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Updated: Hoof Injury Advice?? - Angie and Gunner

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An updated collection of images of the injury -
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Attn. Farriers. I've got some photos I'd love for you to debate. (I've already bothered Jody privately) I went out to saddle Gunner yesterday and was surprised to see a big horizontal split about 1/2 way down the inside heel of his right fore. Lifted it up and it goes all the way across to the frog. I mean a wide separation. I took dental floss and put it in there and can go about 1-1.5" forward with no resistance.

He did not mind me doing that. He did not mind hoof testers on it. He trotted fine on gravel. No sign of blood. I walked my entire fence line wondering if he could have hooked his hoof over wire and sawed that in there. No sign of anything. (and there's a good hotwire 6" inside that fence so they never bother it)

This horse was a thin pasture potato until last Feb. He'd been ridden quite a bit several years ago but had at least 2 years of goofing off. He has done 5 50's this year with no lameness. He had really long toes when I got him. He'd been barefoot a couple of years and had tough feet but *long* toes and we've been backing them up each shoeing.

The question is, did some exterior stress cause the crack? Could the change of angles cause it? We're looking at putting a bar shoe and patching material on there. He's sound. Since I have nothing better to think about until the farrier comes out. Anybody want to venture a guess as to how this could happen and tell me about the horses you've seen win Tevis with worse? (please)

If you want to venture a guess write me and I'll happily send photos. [The Photo's are Below - Editor]

Angie (rides2far at juno.com)

Updated Images (Oct 27)

Aug 12 2006

Aug 27 2006

Aug 27 2006

Aug 27 2006

Aug 27 2006

Aug 27 2006


I think it should hurt soon.
Maybe it was an abcessed area that grew out?
Looks like the foot is remodeling internally to me. I wouldn't do anything unless he comes up lame.
I think patching it would be a mistake.

I am really glad you put that up there. I have never seen anything like that or heard of it truthfully.
I am glad he isn't unsound though and I hope for the best. I can't imagine how that does NOT hurt?!

Consider the possib8ility of "Sheared Heels" Looks very like a classical case.

Bob Morris
Don't know if this is the case with your horse, but my guy had a twin to that. He had injured the coronary band and it grew down, big deep cleft. By the time I noticed it was too late to treat. Never lame, just finally broke out once it grew down more. It was HUGE, a mirror to yours. We did several rides, did not have to do any special shoeing.
I saw something like this years ago. The horse had abcessed a few months previously and the old sole sloughed off - with a new healthy sole underneath.
The one thing we did do was relieve that area from exessive shoe pressure to prevent the crack from becoming worse, plus I shoe at about 5 week intervals. Tempo was completely sound. Hopefully you will have the same luck. Sheered heals, the heal bulb would be pushed up, the hoof wall would be much steeper at the back of the heal too. Your posterior photo does not appear to have those issues. IMHO
I was starting Swiss Boots on a barefoot horse that had too low of a heel on the rears and protruding bulbs. The backs of the boots put way too much pressure on and severely bruised the bulbs on both rears which swelled, cracked, blead then healed just fine. Never went lame. Several months later both rears had cracks under each bulb very similar to your horse's crack but more horizontal. I still use the boots but cut the backs down below the bulbs.
"Sheared heels" is the two bulbs being pulled apart/separated. Leaving two independent heel bulbs with no "attachment" to each other. This condition does not appear on the "outside" of the hoof wall (like Gunner). Only noticable if looking at the heels (the softer tissues) from the "back".

Quite catastrophic, with severe lameness. It is treatable, but not really correctable, definitely career ending.

Here is an excellent article with pictures: http://www.equipodiatry.com/article_sheared_heels.htm

Also a little more info: http://www.merckvetmanual.com/mvm/index.jsp?cfile=htm/bc/90731.htm&hide=1

I've only run into this in Standardbred pacers (ex track) and horses with severe "pigeon toes".

