Severe Flaring & Imbalance
April - TB x Draft - 10 years old: April's owner contacted me because April kept getting sore after each farrier trim. The soreness would last for 2-3 weeks after each trim and make her very miserable. She also had a sore hock and was very hard to work with and they often had to resort to using bute for 3-4 days prior to trimming otherwise she was just too uncomfortable to co-operate. When I first saw her I was shocked at how badly flared her feet were (and she had only been trimmed 2 weeks prior).
As you can see in the top photos, her hoof was extremely flared in the quarters making her hoof much wider than it should have been (her owner had tried to get hoof boots for her in the past but was unable to get any to fit due to the flaring!). Her soles had also been trimmed in the toe region which was also contributing to the lameness.
The second set of photos show April's rear right hoof - this was the leg with the sore hock... Can you spot the problem and the cause of her hock soreness? Yes, the hoof is EXTREMELY unbalanced (almost 1.5" longer on the inside due to the flare) causing a massive twisting effect on the leg. No wonder she was sore!
After only two trims on this mare I was really pleased to receive this email from her owner:
Good News!! Just wanted to share with you that on Wednesday last week I had the best 30 minute ride on April that I have had in a long time. We were just playing around in the barnyard and I got up on a mounting block and she sidled right up, and stood perfectly still, I got on bareback and she went directly to the gate and put her head over it, like "lets go!" I opened the gate and out we went. She was 100% mind and body. She chose to trot right down our laneway on the gravel, never hesitated or faltered once. Up until now she had been ok in their yard on the soft stuff but as soon as she got out on the laneway her nose was on the ground and she picked her steps carefully. That evening she had a happy expression on her face, we went for about a half hour just touring around. She had plenty of impulsion, she wasn't even thinking about her feet, walked everywhere with confidence, it was awesome. I was on cloud nine.
April had a setback in the autumn when she had another laminitis attack. On my advise her Glucose and Insulin levels were tested and she was found to be Insulin Resistant (a condition that is becoming increasingly common). After lifestyle and dietary modifications she is now back on track.
Helping horses like April makes what I do SO rewarding...but my greatest wish is that issues like this didn't happen in the first place...many farriers are really letting horses and their owners down by performing these sub-standard trims and it needs to be addressed.