Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Treatment, Ideas, Communication...Good Stuff.

Here's a good way to start posting. Just the other day I recieved this question via email from someone coming into the area for just the summer:

I will be moving my horses up to rhinelander for a few months soon... how are you with angles?

as far as angles on my horses feet.... my gelding has hardly any heel,, my last farrier sure messed him up quite a bit...

So, not having seen the horse, before or after, I thought I would just tell her this:

"That's possible, but it's more likely that your horse just has naturally low heels that are hard to do anything with. Hopefully he used all the barefoot options available to him such as nipping the toe back as far as possible and then rolling(beveling) it. If your horse has naturally thin, slow growing or low heels it's nice to bring the toe back by beveling it once a month in the warm season. Or show you how to do it. That just allows more blood to get to the heels, which means more robust growth, by keeping the levering action of the long toe from consistently squeezing the blood out of the heels as the horse moves, or the resting foot from heeling back in the mud, and thus stressing the heels and making it harder for the heels to get enough blood for normal growth."

There are a couple of good points to be picked up on from this exchange.

Chronic rundown heels show up in more and more horses all the time. Very little attention is given to the feet during the breeding process and thus we have many well conformed horses with bad hoof conformation. If you wind up with one, be prepared to have to find a good farrier who will explain the functional dynamics of your horse's feet and then what he intends to do to optimize their performance and comfort. In order to get the results you're looking for you'll need to understand and follow his advice closely. Don't be afraid to get a second opinion, but it's important to realize at the same time that everyone has an opinion. If someone other than your farrier seems to have a useful idea then have that person contact your farrier and let him know their thoughts on it.. The flow of information between all concerned parties can be very constructive and beneficial in the treatment process and leave everyone with a healthier base of information and experience.

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