.
may have to search for a farrier who has experience in treating
horse's with this type problem. Your vet may be able to direct you to
such a farrier as quite often treatment will involve both vet and
farrier working together.
the farrier is unable to offer more in the way of a diagnosis, then I
would suggest getting a second opinion from another farrier and/or
hope your Arab is on the road to recovery by the time you read this.
of luck and I hope you, your daughter and your horse have a great time
at the fair.
just bought a 8yo Quarterhorse for barrel racing. We wasn't lame
the 2 times I rode him before I purchased him, and he passed a vet
check before I brought him home. The people selling him did trim
his feet about 5 days before I bought him. Now after having him
for 1 week, he is completely lame on both front feet. I saw
another vet who did x-rays, and only a small amount of calcifications
were seen on the back of the pastern bone. Nothing near the
joints themselves. It was felt that his feet were likely trimmed
too short. I then had a farriet see him and put shoes with pads
on him. He is better, but still not 100% after 3 days. The
farrier thought he should be better by now if it was just that his
hooves were too short. Any opinions on how long it may take to
heal from this?
I am sorry to hear of your
horse’s lameness problems. Trimming hooves too short is an all to
common problem that should never happen.
is great that you had your horse rechecked by both vet and farrier.
The shoes and pads should be providing extra protection and support.
this is a case of his feet being trimmed too short, then the recovery
time is pretty much going to depend on how fast his feet grow and how
sore and possibly bruised his feet are as a result being trimmed too
should be allowed to recover without being worked until he is fully
three days is all it takes, but if he was trimmed really short it may
take a good bit longer … days to weeks.
am sorry that I cannot offer a specific schedule, but I’m afraid
that there is no real definite answer to your question, as it pretty
much depends on the horse, how short he was trimmed, if there is any
bruising, and how quickly his feet grow out.
of luck to you and your horse for a speedy recovery.
can the mismanagement of a horses tendon injury affect the prognosis?
injury to the tendons should be considered serious and treated as
with any injury, possible consequences of failure to provide the
proper care may result in/or interfere with, and/or prolong the
healing process. It also opens the way for possible further
deterioration of the original injury, as well as raising the risk of
injuries. Plus, there is always the risk that an improperly
treated injury may result in some form of permanent damage.
one is not satisfied with the current level of care, then perhaps
seeking additional professional assistance … a second or even third
opinion … would be a viable option.
you for your question.
horses hoof is cracking both up and down and also across.
are two basic types of hoof cracks: superficial and deep. The best
advice I can give based on your description, is for you to have your
horse examined by a farrier who will be able to determine exactly the
type of crack and offer a plan to correct the situation.
cracks can be of either type and if they are of the deep variety,
treatment should begin immediately, otherwise the situation will most
likely deteriorate. If the cracks are of the superficial nature, then
your farrier can help you mitigate their effects.
important thing is to find out exactly what is causing your horse’s
hoof to crack.
horizontal cracks tend to be more of an after the fact type problem.
They may be the result of an injury to the bottom of the hoof or
trauma to the hoof itself or to the coronary band. In my experience,
once the horizontal crack shows up, the inciting event is most likely
over and the crack needs to be monitored as it gets closer to the
ground surface where it may cause the hoof to break off unevenly or
interfere with the nailing on of a shoe.
farrier needs to examine the horse and help you arrive at the proper
course of action. Cracks can be very debilitating to a horse and your
prompt attention to the matter is going to be very instrumental in its
is good that you are watching your horse’s feet and even better that
you recognize there may be a problem. The best way to keep your
horse’s feet in good condition is through a well executed hoof care
program designed by both you and your farrier.
Q: MY horse had an injury on Jan 15 2007 where
his hoof was almost severed. We took him to the vet and they
kept it clean and free from infection but as it healed he began
walking on the back of his hoof so the vet put a splint and a special
wedge to try an get him to put more weight on the front of the hoof.
The horse went the other way and he is walking of the back of his hoof
and now the hoof is completely turned up. The vet now thinks
that he is actually growing another hoof and the turned up one may
fall off eventually. I have never heard of this. Have you
ever heard of anything like this. “Easy” the horse is not in
any pain anymore and seems to walk around and even run on the back
part of his foot. It is hard and not just callous material.
It looks totally deformed right now but we have not put him down
because he is fat and happy and doesn't seem to be in any pain.
