Understanding the Equine Foot Part 2

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This week we are going to continue to learn about the Equine FOOT and how the CAPSULE relates to it. ... 

(www.crosscreek.com)I see many hooves with long toes and low heels and THIN SOLES.This all equates to an ouchie horse. This video will explain why.

I want you, as you are watching this video posted below from Linda J. Harris, TACT Trimming,  to imagine what has happened in the foot of the horse that is peripherally  landing; that is, landing on the walls of the hoof instead of the sole callus - the wall AND the white line. Imagine walking on your long fingernails so that, with each step, your toenail is being leveraged off the nail bed. It starts out being uncomfortable but, if allowed to continue, not only feels painful but also compromises the new growth of the fingernail as well as the blood supply and the cuticle as well. We can equate the periople and coronary of the hoof to the cuticle of our finger or toe nails. The nail "bed" is the laminae that holds the nail onto the "foot" ... analogous to the equine foot and capsule. 


Horses with very strong, healthy hooves, will self-trim like those of the feral horses. But this can only take place on a certain terrain of hard packed ground and lots of movement - situations which we don't find easily in domestic situations. Mostly what we find in domestic situations are horses that are turned out to a small paddock for just a few hours a day and the remainder of the day and night they are forced to stand in their own waste in a small area where they can barely turn around comfortably. We use all sorts of 'conditioners' and add all sorts of artificial "supplements" in order to try to strengthen the horses' hooves and 'fix' them when, in reality, unless the correct parameters of the hooves are followed in trimming and care, combined with correct diet and sufficient movement on correct ground, it just cannot happen. 

(illustration from speckstarakan.blogspot.com) 
There are a few things that can help improve the environment of our domestic horses. Building a track system with areas of hard-pack ground or pea gravel, sand, grass etc. can help as can ensuring the horse is getting enough varied forage in its diet all day and all night and turning the horse out for as many hours as possible - even 24/7 with shelter provided can go a long, long way in rehabbing those hooves that need extra help. Even hand walking a horse for a minimum of 10 minutes a day on a tarred road can help. Of course, providing timely hoofcare as the horse indicates the need but not going more than 8 weeks in between trims (some horses rarely need trimming - especially those kept in a close-to-ideal situation while others need trimming every 4 weeks religiously - it depends on the individual horse and hooves.)

Enjoy the video below and next week we'll continue onto Understanding the Equine Foot Part 3.

Please feel free to comment, ask questions, start a discussion below. 


Gwenyth Browning Jones Santagate is the best-selling author of 10 Secrets to Healthy Hooves as well as a noted author for various international equine publications including The Horses Hoof, Equine Wellness, Natural Horse Planet as well as a contributing author for the 2001 United States Federal Mounted Border Patrol Training Manual. For the last 37+ years, she has maintained healthy hooves with natural trimming on thousands of horses and specialized in pathological rehabilitation hoofcare for the last 20 years. She and her husband John keep a small herd of their own equine in SW Florida and continue to offer consults for horses in need. You can email to Gwen -- gwen.santagate@gmail.com or telephone in the US (239)-573-9687. For further information please click here:  www.thepenzancehorse.com

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