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Old 01-22-2009, 08:29 PM  
kesty6
 
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contracted hooves question- Update

Hi,

My older mare has one contracted hoof (the same leg that she is lame on). I have been told by my previous farriers that there isn't much they can do to fix it... She is 16 and has had the one foot contracted since I bought her 10 yrs ago. She was neglected/starved before I had her. According to the vets she has navicular syndrome- but X rays showed no changes to the navicular bone.

I have never found a farrier that I really liked. The one person who had some success getting her foot to expand was too rough with my younger horse so I had to switch farriers again. So far I have had about 5 farriers and none have been very helpful....One made both my horses lame, another left their feet to long, one was drunk...etc.

What I am wondering is:
Are the farriers right about it being impossible to expand her foot?

Would expanding her foot help with the lameness?

Last edited by kesty6 : 05-21-2009 at 07:52 AM.
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Old 01-22-2009, 10:52 PM  
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why not train your younger horse to stand for the farrier so that he doesnt have to discipline your horse, and use the farrier that was having success with helping her foot?

and yes, expanding her foot could help quite a bit with her lameness, but its really hard to say for sure without knowing what is really going on in there. The lameness could be causing the contraction too.

Last edited by cowman : 01-22-2009 at 11:03 PM.
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Old 01-23-2009, 06:35 AM  
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Pictures would help. Contraction in the heels? Club footed?

We can probably offer more opinions with pictures.
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Old 01-23-2009, 07:06 AM  
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My horse has contracted heels. He HAS navicular changes. Anyways the corrective farrier said we probably would never expand them because he believes the contraction has more to do with bad genetics than anything else. However, after 5 mo of corrective shoeing (wedges w/frog and Equithane injected underneath) his heels have expanded (he even needed a bigger shoe!)

So it can happen, but according to my farrier it doesn't happen often.
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Old 01-23-2009, 10:17 PM  
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There are ways to expand the heels on contracted horses. We have had some severely contracted heels expanded by our farrier. Unfortunatly the navicular damage done does not go away. Try egg bar shoes or look at Equus last months article on Navicular and natural trimming.
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Old 01-23-2009, 10:28 PM  
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just a side suggestion for finding a specialist farrier, since I don't know much about this condition your horse has, go to http://www.barnbook.com

There you will find ALL types of horse stuff..from Breeders, to Farriers , to Vets, to Transportation . It is listed for all people throughout Florida ,SC, VA, NC, and Mid-Atlantic .
Take a look and you might find a reputable farrier that can give your horses better treatment.
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Old 01-23-2009, 10:42 PM  
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You also might want to check out a certified natural barefoot trimmer. They seem to have the best luck with horses that typical farriers claim are impossible to fix.. most of the time without shoes. I say most of the time because a good trimmer will tell you if the horse actually needs shoes rather than string you along. Some horses do need shoes but most don't and the shoes typically just serve to make a problem like contracted heels worse.

I started studying this and trimming my own horses a few months ago and the difference in my mares feet, who has a tendency to contract, has been phenomenal. It's just understanding how the foot works and it's mechanics... in her situation it was scooping the quarters to give the heels something to expand into and then making sure she got good excercise on nice solid ground.. the rest took care of itself.

There are several good sites out there, just do a search for "barefoot trim" or "mustang trim" and all kinds of sites will come up. There are some schools of thought in this that are a bit extreme IMHO but the mustang trim worked the best for my guys.. I don't think I'll ever use another farrier.. not when my horses that fidgeted for a farrier will stand with their foot in my lap to be trimmed and sleep all the way through a pedicure by "mom"
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Old 01-24-2009, 06:41 PM  
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A good website is http://swedishhoofschool.com/HoofCareReference.htm

Scroll down and there is a section for contracted hooves. I went through this with my horse and after attending the seminar it made sense. He says contracted heels is a result of not having proper frog contact. Usually due to thrush. Once the frog develops thrush and loses contact with the ground, the heels will start to contract.

To reverse the process, you need to treat the thrush and have your horse trimmed properly so he can develop frog contact. Once his frogs are thrush free, they will become healthier and able to resist bacteria and fungus. When the frogs are used properly, the heels will start to decontract. In 7 months my horses feet did a 100% turnaround. I used colloidal silver and did a soak. One 5 hour treatment kills thrush completely. From there I started excercising my horse on a daily basis to develop his frogs again.

If you have any questions feel free to ask. I have been to his seminar twice and recommend it to everyone.
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Old 01-25-2009, 06:59 PM  
kesty6
 
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Thanks for all the great info everyone!

I have been examining her hooves and her contracted hoof was left long in the heel compared with her other hooves. I am going to look for a natural hoof care trimmer to come and do her feet from now on and see how that helps.
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Old 01-26-2009, 06:26 AM  
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Yes, but WHY is she longer in the heel? Could it be the result of a club foot?
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Old 01-26-2009, 01:29 PM  
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Yes, but WHY is she longer in the heel?