I guess my question to you is if you have ever seen anything or heard
of anything similar to this?
I’m really sorry to hear
of your horse’s hoof injury. The best new is that he is as you put
it, “fat and happy and doesn’t seem to be in a any pain.”
I really don’t think I
can say that I have seen anything quite like you have described,
although, it is really hard to be sure without being able to see the
situation first hand.
"The vet now thinks
that he is actually growing another hoof and the turned up one may
fall off eventually. I have never heard of this. Have you
ever heard of anything like this." Not
to see if they can offer a referral to a farrier who has experience
with injuries of this nature. I would suggest that a farrier who has
treated injuries of this nature will be able to help you in
determining possible corrective actions.
You might consider
x-rays of the hoof in order to assist you in determining just what is
If you are looking for
second opinions as to what to expect with this type injury and your
horse’s particular reaction and recovery to it, you may wish to
consider contacting a farrier/horseshoeing school and/or a veterinary
school to see if they would not be interested in working with you as
part of their educational programming.
I wish you and your horse the
best of luck in dealing with this very difficult situation. Please
feel free to contact me if there is any
way I can be of assistance.
horse has a fracture of the extensor process of the p3 on her hoof.
Can we put a bar shoe on her to help it. I know we can operate
but she is 20 years old and we cant afford the operation on a old
horse. Thank you.
I’m sorry to hear that your
mare has a fracture like this. There are a number of variables that
have to be considered before coming up with a plan to treat this
You need to know what fractured, the
location of the fracture and exactly how severe is the fracture. This
information will guide whoever helps you in deciding on the best
course of action for you and your horse. Usually farrier and vet work
together on injuries of this nature.
Your vet and farrier would be the
first people I would consult. If they are unable to provide you with
the information you seek then I see no problem in asking for second
In order to be able to recommend any
type of shoe/treatment, I’m afraid I would have to be able to
examine your mare before offering a particular course of action. I
would also want to work closely with your vet and together develop a
treatment plan that may or may not include surgery.
That being said, you might wish to
contact the folks who manufacture what they claim is a shoe designed
specifically for treating injuries to the P3. Their contact
information is at the bottom of their webpage. I have no personal
knowledge of this product and therefore am unable to offer anything
more that their posted information.
The EDSS P3 Fracture Kit
Here are a couple of websites with
additional information concerning similar injuries/treatments.
The choice of shoe/treatment needs
to be carefully selected and it will need to be applied properly in
order for it to have the desired affect.
If you are in need of a farrier,
perhaps you could contact the state farrier association, or the
American Farrier’s Association at: http://www.americanfarriers.org/find_a_farrier/index.php
Additionally, if there is a
horseshoeing school or vet school within range, they may be able to
offer a referral or even be willing to treat your horse as part of
their educational course.
I am sorry that I cannot be more
specific, but it would not be fair to your horse or to you for me to
suggest a particular type of shoe (such as a bar shoe, which may in
fact prove helpful), without being able to examine the horse and
x-rays of the injured hoof.
I wish you the very best
of luck in finding a satisfactory treatment for your mare. Please let
me know if I can be of further assistance.
do you know what kind of horseshoe to use and why? ex: eggbar, borium
Knowledge and experience. Knowledge from
education such as attending horseshoeing schools, mentoring and
apprenticeship. Experience garnered through one’s education and work
experience that begins from day one and continues throughout a career.
shoes (shaped like an egg) are often used in treating horses with
flexor tendon trouble; low, sloping heels, founder and navicular
is a traction increasing substance that should be applied with great
care, forethought and understanding of the possible consequences of
applying this material.
you would like more information on this subject, you might wish to
visit the American Farrier’s Association webpage or your local
library for additional material concerning horseshoes, and
horseshoeing in general.
you for your query.
