Well, HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL! I am hoping that you all have a wonderous, magical, fun-filled, LOVE-filled New Year ahead of you!
Let's face it. Horses are supposed to be FUN! If we ain't havin' fun with them then *shaking head*, why?
We can't have fun with horses that are sore-footed. So I thought maybe a few close up looks at hooves that are less than ideal barefooted to see what can be done to improve them. See if you can notice what I'm pointing out. Then I'll post a couple of photos below and you can tell ME what you see!
The hoof above is obviously in need of the TLC. It is long toed - and the toe is flared (red line) ... from the coronary band down to the ground SHOULD be a nice, straight line. Here we see the effects of the toe's excess length. Not only is the hoofwall flared but I would bet that, from the solar view, there would be some white line separation as the wall is forced away from the foot from the excess pressure.
Now, look at the orange line ... can you see how its "arched' or "waved"?" Again, when viewing the side of the hoof one should see a straight line hairline with no "waves" or "dips" in it. (http://scootboots.com/blogs/blog/the-hairline-tells-it-all tells more about the reading of the hairline) If you see an arch/wave in the hairline then we know there is some excess pressure coming from below that arched area. So we follow down to the ground level and what do you see? The purple line shows that, instead of a nice 'arch' in the wall of the quarters, its actually convex. The wall there has excessive length that needs to be trimmed down.
Here is the finished trim of this same hoof:
Here you can see how the lines "straightened out" and I added another line (blue line) to show the nice, straight angle from the center of the fetlock on down to the ground that matches the angle of the hoofwall. Notice the shortening of the toe, as well. I remember leaving the heels a bit longer than I normally would simply because I didn't want to add excessive strain to the ligaments and tendons from changing the angles of the hooves too fast. The horse had had the long toes for a long time.
So this is just a couple of landmarks to see what might need to be done with your horses' hooves ... If you go here: http://www.barefoottrim.com/2007/balance/balance.htm you'll find more 'landmarks' for assessing the hooves' balance. Go check out your own horse's hooves to see how they match up. Tell me what you see in your horse's hooves in the comments section below!
Here are a couple of other hooves for you to practice evaluating: What do you see? What would you change? How do you think the changes will affect the overall balance and way of going of the horse? Just some things to think on ... Again, you are welcome to answer and comment in the comments below.