I was recently “given” a horse with hoof issues thanks to the fact they had rarely been trimmed and he was seven years old. Now this horse had not been entirely neglected, just little to no hoof care from his owner/breeder.
The hooves on this nice big fellow were at least three inches too long. The only reason he didn’t have slippered or curled toes was thanks to hoof wall breaking off every so often. Still there was a lot of toe sticking out there. The long toe not only makes break over difficult but throws the pastern and coffin bones out of alignment. The left front was totally crooked as the medial side kicked inwards and the lateral squirted out to the side. I not only had to trim a lot off the toe but a good inch of dead wall off the lateral portion of the hoof.
The sole of his hoof was compacted one layer upon another. There were signs of old abscess pockets here and there. The bar of the hooves was impacted and it was amazing that he had any frog at all. It looks wet in the photo due to soaking to enable some trimming and paring of the bar and sole. I’m not sure which bothered me the most, the compacted bars or the medial lateral imbalance of the hoof capsule. Or maybe it was the dishy appearance of what may have been some laminitis due to hoof neglect. The more I dug, the more I found, and the more I found the more I wished I hadn’t looked. Ay-yi-yi what a mess!
This task of paring and relieving sole as well as trimming the hoof to regain some balance was done over six weeks time. I was afraid to do too much too quickly and lame him. Yet I had to trim off dead hoof and get down to a white line and live tissue. The photo below was after two weeks of trimming.
While there was still some “dish” to the front wall of the hoof at this point the hooves were much improved. The sole however was still very flat and I was having trouble paring out the excess. He was a bit sore mostly because he was walking on the soles. My next action was to pack the hooves in mineral clay, place the entire hoof in a baggie and then into an old Easyboot Glove, allowing it to soak. This would also draw out any heat, inflammation and bacteria. One hoof in particular became very stinky and I believe that I drew out another old abscess pocket.
With all this trimming he was a bit ouchy in the rocks. In order to keep the boy in training Gloves are being used on his front hooves.
Amazingly at this point we have a concave hoof and an active frog that makes ground contact. The gelding just might make it after all.
Karen Bumgarner