I am always amazed at what just some simple tweaking can do for a horse's hoof.
About 4 - 6 weeks ago I trimmed out a horse that was very flat footed, caudally tender, long toed with no heel. The front feet were more oval shaped like the rears. Of course, we know that the front hooves on a horse hold 60% of the static weight of the horse and that is why nature shaped them in a round form rather than the oval, 'shovel shape" of the hind hooves that are meant to 'dig in and propel forward'.
So, While Long Toe-Low Heel syndrome (LTLH) is one of the hardest, if not the hardest condition to remediate, this horse has come along very nicely in just a very short time.
Although I didn't take photos of the initial trim, suffice the look-alike photo:
This was what I was faced with for the initial trim of this particular horse. (without nail holes - but you can clearly see, no heels, long toe ... definitely not a healthy form for healthy hooves)
I balanced off the heels just a tad to make sure they were level; I didn't tough the sole at all; I skimmed the bars down just a tiny bit and brought the toes back to the white line. (white line strategy, Marjorie Smith, www.barefoothorse.com)
The owner was instructed to keep the hooves dry (not a hard thing to do during this season in SW Florida) and clean and to make sure her horse got plenty of turnout and movement.
Well, fast forward to this past weekend. The horse's owner has enrolled in my Natural Hoofcare 101 Home Study course most recently but because of emergency surgery *I* had a week ago, I was unable to physically trim the horse's hooves on Sunday. And ... they NEEDED it if we were going to stay on course with these hooves.
The main thing to keep on top of when trying to recover LTLH syndrome is to keep the toes BACK! Keep 'em back right to the white line.
We waited a week because of my surgery but I felt it just couldn't wait any further so I trekked out to the farm and guided the owner in trimming the toes back! (Yes, I'll admit, I did render the rasp just a couple of times but other than that mainly observed the owner as she got used to handling the rasp and the hooves all at the same time. This was the first time she had ever picked up a rasp to trim!)
The changes that had already taken place since my initial trim were tremendous. There was more heel growth, the angles were better all around and the hooves had widened a bit with great frog growth and conditioning. The sole had thickened up and was conditioned well. The fronts weren't so oval shaped. The plus of this all is the horse had come 'sound' in a matter of just a week or so after the initial trim.
So all good news.
We're well on the way to rock-crunching, forever sound hooves. The owner got a good start on trimming; the horse is moving out nicely with long strides and heel-first landing.
Yep, all good.
Here is yesterday's finished trim of the front hooves:
OK - so look at the photos at the top of this post and compare to the ones just above -- tell me what you see.
Gwenyth Browning Jones Santagate is the best-selling author of 10 Secrets to Healthy Hooves as well as a noted author for various international equine publications includingThe Horses Hoof, Equine Wellness, Natural Horse Planet as well as a contributing author for the 2001 United States Federal Mounted Border Patrol Training Manual. For the last 37+ years, she has maintained healthy hooves with natural trimming on thousands of horses and specialized in pathological rehabilitation hoofcare for the last 18 years. She and her husband John keep a small herd of their own equine in SW Florida and continue to offer consults for horses in need. For further information please click here: www.thepenzancehorse.com/2012/RESUME.pdf