Elizabeth TeSelle hoof_maiden@hotmail.com
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Case Study:  Rocky Mountain Saddle Horse
These photos show a progression over 7 months.  In the photos on the left, before the horse was trimmed, you see an overgrown hoof with chipping, a lot of stretching in the white line (yellow arrow), and very forward heels (white horizontal line).  The feet are also contracted (red arrow).   In addition (and this is most evident in the concavity shot, 2nd row), the soles lack concavity, in part because there is a great deal of unexfoliated sole, and in part because the bars have pooled over the sole.

In the center pictures, several months along, concavity has improved, the old unexfoliated sole is gone, and the white line stretching has grown out to some degree.  The central sulcus of the frog (red arrow) is no longer a tight crack, but has opened up slightly, indicating decontraction.  At this point I am still having to do a good bit of work on the bars with every trim, as they continue to lay over and interfere with hoof mechanism.

In the final set of pictures, on the far right, two things stand out:  (1) the central sulcus of the frog has opened to a remarkable degree--it is now a groove, not a tight crack;  (2) I am having to do a LOT less work on the trim!  The bars now require very little work to keep them where they belong, and the sole is exfoliating on its own.  Concavity is also now normal for this horse.

The heel shots above confirm the decontraction that took place in this horse.  This is also a good angle to see how high and laid-over the bars were originally (far left).
In the side views of this horse's feet, you can see that the horse's weight has been brought back over her heel, rather than rocking forward onto the toe (as in the first shot on the left).  Notice the bump at the coronary band (yellow arrow) in the before shot.  Everything below that bump is flare (i.e., stretched white line).  The hoof is now growing down at the correct angle, and only has a small amount of flare left in the bottom 1/3 of the foot, which will grow out in a few months.
It's important to realize that the changes in this horse's feet occurred not just because she got a better trim.  The owner also made some major lifestyle changes, including moving the horse to a boarding stable that offered 24/7 turnout (horse was previously stalled 12 hours a day), and that allowed her to replace the grain the other barn was feeding with a ration balancer.  The difference in the horse's feet by just one month after the move to the new barn was amazing!  It's hard for owners to change their way of thinking, and I have a great deal of respect for those who put the needs of their horse first.
The owner says:
"Is this possible?? I guess when you think about it, it makes sense, but I never imagined that just by having Shadow trimmed better, our riding would all of a sudden click and things would go well!

I had an amazing ride yesterday, and first thought it was maybe just a fluke.  I hadn't ridden in a while so I was expecting total garbage but it was probably the best ride we've ever had.  She was very "up" under me, round, forward, and had NO head tossng or "giraffe neck."

So today I went out to test the theory again.  Also a "perfect" ride.

Elizabeth started trimming Shadow's feet at the beginning of August, and I think it's really making an actual differnce in the way she is carrying herself and able to keep herself together during a ride."
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