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International Hoof Care Summit

By Kim Hughes - Farrier CFP

Cincinnati, U.S.A. 2nd - 5th February 2010

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the NZ Equine Research Foundation for the scholarship to travel to Cincinnati for this very informative Hoof Care Summit.

It was four days of intense lectures on a variety of topics and I would like to touch on a few that I feel would best benefit veterinarians and farriers of New Zealand.

One of the first lectures was on ligament damage within the coffin joint and damage done at the extensor tendon attachment.

The coffin joint is not a through Ginglymus joint as not only does it have back and forth movement it also has a degree of side movement, unlike the fetlock joint that has the Saggital ridge to stop any side movement. The degree of injury to the collateral ligaments tends to be more in your high performance horses and has a lot to do with the side movement.

The importance of breakover for all injuries was brought up in most lectures as was keeping the foot symmetrical by shoeing with good breakover and symmetrics, this helps to avoid some of the extensor and ligament damage.

Confinement and rest is important in all these cases as is a slow build up to fitness after the injury.

Stress in relation to an upright foot to the low heel long toe syndrome

According to recent studies horses with an upright hoof axis may be prone to high suspensory ligament damage and superficial tendon damage. The low heel, long toe tends to cause more deep digital tendon damage. In theory what is getting said is that if you have superficial tendon and high suspensory tendon damage you must lower the heel and give the horse a wide toe support with breakover and with your deep digital tendon injury; keep breakover well back and use an elevated shoe or egg bar shoe.

There were quite a few "Round Table" discussions that we could choose from - one I chose was on low crusted heels and sheared heels, the speaker of the table started the topic off and then opens it up for everyone to talk about their experiences or views, in this case it was interesting to hear the different ways people treated this cause, some used wedges, wedged pads and impression putty, Equithane soft hoof packing and an arrangement of different bar shoes. Some trimmed a horse with a sheared heel, wrapped the hoof with a wet animal lintex overnight to soften the hoof and let it remodel before shoeing the next day.

Jim Ferrie - a top Scottish farrier have a talk on P3 fractures. His favourite shoe was a rim bar shoe to stop complete movement of P3. It's a shoe that has a section of the shoe pulled over like a big clip from heel quarter to heel quarter and when applying for a fracture he would leave this shoe on for 8- 10 weeks.

He was a bit uncertain about screwing certain fractures as he had experienced a few disasters.

Navicular fractures; Heel elevation with shoes or Equithane Superfast to build up the heel and fill the sole with a soft Equithane hoof packing. Ferrie also mentioned Horizontal Grooving for sidebone fractures. This would have to be done with a veterinarian.

Steve O'Grady - Hoof Capsule

Steve's talk on the hoof capsule was mainly the palmar aspect. He wanted everyone to understand the real importance of the frog digital cushion, bar cartilages medial lateral. He mentioned that when a pedal bone has O degree in the heel that every degree of sinkage in the palmar hoof puts 4% more pressure on the navicular bone. O'Grady also went on about poor foot conformation causes, genetics, environment, continuous overload, breed, improper development. He also mentioned with trimming foals where taking too much heel off early in life will lead to a weaker flatter foot.

Ric Redden - Reading X-Rays

Ric had the whole class draw the hoof capsule and limb and then draw the bony column, we then had to draw a rotated P3 so that we understood the importance of reference points on x-rays. Also we had to look for tell tale signs of what was happening inside the hoof capsule by looking at the growth rings on the hoof.


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