As I mentioned in my previous blog, I was so very impressed with Dr. Tomas Teskey’s clinic, that I felt badly for people that haven’t had an opportunity to attend. In an effort toward passing on his information, the following are excerpts from his article “Breaking Traditions.” The pictures are from Dr. Teskey’s Hoof & Dissection Clinic in Hereford, AZ on June 12th.
“Nails driven through the hoof walls allow all manner of bacteria, fungus and filth to enter the foot; the once efficient, natural physical barrier to these invaders is breached when the hoof wall is pierced. The conductability of the nails and steel shoe allow concussive forces, vibrations and sudden, extreme changes of temperature to enter the hoof. Multiple holes in the walls of the hoof, especially over successive applications, lead to direct structural breakdown of the hoof walls by causing cracks, breaks, and by physically leveraging the hoof wall away from deeper hoof structures. Sometimes when a steel shoe is pulled off by a horse, the edges of the hoof wall go with it.
The damage caused by decreased shock absorption within the shod foot is well documented – the horse’s hoof is designed to handle most of the shock absorption required for traveling over any terrain; this is accomplished only if the hoof capsule is allowed to expand upon contact with the earth, passing concussive forces to the cartilages, which surround the more sensitive soft tissues inside the foot. When steel is fixed to the hoof capsule, the hoof cannot adequately expand and the built-in shock absorbing structures within the hoof cannot do their job. Ground forces that once were directed backward and upward are now primarily directed upward, following a vector determined by the presence of the nails, leveraging the hoof wall away from the coffin bone. This is exactly like lifting on the end of your fingernail and tearing if off the nail bed at the tip of your finger. Every horse that is shod will have some amount of laminar separation – it is a physiologic certainty. Whether grossly visible or microscopically, every shod foot has separation. This situation sets a horse up quite well for chronic laminitis or often an acute founder situation after overeating or becoming sick.
The sole is held in a vaulted position in a shod hoof, no longer allowed to flatten slightly with footfall and is now forced to receive a beating from the coffin bone above. All of the joints, cartilages and ligaments higher in the horse’s leg, extending further up and in to the back and entire body, must now take up the task of dissipating concussive forces, a job these structures never evolved, nor are designed, to handle. The result is extra wear and tear which produces measurable damage to these areas. Truly, much of many horses’ back soreness and leg soreness are directly due to damage from having to withstand concussive forces that they were not designed for – all because the natural shock absorbing function of the hooves has been compromised by the application of steel shoes.”
Dr. Teskey stressed the need for hoof boots on rough, rocky terrain or when transitioning a horse from shoes to boots, natural horse care through proper diet, natural hoof trimming and natural horse care products.
When you call EasyCare, I’m one of the folks that will answer. I’m also one of the cowgirls in the group. (Heck no, I don’t show, I Rodeo!) When it comes to life’s adventures – never pull back on the reins, and remember: the world is best-viewed through the ears of a horse!