- I have a 5yr TB that I bought in sept. from my trainer. at that time
he was sound 100%. when my farrier shod him the first time he place a
1 degree pad on his front right because he is completely without heel.
time went by without any problems and the next time he was shod he put
a 2 degree pad on. at this point my horse started to become lame after
a trail ride or a long lesson. the lameness would only last a day or
two, but it was constantly appearing. I became concerned. I thought
that he may have had an old racetrack injury because the tendons on
the cannon bone of this leg were twice the size of his other leg. so i
thought that this was an old injury that had started to bother him. so
i took him to my vet for xrays and a lameness exam. we took that front
right shoe off and after the xrays my vet showed me that his tendons
are larger because they have to compensate for the lack of heel and
the changing of his position. when i put the wedges on - 2 degree to
be specific - he was sore from the change. so my vet showed me that
his coffin bone was actually wearing down on the outside of the bone,
looked like swiss cheese on the xray. So with instructions for my
farrier from my vet, which was not something he wanted to hear, I then
placed a third degree wedge on him and needless to say 6 wks later he
is even more sensitive and lame 75% of the time with very light
riding. my question for you is should i go back and start over with
the first degree wedge and give him more time before moving up? or
should i just let him continue with the third degree and hope that
eventually he "gets use to it" ? in my mind i am
worried about the weakness in that coffin bone and my vets theory is
that after two rounds of shoeing with the third degree then she wants
to rexray the leg and see if the bone is filling in with scar tissue.
so what do you think?
truly sorry to hear of your horse’s lameness problems.
situation does not appear to be getting better, on the contrary, it
seems things are going the other way.
your query, there are a few things that I would like clarified before
trying to provide a useful reply.
have a couple of questions that I would like to ask so I may better
understand the situation.
it would be convenient, I would appreciate it if you could contact me
Q: We decided to allow our two horses, age 4, to be barefoot instead of
shod. I did not see how a nail through a hoof was an improvement on
mother nature. However, this is the second time, after a trim, my mare
is not walking easily. It seems to happen only after a trim. Is it
possible she was trimmed too short again, or should I be looking at
founder possibilities? Her condition is excellent by vet and farrier
standards, both say her hoof health is very good. Am I being concerned
for nothing, or should we look deeper into the situation?
much the only reason (aside from medical/correction) to put shoes on a
horse is if going barefoot results in more hoof being worn off than is
being replaced by natural growth. In other words, in most cases, if
what you are asking a horse to do can be done without causing the hoof
to wear off to the point of endangering the horse, then by all means,
a nail through a hoof is not so much an attempt to improve upon Mother
Nature as it is attempting to let a human ask more of the horse than
the horse’s hoof is meant to endure in its natural state …
carrying a rider on its back over rocky hill and dale for weeks on end
to the extreme, for example.
your mare should not result in it becoming lame. If she was not lame
before the trim, then she should not be afterwards. It is that simple.
A balanced hoof does not result in a lame horse.
it possible she was trimmed too short? Absolutely! The easiest way I
can think of to prevent this is for you to have and maintain a record
of her trimming and shoeing. If you know the hoof lengths and hoof
angles that keep her in a balanced state, then you can remind the
farrier at each visit of these measurements and he or she can trim the
horse to these settings and not use the, “ I’ve been doing this
since me and Noah was on the Arc, and I’ll just trust my good eye
… no, not that one … the other one,” method. While most farriers
who have been doing this for a while are able to balance a horse’s
feet just by virtue of their experience (and good eye), you’ll also
see these same farriers check their work just to be sure.
a horse too short is a serious mistake on the farrier’s part and
while once can happen to anyone, if this happens twice to a horse, the
farrier needs to review and adjust how they are trimming your horse.
Again, A balanced hoof does not result in a lame horse.
the farrier is unwilling to listen to you and/or unable or address
your concerns to your satisfaction, then you need to find a farrier
your mare is only sore after being trimmed and she recovers in a few
days, and is not bothered again until the next trimming, then I would
assume the problem is related to the trim rather than founder. You do
say that her hoof health is good according to both your vet and
farrier, so I’m assuming they are aware of the lameness problem and
hopefully they would have examined her to eliminate this possibility.
being said, founder is a really nasty problem and if you think there
is any possibility of your horse foundering, then your vet/farrier
should be contacted immediately.
do not think your concern is for naught, after all, your horse is
exhibiting signs that she is in distress and that is not to be
ignored. And, it would appear that there is a direct correlation
between the farrier visits and her lameness.
my opinion, you are quite correct in being concerned and in trying to
rectify the situation. The logical place to start is with the farrier.
If the trimming is not the cause of her lameness, then the farrier
should be able to tell you that. If the problem is not directly hoof
related, then your vet should examine your mare and if necessary,
coordinate with your farrier in developing a treatment program that
will get your horse back on her feet.
wish you the best of luck in resolving this so your mare does not have
to suffer after her next trim. Please feel free to contact me if I can
be of further assistance.
horse has developed waxy stuff in between her teats and I don’t know
what it is! my instructor has had a look but she isn’t that
experienced in mares!
what is it n what should I do !?
