Hoof Balance

The odds are that most health issues that a horse will experience in his early athletic life will relate to his lower legs. In fact the percentage is around 80% of all horse health issues involve the lower leg and usually the hoof.

For example, the dreaded Navicular syndrome has claimed far too many horses in the past. But, in most cases it can be prevented, and even if early signs are present, horses can still perform with agility and soundness. It is often just a case of working out the geometry of your horses feet, making the adjustments and ensuring that they are kept. To do that, the best way to evaluate your horses feet is with X-Rays; they take away the guess work, they are accurately measureable and changes to your horse’s feet can be made with confidence.

For this reason we are taking a pro-active approach and focusing our attention on the lower leg to give you and your farrier feed back on how you can protect your horses athletic ability, not to see him retired young but to keep performing to his best until his late teens, or older.

Since we purchased our digital X-Ray system late last year, we have had the opportunity to X-Ray many horse limbs, often 3 or 4 horses a week, for a variety of reasons. We have found in most cases (90%), foot conformation that could be improved on. Some cases have been drastic, where severe long term lameness was a high risk and a very few have been in need of “NO change at all”. There have been a number of cases where the rider has sensed something is not quite right. This may be, for example, poor movement, development of stumbling, bolting after landing, better on one rein than the other, misbehaving, etc. After X-raying the feet and identifying some geometrical faults, or other anatomical issues, a correction may quickly eliminate the problem.

How we do it:

 

Our digital DR system enables multiply X-Rays to be taken quickly with the results appearing on the computer screen within seconds. Very accurate measurements and angles can be recorded and feed back given on the spot. This is most valuable if the farrier is present. Correction can be made right then and if required post-trim X-Rays can be made to record and check the changes made.

 

Sometimes where lameness is evident more investigation is required. This could include viewing the horse at walk, trot and lunge, hoof testing and high speed camera recording. Where in the past we would often use nerve blocks, now this is only used in rare cases, which means the whole process is less invasive. In preference our high speed camera is a great tool, enabling the horses movement and foot placement to be viewed in slow motion.