A Lesson In Hoof Care

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Lucy has been a wonderful, healthy horse since she was adopted 16 years ago at the age of four. She’s an ex-racehorse and the owner believed Thoroughbreds simply had naturally shelly hooves and difficult hoof problems. The chronic under-run left front heel was thought to be a default from birth.

This owner used countless hoof supplements and topical dressings over the years to no avail. Any improvement was short-lived. As is the case in many areas, finding a reliable, qualified farrier with the patience to deal with Lucy’s nervousness was a challenge. Saying that she’s difficult is an understatement.

When Lucy developed an unusual swinging of her front right leg outward that started to affect her movement, a veterinarian, who was also a chiropractor, was called in. The vet suggested that Lucy’s bad hoof balance and poor hoof quality was the cause of the gait change and needed to be addressed immediately.

The owner tried to take an objective look at the hooves she’d seen every day for so many years. Although she could see that the walls were crumbling and the left hoof appeared longer than ever before, she wasn’t sure it was that bad. She decided to take photographs of all four of Lucy’s feet. The photos were shocking to see.

The camera illuminated the severity of the problems. Her left back heel was considerably higher than her right. Her left front foot extended exceptionally forward, causing the heel to contract further, and the overall condition of her feet was obvious.

A highly qualified, accredited farrier was called in. He was expensive, but in just one visit, the difference was significant. Lucy began to move freely and more straight. Since changes to the hoof, especially on older horse like Lucy, need to be made gradually, it will be a long road, but Lucy is on her way back to correct alignment.