Initial Hoof Assessment – Duffy

Posted: December 22nd, 2007, by Melanie Merrow

Profile stance of Duffy

This photo was taken on November 5th, 2007 – Duffy’s second day at our new farm. He arrived with a winter blanket and full pillow warps, sweaty and very excited. During the ten hour trailer ride he rubbed a chunk of his tail off and had rubs in his shoulders. I noticed that he didn’t seem sore to walk but, his stance shows pain in the back of the hoof, along his back and shoulders. Notice the change in his stance between the photo above and this one taken in February 2002 when I had Duffy barefoot.

Barefoot Duffy in 2002

You can click on each of the pictures below to see a larger version of the image.

Figure 1Figure 2Figure 3Figure 4

Figure 1

The shoes are placed very far forward – you can see his heels and bars have overgrown. His frog is very narrow and there is a deep central sulcus with a bit of thrush. Notice the dead white chalky sole with deep dirt lines? The sole is designed to be able to wear down on it’s own as wild horses move 16 – 18 hours a day on average. With shoes, the sole is not allowed to wear thus will need to be artifically cut to mimic the natural wear patterns to keep a correct hoof. The sole will often become unhealthy and not cut to the internal structures the way nature intended. One only has to look at a real coffin bone to see that a flat hoof is not supportive to the tendons or bones of the hoof. This is not a horrible hoof but not correct..yet.

Figure 2

The frog does not contact the ground and either the shoe is not placed correctly or the heel has overgrown the shoe. The back of the heels are not that bad with only a slight contraction.

Figure 3

Duffy’s heels are under run and the entire hoof has grown forward.

  • There is a large crack which has probably formed because the balance of the hoof is off.
  • As the shoe is placed so far forward, the heels have grown over.
  • The heels look deflated, there is no spring in the back of the foot. This is a dull and dry hoof wall.

Figure 4

  • A long overgrown wall with high quarters
  • The bars are very far forward and overgrown. Lucky for me that they were not folded over.
  • Note the poor triangle shaped frog. It has been cut this way, but does very little to support the back of the hoof.
  • A dry and chalky sole. I scraped it off over a few days with a hoof pick.
  • Deep central sulcus showing the start of thrush.