I find farriers aren't perfect, and after mine leaves I touch up all the way around. Instead of pointing fingers, I leave it and when he is gone I finish to the way I like. No need to cheese off the farrier, he is a great guy and I really like his work, I just strive for perfection.

Once you have the heels down I would treat the frogs (make sure there is no bacteria or fungus), and start excercising him. The healthier the frog (the more it is used) will start to decontract the heels.
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Old 01-27-2009, 12:34 AM  
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I'm not sure why the heel is longer in the one hoof. To me it looks like he just didn't trim it down as he should.

For as long as I have had her no one has ever said that it is clubbed. They have all referred to it as contracted. When we had X rays the vet did not mention that it was clubbed either.... My vet recommended that we remove her shoes (this was 2 yrs ago), and was kind enough to take them off for me, so she did take a good look at her hoof.

She has done so much better without shoes. I previously had her in aluminum therapeutic shoes but they did not help very much.

Thanks again!
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Old 01-27-2009, 06:41 AM  
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You really need to understand what's going on the horse's foot before you trim on your own. It doesn't matter if you think it doesn't LOOK right, you need to ask your farrier WHY something was done. Taking the heel farther down on a horse with a club foot can cause terrible damage to the coffin bone.

I suggest, to the OP, that you find a farrier and you sit down with your vet and your farrier and figure out the best approach for your horse.

And, just FYI and a personal pet peeve of mine, a "natural barefoot trim" is a more expensive term for what a good farrier will do on a hoof. It's just worth an extra $50 to call it "natural barefoot trim."

Try looking at the AFA website for a farrier in your area.
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Old 01-28-2009, 08:36 AM  
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I'm a barefoot trimmer. I first started out shoeing, though. I don't charge extra cuz of it. A good trim is a good trim. Unfortunately in my case most the farriers in my area don't even understand the structures and functions of the hoof. You can tell by the trim and shoe job.

Also, I'm self taught. I've learned many things by researching and trying things out. In my area trimmers actually do more work then most farriers. Again this is in my area. Everybody's got 'em in. We do have some wonderful, awesome farriers, but unfortunately the bad far out weigh the good.

Also most "club" feet are just what I call grazing feet. If the heels are taken down and back gradually on a grazing foot, it won't damage the coffin bone. I do have a client with true club foot. My trim is a bit different for this guy, however his foot isn't anywhere near as upright as it was when I started trimming him.

Again a good trim is a good trim.

For anyone that is thinkin' bout doing their own trimming there's a huge commitment you must make to your horseys. You must constantly strive to learn all you can 'bout the foot, legs, food, gait, etc. Because it's not just trimming the foot.
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Old 01-28-2009, 06:09 PM  
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contracted heels

you need to have a shoe thats fit wide on that foot or put spoon heels on they fit like a clip inside the heels and after its nailed on youspread the shoe.after two weeks you spread the shoe again .you keep on doing that untill you get it where you want.it may never be wright if the horse is still lame on that foot .the one there using gets wide and the lsme one contracts.as for the natural trimers they dont know what there doing.they take a one day course and all of a sudden their experts.call a horseshoeing school in your area or find one on the internet.they can recamend somebody.I would only use an educated farrier that has went to a good school.
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Old 02-04-2009, 05:01 PM  
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If they are just contracted and there is no other problems that you know of in the hoof, then a simple correct barefoot trim should solve the problem. It won't go away overnight, but I have had them decontract in 6 weeks before (two trims 3 weeks apart). That heel needs to be lowered all the way so the sole and frog can contact the ground and allow the blood flow back in it. You shouldn't have to do any invasive trimming or open the foot up at all. It isn't impossible by any means.

And as far as "barefoot trims", it depends on the trimmer. We don't charge any more for a "natural barefoot trim". Some people use it as a gimmick, some don't. However, our horses hooves have never been healthier.
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Old 02-04-2009, 06:25 PM  
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Does your horse have a deep central sulcus on that contracted hoof?
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Old 02-05-2009, 06:13 AM  
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The hoof contracted for a reason , that reason needs to be address before any expansion will occur or at least halted.
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Old 02-06-2009, 03:47 PM  
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I agree with Arky. Changing the foot before correcting the unsoundness may make the underlying unsoundness issue worse, and conversly, correcting the unsoundness will result in her using the foot better and will help correct/halt the contraction.

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Old 02-06-2009, 07:32 PM  
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Go to ALLEXPERTS.COM and find the farrier section. I had questions about my horse's feet, and this guy gave me the exact same advice my new farrier actually recommened.
I was highly impressed by the knowledge of these people - and they VOLUNTEER!
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