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RE: [RC] [RC] [RC] Confirmation- reply to Tuni - heidi

Jeri, you are correct regarding the genetic issues of high/low.  It isn't a genetic trait per se, but there may be genetic predispositions to it.  The difference between a genetic "trait" and a tendency is that the horse without the genetic tendency can stand more mismanagement than the horse with the genetic tendency.  But both will be normal if managed properly.
That said, the grazing "stance" idea has been pretty thoroughly debunked.  But it is primarily a management issue, and the two primary causitive factors are overnutrition and confinement.  Lack of regular hoof care in those circumstances is also contributory.  Given those three factors, one can induce the problem even in feral mustangs that have been brought into captivity and confined--and that's a group that has a low genetic predisposition to the problem.  You are correct that one can go onto farms where many of the horses have it, even when they are unrelated--that is the hallmark of a management issue, rather than a genetic one.

The TENDENCY toward high/low MAY be genetic, but there are also a lot of other factors that can play into it. It can be influenced by feeding practices.  It can also be caused by the grazing problem.  I denied this for a long time.  I have a PB Shagya filly who broke her neck as a baby.  She uses the extreme one forward/one back stance.  It didn't affect her feet for at least 2 years, but lately I have noticed that her front feet are definitely different sizes and shapes.  In her case, the front-placed foot is too low, but the back-placed foot doesn't have a high heel.  It's normal. 

I have noticed that on some breeding farms, almost all of their horses have it, even ones who are totally unrelated.  If you can find a pic of Bey Shah that shows his feet, he had the high/low syndrome.  And he produced about a 1000 offspring.  It's not considered a fault in the show ring, and a lot of breeders just have the check ligament cut so you may not even know the horse had a problem. 

It is NOT strictly genetic, however.  My mare has it, and she had 3 foals.  None of them had it.  Nothing is as simple in the case of high/low as one definitive cause.  All three of these issues (feeding, genetics and grazing stance) can influence it, together or singlely.  But I'll wait for Heidi or another vet to chime in.  jeri
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