While this is not
really in a farrier’s area of expertise, my first thought regarding
the “waxy stuff between her teats,” is that your mare is
exhibiting pre-foaling signs. I would recommend having her examined by
your vet in order to clarify the situation.
You may find the
information at these websites to be helpful:
If your mare is
not pregnant, then I would suggest having her examined by your vet
anyway as this is going to be the best way to find out the cause of
the waxy deposits.
Sorry I cannot be
more helpful, but I think your vet is the person you need to have out
to examine your horse.
sorry I cannot be more specific in helping to resolve your dilemma.
Please feel free to contact me if I can be of further assistance.
Thank you and I wish you and your horse the very best.
horse has recently developed a problem being shod on both hinds, this
incident occurring after her having a sore foot (may of been due to
the farrier hammering the nail in the wrong part) although she can be
shod on both front feet, she is a very gentle mare but I just can't
understand this. Do you think it may be something to do with her
pelvis or hooves etc (she had supposedly never done trotting
races-(she is a French trotter)- when I bought her and has been
brought on to event, she has been tense at times when ridden but there
is no problem with her back, she was shod when I bought her also!)?
A sudden change in how a horse responds to having its feet handled is a
very serious matter indeed. A thorough examination of the entire horse
to see if there is any physical reason for the change is certainly in
order. There are any number of reasons a horse may not want to lift
its hind feet and you need to eliminate them as possible causes for
her behavior. If there is a problem then this needs to be addressed
the reason for the change is directly related to an incident that
occurred during a trimming/shoeing appointment, then the farrier
should make every effort to help the horse and the horse owner
overcome the negative results.
long it may take for a horse to become accustomed (trained!) to
standing quietly while having its feet handled, trimmed and shod (if
necessary), it can all be undone in a fraction of a second.
did what and why, is immaterial to the horse. All it knows is that
this was an unpleasant experience and it is now afraid that it will
happen again. You and your farrier must make sure that it doesn’t.
If the farrier is unable or unwilling to help you with this, then you
probably need to find another farrier.
your horse’s problem stems from a nail being hammered into the
“wrong” part of the hoof, then this could very well be the reason
for her change in behavior. “Quicking” a horse would be akin to
having a sliver driven under one of your nails … OUCH! If someone
did this to you while clipping your nails, you know you are going to
be just a bit jumpy when it came time to have your nails trimmed the
of the reason, I would suggest that once you have determined that
there is no physical reason for her change in attitude other than a
bad experience with the farrier, it is never too soon to begin a
you are not familiar with teaching a horse to stand quietly and pick
up its feet for the farrier, you will need to ask for assistance in
order to go at the problem in a competent manner. Either a farrier or
trainer should be able to assist you with this. I would recommend
starting a retraining program immediately and continue until the horse
is no longer reluctant to allow her hind feet to be trimmed/shod
without it being a problem.
a horse has had a bad experience with its hoof care program, it is
imperative that you begin correcting any problems arising from the
experience at once.
this is a farrier-related problem, then the farrier end of it has to
be addressed and fixed before the next rimming/shoeing. That is one
part of the solution.
long it takes to convince the horse that all is well and she is not
going to be hurt the next time the farrier works on her feet is going
to depend on exactly what caused the problem, as well as how the
farrier responded to the situation.
you go about this will also depend on your own skills and confidence
in your abilities in working with your horse’s feet. If you have any
doubts, please find a farrier to help you with this. Working around
feet is extremely hazardous work and the risk of serious injury is too
great to ignore.
of the most important items, if not the most important item to bring
to any part of the hoof care program is patience and understanding.
This is especially true after the horse has had a bad experience that
causes it to transform its behavior from good to bad.
conclusion, I would suggest a thorough examination of the entire horse
in order to find out if she has any problems not farrier/hoof related
that need to be addressed. If you find something, then fixing it may
correct your horse’s reluctance to have her hind feet trimmed/shod.
the problem is farrier/hoof related, then it is up to you to determine
if the farrier is going to be able to help you correct the problem. In
a worse case scenario, you may have to find another farrier.
you have a plan to retrain your horse, then it will be up to you to
follow through with patience, consistency and understanding.
of luck to you and your horse. Please let me know if I can be of
farrier pulled my horses shoes and scraped the sole of his left front
hoof. There was immediately a strong, steady spray of blood that would
not stop with direct hand pressure, but required a thick pressure
dressing and having my horse stand with weight on his affected side.
