Many musculoskeletal injuries can be minimized or even prevented with good farriery. Hoof and shoe imbalances are a major contributor to lameness.
Appropriate foot care
A good, working relationship between the farrier, vet and owner is imperative to the soundness of your horse.
Veterinarians play a role on your team but in the area of hoof care, a skilled, knowledgeable farrier is invaluable. Farriers are experts in the field of hoof care and hoof health.
The horse’s hoof is a complex structure in many ways. The physiology of the hoof is complicated and affected by many things. Good nutrition is crucial to growing good strong hooves, as is genetics. Some horses simply are born with weak, poor hoof wall material and are prone to infections like foot abscesses. By far, most horses have good hooves that simply need routine, timely trimming and care.
You may have heard vets and farriers use the term “hoof-pastern axis” – in simple terms this means does the bones of the lower limb line up? When they do line up in a ‘straight axis’, the physics of the horse limbs allows the foot to function as a shock absorber and minimizes stress and fatigue on the rest of the structures up the leg and body. When they don’t line up, abnormal forces are placed on structures like the navicular bone, impar ligament, and suspensory apparatus. You may choose to look at this on yourself, if you have chronic foot pain, your gait will be altered, which, in turn may lead to knee pain, hip pain and lower back pain. Horses with poor hoof conformation may eventually become lame in other structures in the limb.
A good farrier will ensure the foot is balanced. Heel support should be continually evaluated at each shoeing. Hooves with a long toe and under-run heels place excessive strain on the heel region. This can result in injury to the navicular region, tendons and ligaments, digital cushion and pastern and coffin joints.
Some hoof problems are the result of poor conformation, but many are the result of poor or infrequent hoof care. A thorough podiatry examination by your vet as well as good quality farriery will help ensure your horse stays sound.
At Avon Ridge Equine, we offer a PODIATRY EXAM. This includes a consultation, trot-up, hoof-tester evaluation and digital radiographs (x-rays) of both front feet. This comprehensive examination will help determine the proper toe and heel angles as well as the position of the coffin bone within the hoof capsule. These x-rays are then yours to you to show your farrier. This can greatly aid your farrier when determining the best trimming/shoeing plan based on your horse’s individual needs.
This PODIATRY EXAM should be used to evaluate any horse. This exam is particulatly important to horses in work, laminitic horses, chronically lame horses and horses with poor hoof conformation.
With the latest in mobile digital radiography equipment, we perform this service on your property and are happy to work alongside the farrier of your choice to keep your horse sound.