Wednesday, November 14, 2007

What I Learned from Dr. Bowker and Pete Ramey

Soundness is dependent on the development of the inner structures in the back part of the hoof, digital cushion and the lateral cartilage.

We must develop the inner structures of the hoof, like the digital cushion and lateral cartilages, over time by growing in a better hoof from the coronet band down by:

1. Lots of movement with a correct heel first landing (Paddock Paradise - no stalling!)
2. Pea Gravel - 4" placed everywhere we can in the horse's environment - this is very important
3. Ride with boots with FOAM PADS. Do not periphally load your horse (shoes, or a hoof in a boot without a pad). The dome pads work great for this.
4. Get rid of all signs of thrush - 50% Neosporin 50% Athlete's Foot Creme
5. Nutrition - grass hay and balanced minerals - low sugar and low starch

When trimming the horse:
1. It is about growing in a healthier hoof from the coronet band down. I can not affect what is already there, but I can grow in a better hoof.
2. Trimming from the top is cosmetic 90% of the time.
3. Place the mustang roll bevel underneath the hoof, and just lightly finishing from the top - I want a thick hoof wall and too much rasping from the top is counterproductive.
4. Long toes are very common in domestic horses and affects optimal movement. Work on taking toes back by setting breakover and bevel from under the hoof.

Oh, I learned so much, but these were the biggies. I am really going to be looking at hooves with new eyes, with the focus being on what is happening on the inside and how the horse's hooves are adapting to other influences in the body (saddle fit, injury, imbalances).

Radiographs really help with figuring out what is going on internally and I encourage all horse owners to ask their vet to take a set of lateral radiographs if you are specifically concerned about long toes or hoof development.

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