The farrier had no answers except a possible undetected abscess. The
horse had not previously shown any indications of favoring that foot.
Are there any possible explanations or future ways to avoid such a
scary (for me anyway) situations?
sorry your horse has had such a rough time of it. It is very
unfortunate that he has to suffer through such an injury.
is pretty much impossible for me to provide more than an educated
guess as to what happened without having been there or being able to
examine the wound.
has been my experience that should an undetected abscess be suddenly
opened by paring of the sole, at the most, there is discharge of pus
and some blood, but not a strong, steady spray of blood as you have
described. This sounds more like a mistake where the sole was pared
much too aggressively, or perhaps the horse made a sudden movement,
resulting in the knife cutting way too deep into the sensitive tissues
of the hoof.
course, anything is possible, so I suppose the thing to do now is
concentrate on doing all you can to help him recover from the injury.
will want to treat this as you would any other serious injury. Now
that there is an opening on the bottom of the sole, the risk of an
infection establishing itself there is much greater and consequently,
the possibility of an abscess forming has increased.
can remain undetected for quite some time, although eventually, the
horse is going to exhibit signs of lameness that usually increase
rapidly as the infection gains a foothold.
may sound a bit foolish, but the only way too avoid such an incident
from repeating itself is for whoever is paring the sole to be very
careful and not try to trim too much of the sole. It is that simple.
Cut too deeply and you are going to hit blood … and lame the horse
… and facilitate a recovery period.
situation is right on the mark. Hopefully, the farrier is making every
effort to help you and your horse recover from this injury. If you
have any doubts about treating the injury, then I would not hesitate
to have the vet out to suggest a treatment plan.
Please let me know if
there is anything else I can do for you. I wish you and your horse a
horse has an abscess in his left front hoof. But it has not yet come
out the bottom or top of his hoof. How long does it usually take to
An abscess will not usually correct itself. An abscess is a very serious
event and needs to be seen by your farrier and quite possibly, your
are links to a few articles on abscesses that you may find
have your horse examined by your farrier and/or your veterinarian.
Once your horse has been properly diagnosed, a satisfactory
course of treatment can be prescribed.
I wish you the best of
luck in getting your horse the medical treatment he needs in order to
resolve this problem.
My tall Warmblood has the high/low heel syndrome in the front. I
believe this due to his tendency to spread his legs (they are long)
when he eats hay on the ground. The leg with the low heel is forward
and it certainly looks like a lot of pressure on that foot. I
now try to feed his hay in a manger, feed a hoof supplement and trim
trim trim the toe of the low heel (and set shoe back). It's been
partially successful, he is staying balanced longer, but there really
hasn’t been much heel growth. Five weeks into his shoeing the
disparity of the angle can make him uneven at the walk (I ride
dressage). Okay here my question...The last few days I have
noticed that my horse appears unbalance on the other hoof (not a club
foot, pretty much a normal heel). When he is standing he has
some unusual movement in the leg, almost looks like he is over at the
knee. Its very subtle. He was shoed less then a week ago
and I thought then that my farrier could remove more heel on that side
(my farrier and I go head to head often on this, he is very reluctant
to lower the heel on the normal side, but I only want a tiny tiny bit
trimmed off, so that at 5 weeks my horse doesn’t get short on that
side). Is it possible that the foot is unbalanced? If yes,
what error could cause this? Also, I like my farrier very much,
any thoughts on how I can tactfully address this with my farrier?
Thank you! Sarena
it possible that the foot is unbalanced?” I’d have to say that is a distinct
possibility ... although not the only one.
I can tactfully address this with my farrier?” Over warm cookies and a
glass of cold milk? Seriously, your farrier should be willing to
listen to all your concerns, questions and/or suggestions with an open
mind and be willing to explain his position in courteous and
thoughtful manner ... whether he agrees with you or not. And, if not,
then he should be able to explain why your ideas will not work.
