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).

April - Flares
April - Flares

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!

April - Flares
April - Flares

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.

April - July Nov

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.

Comments for Severe Flaring & Imbalance

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Feb 27, 2016
Farrier Ignores My Concerns About Flaring
by: Melinda

I was so relieved to find your site, as I have four geldings whose feet are deteriorating despite monthly farrier trims. I've pointed out drastic flaring and new coronary band dips but this farrier and his wife completely ignore my concerns, often treating me with contempt. I live in the foothills and finding a farrier willing to travel out here has not been easy so I've been far too forgiving. I'd love to post a few pics of what my guys' feet look like just two weeks after a trim. These horses have 80 acres good pasture and are pawing for grass, they have free access to minerals which I replenish daily, and I supplement them with a few cups of horse crunch per day. They also have two covered shelters with dry sand/sawdust floors so conditions are environmental reasons that I can see for why their feet are flaring so badly under this farriers care. He leaves the heel hoof wall really long and I've noticed they seem to be landing toe first now. I've signed up for a two-day barefoot trim course and will be working with that farrier from now on.

Hi Melinda,

Kudos to you for being proactive in the care of your horses feet. It is a shame that your farrier is treating you that way but be thankful that he is causing you to move in a different direction which will ultimately lead you to greater things. That is how I started this journey too. Good luck with the course and feel free to upload photos of your horses.


Feb 10, 2013
Hoof health
by: Amy

I am disappointed by what some farriers call a trim. What a beautiful job you did to rebalance this hoof! Horse owners need to educate themselves to recognize quality trims. No hoof, no horse.

Jan 28, 2011
insulin resistant
by: Anonymous

can i buy kit to test glucose and insulin levels or do i have t ask the vet. my pony had a laminitis attack this jan in the uk, i think its the fost that does something to the grass, do you know if that is correct, thankyou alex

Hi Alex
You will need to get a vet out to do these tests. Yes, you are correct about the frost - it can cause the grass to have higher sugar levels and cause laminitis in metabolically challenged animals. For more information about sugar levels in grass visit and for more information on Insulin Resistance visit
I hope your pony is feeling better now?

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