Thursday, December 29, 2011

Hoof pastern axis

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.


lisa said...

So glad you posted this! Thanks.

sally said...

This is a great post and now I'm out to the paddock to check out my horses feet ....oh and I love the racoon ....glad someone found a way to bring festive humour to Xmas

Dreaming said...

I have always thought that the angle of the hoof should match the angle of the pastern.... never thought about the shoulder or hip!
I have a new 'barefoot' farrier. He is fastidious when it comes to angles - front to back AND side to side.
The first time he came he pointed out that Doc was beginning to have some issues from 'mechanical founder'. He was right! I had noticed that Doc sometimes had that stretched out stance - and after the farrier took off a bit of heel, Doc became more comfortable.

Emme said...

Great post. Our Paint, Pippi, used to refuse to square up properly. hen hind legs were underneath her all the time, and we had issues with her using her hind overall. New farrier - problem resolved. I always thought the angle was wrong for her body, and now that the angle does match her hips angle she squares beatifully. We also have not had to her adjusted again. Important info to know.

Desert Rose said...

I'm going to check it out on both my horses??? it does make great sense!!!

achieve1dream said...

Thank you for posting this! That diagram helps me a lot. I've heard of the matching angles (my eye can not see angles for some reason), but on the pastern angle I always thought you were matching the angle of the hoof to the rear of the pastern, not the front! No wonder I could never "see" it. The diagram makes so much sense. Chrome definitely does not have a straight line along the front. He looks like number 3 when standing normally. Both of his rear hooves are clubby (was told it's the Friesian in him), but the right hind is worse and he almost never stands with his rear hooves side by side. The club is almost always in front. You can see that in these pictures.

Those were taken in December. I added several so you can see him in slightly different postures. So since he's like the C in the diagram what does that mean? Heel need to be short? Toe longer? I like my farrier and she's brought him a long way (he used to be WAY worse), but I don't know if she's still making any progress with him. So what do you think?

You can answer here in comments (I'll check back) so others can learn too or you can email me. Thank you so much!

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