“Just because” or “I’ve been doing it this way for years” is
not acceptable. This is your horse, you see him way more often than
the farrier and your input is a vital part of a sound hoof care
program. If your farrier will not listen to you, or is unable or
unwilling to explain his reasoning for how he trims your horse’s
feet, then you probably need to find another farrier.
Of course, you have to understand that time is money to a
farrier and if your questions are going to add a significant amount of
time to an appointment, you may wish to offer to compensate the
farrier for this additional time. Have your questions written out and
be prepared to take notes on the answers. If you approach this in a
calm, professional manner, I would hope that your farrier would
reciprocate in kind.
I would suggest that the first thing that you need to do is
to establish the exact cause of the long-toe/low-heel situation. A set
of radiographs (x-rays) may be helpful. A good horse vet is
indispensable. Once you determine the cause, then a proper trimming
regime can be established.
I would also suggest that you keep a written record of how
your horse’s feet are being trimmed. This does not have to be
complicated. You can make up your own form or use one of those
available on the market. Example:(http://www.antelopepress.com/Blacksmith's%20Page.htm)
The important thing is for you to know exactly how his feet
are being trimmed at each appointment. This will allow you to see if
any changes that are made regarding hoof lengths and hoof angles are
producing the desired results. Once the correct hoof lengths and hoof
angles have been established, then you can say, “This is exactly how
I want his feet trimmed.”
If your farrier does not use a hoof gauge or ruler to measure
the hoof, then ask them to show you how you can explain to another
farrier how you want his feet trimmed. Sure, you want your farrier to
be the only one to work on his feet, but what happens if you are out
of town at a show or at your trainers and his feet need work? Or,
heaven forbid, something happens to your farrier and he is unable work
on your horse. You need to have some way of conveying this information
to someone seeing your horse for the first time.
The correct hoof angles and hoof lengths for a particular
horse are determined according to the conformation of that horse and
not just some arbitrary numbers drawn out of thin air. It is sort of a
Catch-22 situation. First the horse has to be trimmed correctly, then
you have a valid set of numbers to work with … not the other way
You can take your own measurements (http://www.antelopepress.com/hs_record.htm#Hoof%20measurements%20and%20what%20good%20are%20they?)
if you are comfortable working around your horse’s feet.
Now, what you could do is take measurements every couple of
weeks and see how his feet are growing and how this affects the way he
travels. If you can tell your farrier that your horse’s gait changes
dramatically when his feet reach a certain point, then you and the
farrier may want to adjust your trimming schedule accordingly.
Trimming a horse that has naturally occurring
long-toe/low-heel feet requires a farrier with the knowledge and
experience in dealing with this type situation. These feet are not all
that difficult in maintaining, however, they do require a certain
skill level and understanding of the cause and the effect of different
If you make a search on Google using the terms long
toe low heel
there are a number of links to articles discussing this
It is very important that you establish the reason for the
long-toe/low-heel set-up with your horse’s feet. If it is a matter
of trimming … then that is simple to fix. If, on the other hand, it
is a conformation problem, then you need to find a farrier (and vet)
who is capable of recognizing the problem for what it is and knowing
how to correctly trim both front feet as well as establish a trimming
schedule that keeps the horse balanced for the longest period of time.
In conclusion, first establish the cause of the problem. If
it is simply a problem with the way the feet are being trimmed, then
the answer is to correctly trim the feet (not so simple if the farrier
in unable to do this).
If the problem is with the conformation of the horse, then
the farrier working on your horse’s feet needs to understand the
problem and be capable of trimming the feet (both fronts in this case)
to balance the horse.
You may wish to increase your knowledge of the
long-tow/low-heel syndrome in order to better converse with your
farrier. It sounds like you have been working together on this problem
for a while and have been making some progress. I think that is great
and perhaps keeping a record of how your horse performs at various
intervals in the trimming cycle will help better explain your concerns
to your farrier. Being able to say that something happens at this time
and under these conditions may make it easier to get your point across
to your farrier.
wish you, your farrier and your horse the best of luck in resolving
this problem. Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.
