In his last post, veterinarian Andrew Conway BVSc from The Vet Centre Richmond touched on how External Hoof Mapping can be used as a useful tool to evaluate the conformation of your horse's feet. This ensures that any distortions in hoof growth can be recognised early to prevent potential discomfort or lameness. In this follow up post, Andrew now looks at another area of hoof conformation that is easily overlooked, but can often have subtle to severe impacts on your horse's movement.
- Moves better on one lunge direction compared to the other
- Rushes after landing from a jump
- Bucking after a jump
- Often places feet to either side of the midline when standing at rest
- Hard swellings, sometimes sensitive, on the medial or lateral aspect above the coronet on the hoof (see Figure 2 further below).
|Figure 1: The exfoliated functional sole thickness is equal|
beneath the lateral and medial ventral border of P3 and,
therefore, is reliable as a reference guide for medial-lateral balance.
|Figure 2: The head of arrow 'A' shows an example of hard swellings on the medial or lateral|
aspect above the coronet. Arrows 'B' show sidebones.
One way is to have your horse's feet X-rayed (see Figure 3). Even if the problem is not currently present, the presence of sidebones can suggest that there has been a problem. Generally, sidebones are not an issue in themselves - they are just the end result or symptom of irritation or strain to the collateral ligaments, usually due to medial-lateral imbalance.
|Figure 3: X-raying to check for medial-lateral imbalance|
Another way is to have the sole exfoliated in the region of the widest part of the foot (discussed earlier in Part 1). When the functional sole is identified, the height of the hoof wall on each side should be equal. The functional sole thickness is a reliable reference for medial and lateral heights of the distal border of P3 from the ground and is, therefore, an accurate guide in achieving medial-lateral balance in the hoof.
What can I do about it?
The solution is generally simple and the results can be dramatic. Have all your horse's feet trimmed for medial-lateral balance - either from X-rays (a very reliable check method, especially if the problem persists), or from exfoliation of the sole down to ‘live’ sole, measuring the hoof wall in the area of the widest part of the sole and trimming for equal heights medial to lateral.