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Linda Cowles Hoof Care - Serving the greater SF Bay Area and Northern California

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Butter, TB Broodmare

June 2005 - Butter is a 10 year old TB broodmare whose extremely long front left hoof wall was 1 3/4 inches longer than the front right hoof.

The reason I put this case study up is that it captures how a bar rapidly over-grew to provide support when the mare lost her medial heel and wall to the quarters. She lost this wall/heel after catching a ragged flared wall in a piece of wire and pulling to free herself. The injury occurred approx. two weeks before I saw her. They had wrapped the foot for a week, and... the wrap came off in the "pasture".

Note from Jan 2009 - This is another "Blast from the Past" - one of my very early clients, a breeder with poor environmental management... her place was not an easy place to keep horses on, and she had over 30 horses most of the time. I trimmed 4 to 15 horses a week here for about a year. Some horses got regular trimming, but most of the feet were only trimmed every 2 to 4 months.

Look at the THRUSH in these feet!!! I advised the owner to treat it, but at the time I had NO IDEA what a horrible problem is was for these horses.

This place was the perfect thrush nursery... horses lived in mud over their fetlocks, there was no manure management and all of the horses had horrible frogs. I got so used to seeing the diseased frogs, high bars and heels that I stopped trying to thoroughly clean the feet. It was here that I learned that bars protect thrushy feet from painful frog pressure.


Before After

Below, note the missing lateral heel and wall, and underneath, the bars had grown up to provide stability. It amazes me that this horse survived having this type of injury in an environment where her feet were continuously submerged in a muddy filthy swamp, but her wall grew out normally.

I was astounded at how balanced the foot appeared to be, and when I lifted it, I saw that the bar on that side of the hoof had thickened at the heel to provide a base of support for the buttress, and had filled in the bar-heel triangle and its calloused surface replaced the missing wall as a base of support for that part of her hoof.

I decided to leave that hoof alone and focused on the very long front feet, which were amazingly easy to begin to get balanced. Her heels were still much too high, but lowering them would mean invading the sole at the bar heel triangle, and I wanted her to weight that area to help wear the heels. The heels will come down nicely in successive trims.

Butter, who had hobbled into the barn for this initial trim, trotted off nickering when released.
When we trimmers look at nightmare feet like these, we groan, sure that we are in over our heads. Results like these keep me going... a sound horse is all the incentive I need to keep working with lame horses who initially resist my efforts to help them.
Linda Cowles Hoof Care
Serving the greater SF Bay Area & Northern California
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