I have a 5 year old Qtr. gelding. I was cantering him and all of a
sudden he came up dead lame in front. I got off and checked his foot,
I couldn't see anything. Led him back to the barn he seemed to get a
little better but still held his foot up. I walked him some and he
seemed a little better but still off. What could of happened??? Thanks
The majority of times I’ve seen a horse “pack” a hoof, it's
because there has been some sort of puncture wound or severe bruising
event. It is extremely important that the source of this injury be
located quickly so treatment can begin as soon as possible. Packing a
hoof is an indication of something gone seriously wrong.
he recovers quickly enough to the point he is placing his foot on the
ground within minutes, then he may have just taken a wrong step or
found a sharp object to step on.
matter what, I would suggest a through examination of the hoof, being
mindful that if there is in fact a puncture and the object is still in
the sole or frog, then jostling the object may elicit a violent
reaction from the horse as it reacts to the sudden pain. Sometimes it
can be difficult to locate an object, hole or crack in a sole or frog
so it is helpful to gently but thoroughly clean the hoof first.
you cannot find anything wrong with the hoof, then I would move up the
leg paying particular attention to the various joints and tendons.
Again, the first step is washing the leg to make it easier to find any
foreign objects or injuries.
too, you have to be very gentle and careful when checking the joints
for injuries. If the injury was serious enough for the horse to go
dead lame and pack a hoof, then the pain had to be intense and should
you hit that particular button, more than likely, the reaction is
going to be sudden and intense.
an examination of the hoof is a must in cases like this. Unless you
can locate the source of the injury and are comfortable in your
ability to begin treatment, I would strongly suggest calling your
farrier and or vet and scheduling an appointment as soon as possible.
and bruises to the hoof need to be diagnosed quickly and treatment
begun immediately thereafter in order to relieve the horse’s pain
he has sprained or twisted a joint or injured a tendon or anything
like this, then like any other injury, the quicker treatment begins,
the sooner the horse will recover.
conclusion, if you cannot find the cause of the injury yourself, then
I strongly suggest contacting your farrier and or vet to help you in
locating the source of your horse’s problem.
It is better to be safe
than sorry when dealing with a packed hoof. Good luck in getting your
horse back on his feet and please let me know if I can be of further
long does it take for an abscess to heal?
is no simple answer to this question. A lot will depend on how quickly
the abscess is located and treatment begun. Other considerations
include the condition of the horse, its surroundings and how well it
reacts to the treatment prescribed by your farrier and/or vet. It is
imperative that the abscess be taken seriously and treatment begun
are links to a few articles that may provide you with some useful
information concerning abscesses of the hoof.
information can be found by using the terms abscesses in hoof in a Google search.
I hope this information helps resolve your situation. Please let me
know if I can be of further assistance.
Have a horse witch arrived in Puerto Rico , San Juan in November, from
Germany. The thirteen year old in the pastThree weeks has develop a
lamenes in the front hands; particular the front left hand. Shoes were
remove two weeks ago and foam pads were put on. the horse dose not
respond to hoof test. he was treated as if it was the beaginig of
Liminities. He improvrd but in the past three days he has
rergress.What should we due; everyone is confuesed in the treatmen for
Congratulations on the safe arrival of your horse.
I’m sorry to hear that there is confusion with the diagnosis and
treatment of his condition.
My first suggestion is to locate a
farrier and/or a vet experienced with the treatment of hoof related
I would suggest contacting the local
chapter of the American Farriers Association to see if there is a
farrier near you who could help diagnose and treat your horse’s
If possible, I would contact the
previous owners in Germany to see if he has experienced problems of
this nature before. You may also wish to contact the shipping company
to see if there were any problems during his travels.
A thorough examination of the entire
horse, not just the feet, would be in order. I would assume that after
his journey, that there would have been an examination by a vet as to
his condition upon arrival. This individual; may be able to provide
information as to anything unusual that happened while the horse was
Since there is confusion as to what
is happening with your horse, I think you need to find a qualified
farrier and a veterinarian who will be able to diagnose your horse’s
Any hoof problem is serious and
consequently, you do not want to delay in finding someone who can help
determine the origin of the problem as well as develop a treatment
that will get your horse back on his feet as soon as possible.
Finding a farrier would be your
first step and hopefully, the American Farriers Association chapter
located in Puerto Rico will be able to help you with this.
I’m sorry I cannot offer anything
more specific, but your horse needs to have his problems diagnosed and
treatment started immediately and there just is no way to do this
without being able to examine him.
