Mel - trim

Lynn Williams <lynjwilliams@...>

I looked at the pics before I read the post - because I like my eye
to be unbiassed. These are the notes I made as I viewed them.
#Body shots : Sway back, croup high (weak LD and abs - dorsal ligament
not engaged); standing slightly under in front and slightly camped out
behind. Most likely heel pain in all feet. Looks stressed. Steeper
pastern RF; toe out RF. Hinds slightly toe out.
Feet pics:
LF: doesn't weight evenly; medial wall almost behind the vertical;
heels severely contracted and too long; toe too long; frog not
contacting ground; yellowy sole horn?? some substance? if not then -
wound secretion. Impact?
RF: heels too long, contracted; medial wall inside vertical. LCs
pushed up, dip at toe indicating rotation.
RH - too long overall - toe and heel; heels moderately contracted; o/s
heel longer; full bars;
LH - heels and bars too long; ditto contraction and frog contact; toe
too long; medial wall steep; lateral flared - wavy stress lines in
hoof; lateral wall and heel longer?
Needs heels and bars lowered; toe backed quite hard; address medial
bars and heel hooks as reasons for unloading. Needs to load heels,
lower pastern angle; will need muscle therapy to help adjustment to
new angles. Until he's loading the heels - and pastern /shoulder angle
returns to normal, dorsal ligament able to carry weight and allow LD
to recover - will be at risk of further laminitic episodes.#

I then read your post and was so exhausted by the end I had to have a
cup of tea. :)

The biggest problem this lad has, which will have resulted being a
'gaited' horse in the fetishistic world of equestrian showing, is
contraction - very severe LF, severe RF and moderately severe in the
hinds. When the heels are long, so are the bars; in a contracted hoof
- ie one in which the heels converge instead of diverge and do not
expand normally on weightbearing, the bars end up growing into places
they are not meant to be - very high into the hoof and/or under the
frog; there can also be a hook of heel material wedged under the frog
and bulbs that can be extremely uncomfortable - like an ingrown toe nail.

Some trimming styles advocate not attempting to trim this; some say
the internal structures of the foot(ie the digital cushion, frog and
the lateral cartilages) need to regenerate and, as they do, they will
push the heels and bars back to where they should be. The problem with
this theory in my view is that the regeneration of cartilage requires
a lot of circulation because of the way it is nourished, ie requires a
lot of movement and good circulation; good circulation requires good
hoof mechanism - ie expansion of the hoof capsule (heels opening, bars
opening and descending and sole flattening). The closer the heels are
to vertical, the less likely it is that this will happen unaided - and
if they are beyond the vertical - the opposite will happen - the heels
will converge on weightbearing and further deform the LCs and compress
the DC and frog corium.

The problem with severe contraction when the heels and bars are left
long is that long bars make the hoof capsule at the heel very
resistant to expansion - it takes a lot of impact force to get them to
move sufficiently to decontract. If the horse is comfortable enough to
load its heels and to withstand the amount of movement it needs to
decontract its feet without our intervention, that's fine - but if it
is telling you the heel is painful - by preferring to load an already
damaged toe - how can you expect it to be able to stand the sort of
impact forces necessary to decontract a rigid hoof?

So, in my view it's actually better to give it a helping hand - by
weakening the bars (just lowering and straightening them), bringing
the initial impact point of the heel down and back so the heels and
frog are level; shortening the toe (height as well as length if

As to medial-lateral imbalance - what do the xrays say?

With older horses you have to consider the need for a balanced
skeleton, without which the horse cannot engage its dorsal ligament or
operate its stay apparatus and therefore regenerate its muscles,
against the stress of postural changes. In my view - the former is so
fundamental to the horse's physical and mental health, that any
management strategy should be actively working towards it.

Others may weigh in with more detailed advice - I hope this is helpful.


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