Jen, Farrier in VA
I reviewed my photos of the bruised bulbs (should have done that sooner) and the cracks were showing up before the bulbs were completely healed so I don't think it's your situation. The photo with the floss in the crack looks like the damage is from hooking a wire and pulling the hoof back making the wire cut the hoof because the cut looks quite straight. At the upper end there are some smaller crooked cracks that could be from movement of the severely weakened heel. I would not patch it over. I would get a medicine boot and soak it every day with antiseptic (betadine?) and pack the crack with furazone to prevent infection.
I hope you're not planning on doing any endurance rides anytime soon with your horse; my guess is he'd come up lame if you did. Not sure why you made the choice to change angles; this may have contributed to the problem that you now have. Your top priority should be to ensure the crack does not continue traveling in a horizontal direction makeing a bad situation worse. For this reason, I would consider filling the crack. Filling it would also help keep that opened area from getting infected. Good luck, you're gonna need it.

Jim, farrier from the Ozarks in Missouri
Have you checked to see if "Howard" is camped out in your backyard? Haven't heard from him lately and rumor has it he's living in your neck of the woods somewhere, hanging out with hillbillies, drinking shine, smoking who knows what and riding horses without any AERC sanctioning.

Re-check your back 40!

Natalie in FL (where is that boy?)
Had the exact same thing with my horse. He had an abscess that blew out at the heel bulb and the new wall that grew in was split horizontally like this. He wasn't shod at the time. Vet came out and gave shoeing prescription which I didn't listen to. The hoof healed fine. Took about 5 months for it to all grow out, but had no lameness and no further spreading of the horizontal crack. I also didn't use him during that time though (but he wasn't lame at all).

Karen Standefer
Hi Angie:
Good pictures.
I think it's not a new injury- I think you're seeing a crack from weakened wall, from either an old aseptic abscess or some type of un-noticed injury that's just gotten down to the point where it's opened.
Your farrier will know what to do and may make the decision to remove some of that outer wall.

I have seen a similar thing in my mare that has the rotten feet. It eventually grew out, she wasnever sore on it, but I didn't ride her at all til it did,as she was pregnant and had decided that being a Mom-to-be was all she needed to do. I think your horse's toes are too long. JMO jeri
My mare has very similar cut across the outside of her heel area on the left front, the result of clipping herself in an over reach stride and it abcessing.
She was off, slightly for 2 days when she first hit herself being too energenic in the round pen. I am keeping an eye on it, so far I have not had to do any special shoeing support. She is wearing pads at the moment as she just did a 50 miler in the Nevada desert with no problem.

Ride Safely, Ride With Sense of Horse
Angie on the 3rd picture I held a straight edge, cause it looked to me as if the shoe isn't even. (I am not a real farrier , but have been studying on my own and starteding to trim my own, via Pete Ramey, Jaimie Jacksons books, videos and learning with my natural trimmer)--and realised I had seen something simiiar. our old Tb Champ, had something like this , only he is barefoot-- but here is the connection I made . Champ's foot grows unevenly, always has, and with his knee arthritis , it is more pronounced. His hoof tries to 'roll" under on one side and the other side gets more upright. I know this because I dont' always keep him on a regular schedule ;0( and I see it happen. He got a similliar tear in the same place. In our case it was from negelected trimming on his uneveness. In your case it may be more growth on one side , that may be torquing the foot , causing the crack. It sure looks like the shoe isn't on the same "plane". Put a piece of paper or cardboard against the foot to see if the foot is evenly level. May be a combination of stress cracking from uneveness, from his gait, or growth pattern,or shoeing, and /all of the above.....
Or could be these rocks around here, I think Taylors Ridge has about the same rocks you do...;0)
Angie- Look at the 1stphoto the updated ones right under your name and email address.

What's that curved looking injury on the bulb? It's shaped the same as the slice in the hoof.

Oh- and just curious - what the length of the hoof on that foot- hairline to the ground (measured down the front).

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