You have my best wishes for a speedy conclusion
to your horse’s hoof problems. Please let me know if I can be of
We have a single footer who
when he is in gait hits his front feet with his back is there a secret
to shoeing to help solve this problem?
sorry to hear of your horse’s interference problems. I’m afraid
I’m not able to offer anything is the way of a definite fix as I’m
sure you understand that one has to be able to observe the horse in
order to determine a proper course of correction.
the most basic of terms, after you are sure the horse is trimmed and
balanced correctly (extremely important), either the fronts can be
sped up or the hinds slowed down in order to provide the necessary
can be done in any number of ways using different types of shoes,
different weights or combinations of both, in order to gain the
fraction of an inch needed to eliminate the problem. However, it all
starts with the correct trim and then the correct shoes … and quite
often, the farrier will take a shoe (s) and make small adjustments to
it in order to correct this type problem.
the best and most likely solution to this type of problem, and this is
not in the least an uncommon problem, is to locate a farrier familiar
with and experienced in trimming and shoeing single-footers. He or
she, will understand what it will take in order to correct this
problem without causing a different one to appear.
may wish to look at these websites and perhaps even contact them
directly as they are devoted to the welfare and care of the
American Single-Footing Horse Association
North American Single-Footing Horse Association
PO Box 1079
Three Forks, MT 59752
am truly sorry that I cannot offer anything more specific. But, I hope
I’ve been able to at least offer a different place to begin in your
quest to resolve this issue. Please let me know if I can be of any
How does a horse need to
stand when you measure it?
horse needs to be on flat and level ground, squared up, standing
evenly on all four feet.
You might wish to visit these
websites where there is a more detailed discussion of the measuring of
Here's hoping our horses measures up
to all your expectations.
Hi, my horse has been kicked
in his lower leg. I would just like to know how to treat and how long
he should take to recover?
How to treat this injury and how
long he will take to recover is going to depend on a variety of
conditions, i.e. where was he kicked, how hard, which of those parts
that make up his leg were damaged and how severe that damage is. Also,
his physical condition and ability to recover will influence his
reaction to the injury; additionally, how quickly you begin treatment
and his reaction to it will affect the time it takes to get him back
on his feet.
I’m sorry that I cannot be more
specific, but answering your questions without being able to examine
the horse is just not possible. My suggestion is to have your horse
examined by a veterinarian so that the full extent of the injury can
be determined and a plan to aid your horse in his recovery can be
Best of luck to you and your horse.
am looking to purchase a TB/Belgian cross Two days ago the farrier was
out and trimmed him way too short, cut into the white line at the toe.
It bled and he is very, very sore. The seller is going to clean and
wrap it today as they were out of town when this happened.. I am
wondering how long something like this can take to heal. Can any other
problems arise from this?
sorry to hear of this horse’s hoof problems.
She is afraid it will abscess.
Abscesses are always a possibility after any type of open wound to the
hoof, but as long as the wound is thoroughly cleaned and kept clean
while the injury heals, there is a very good possibility that an
abscess can be avoided. A lot will, of course, depend on the severity
of the injury and the ability of the treatment program to prevent an
infection from gaining a foothold.
I am wondering how long something like this can
take to heal.
Again, this will depend on the severity of the injury. I would let the
horse be the judge of when all is well. If he is sore, then I would
guess the cut (s) were pretty deep. It may well require some
additional protection to his foot (feet) in order to allow him to
recover. I would guess his current owner is/has contacted another
farrier in order to see if this would be necessary. I would be leery
of finalizing any purchase until the horse demonstrates that it is
fully recovered. A pre-purchase vet and farrier check would definitely
seem to be called for. Additionally, you may wish to have a tryout
time just to be sure he is not suffering from any problems relating to
this injury. You will also want to be sure that he is not worked
before his feet have had a chance to recover.
Can any other problems arise from this?
If the only problem was that he was cut too short, and he is allowed
to heal without being placed under stress caused by working him too
soon, then I would think that a full recovery would be in the cards.
However, without being onsite to examine him in person, I would
suggest that you seek the services of a knowledgeable farrier and vet
in order to be sure that no other problem relating to this injury has
arisen. Of course, he may be a little leery of anyone trying to handle
his feet after this, so you may wish to be sure that this episode has
not affected his manners relating to having his feet handled.
to work him before he is completely healed may have the effect of him
becoming more sensitive than he normally would be, which is another
reason not to rush his recovery.
his owner will take care of the problem and speed him on his recovery.
let me know if I can be of further assistance.