I hope everyone had a very happy holiday.
Recently I was talking to an old friend of mine. We always seem to come up with ideas to pick eachothers brains. Her husbands horse was recently diagnosed with navicular and mild to moderate sidebone. Hes not always lame but warms up out of his head bobbing. I wasn't really interested what she said about the sidebone but more about how hes got navicular, in both front feet at that. She said she was not happy with the job a farrier in the area (a very well educated one that attends seminars regularly. Hes always up to par with methods used). Plainly she said "He doesn't have enough heel".
This brings up the debate when we find a horse has a problem, be it lameness, problems with riding such as stumbling or wanting the horse to break over quicker; Should we set them up or down to change the way the hoof sits and breaks over when it touches the ground?
Something my instructor Bill told me on the first day at school is to "trim/shoe the horse the way he is made" plainly this means the horses hoof angle should match the angle of it's shoulder (for front feet), hip (for hind feet) and/or pasterns.
(Images from google and all rights go to their original owners)
The front hooves should be the same angle as the shoulder and the hind hooves should be the same angle as the hip. Although this picture is of a donkey who has a lot steeper hooves than a horse you will get the general idea.
This is a relatively foreign term for a lot of horse owners. Maybe because they haven't studied feet in relation to their horses body or because they trust their farrier.
When it comes to lameness and shoeing it seems to be a common practice to set a horse up to alleviate pain and make a horse break over quicker. Arthritis, navicular, founder etc . When we set a horse up and make a horse break over quicker they are more likely to land toe first, have contracted heels due to lack of pressure on the digital cushion or put strain on tendons.
What I am getting at is to start a debate of sorts.
What is the opinion of my readers?
Have you looked at your horses hooves in relation to how they are made and how they actually look now?
Do they match the angle of your horses shoulders/hip and pastern bones?
I'm curious to see how many of you look closely at horses feet and what they look like (pictures if you can get them)
Have you had a horse that was set up or down that became lame and only became sound when it's angles were rectified back to the way it was made?
I would love to know.