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Barefoot -The Ungual Cartilages (From Barb Peck)

Barb Peck
from Barb Peck

I've owned alot of different purebreds/Xbreds over the years, and
Arabs and and Arab Morgan crosses had superior (hard and tuff
soled)  feet than the Saddlebreds and QHs and TB crosses, whether they
were shod OR barefoot.

For all of those interested, Robt. Bowker published a paper
last year, that finally in my mind settled the quandry I've had in my mind
why all feet are not created equal.

In Bowkers paper, he found, thru disection of about 200 cadaver hooves and
a staining technique, that the ungual cartilages in Arabs, TW, Morgans and
some crosses are made of
a high % of cartilage like tissue as opposed to a more fatty tissue in
other breeds.
  The digital cushion sits in a web of ungual cartilage and
the digital cushion can be more robust in some horses than others, as can
sole thickness maximums.  The digital cushion can get squished or deformed
depending on whats happening to the hoof capsule.
The ungual cartilages can range from a tuff cartilage type material
(Arabs) to a more fatty tissue (TBs QHs).
Horses that have not had good hoof care, especially those
that have had the whole hoof caspule grown forward (underrun
heels, long toe) shod or not, will take a looong time to
realize their genetic maximun potential when rehab starts.

Now, it'possible that with the correct shoeing (or barefoot) a horse
may reach his genetic maximun potential with the make up of
these tissues, but we all also know,
 that just like some
individuals don't have what it takes to be a competition horse,
not ALL horses will have the (bare) feet that can take miles and miles of
It's also possible that with the correct maintenance, some will.

It's another case of knowing your horse and knowing what he can or can't
I personally think most people know less about their horses feet
than any other part of their body.
I think that's why some ride managers allow experienced known
riders to compete bare foot and not let others.

I would really like to hear from someone who has a Curly/Arab cross from
the Hat Ranch project, as both these breeds  are know for their iron feet.
Anyone have one of their crosses?

Barb(on my computer at work.. hense the guest post)

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