Your thoughts filly's hoofs have changed shape!

Discussion in 'Horse Management' started by Deb2, Nov 15, 2009.

  1. Deb2

    Deb2 Guest

    My eight month old filly, Marley, had normal shaped hoofs, that have been trimmed regulary since birth.

    Due to my changes in circumstances, its been about six to eight weeks since her last trim, when I went to trim her yesterday(which is longer than normal).

    Due to the long grass in her previous paddock, I guess I couldn't get a clear view of her hoofs, but out of the paddock on firm ground for the trimming, and I was shocked to see her front hoofs looking very short in the toe and really upright in apperance. The angles do not follow the angle of her pastern, she is much steeper down the front of the hoof.

    The back hoofs however, were almost the opposite...low in the heel and long and slopey down the toe.

    I gave her a good trim, taking more off the heels of the front hoofs and more off the toes of the back hoofs, but I am concerned about the uprightness of her fronts, and wonder why or what would have made this happen within six to eight weeks?

    Could it be diet related?

    She is fed, per day, a kilo each of flaked lupins, flaked barley, weaner and grower, plus roughage in the form of sweet chaff (oat hulls) and has been on good paddock grazing.

    She is threequarter quarterhorse.

    Any thoughts on the matter?
  2. Anna E

    Anna E Guest

    Can you post photos???
    My first thought is that that sounds like a lot of grain for an 8 month old and she may be growing rapidly - too fast for her tendons to keep up? Wouldn't weaner and grower n it's own be enough?
    I'd be backing off the grain and calling a vet.
  3. Sharaway

    Sharaway Guest

    Bith my Filly and Heidi's have been needing hoof trims every 4 weeks at the moment, both growing like weeds, both have been getting OVER fed to fatten them for the show season, now both have been cut off all hard feed and turned out together for the summer, however still require 4 weekly trims to keep their little tootsies right.
  4. Briz

    Briz New Member

    Wow - that sounds like WAY TO MUCH protein for an 8mo :( To much protein causes lots of leg and hoof growth problems sadly :( Even when people think they are doing the right thing for their youngsters by feeding them up all to often they are doing more harm than good :(

    Reading that you trim yourself yet your having to ask questions on a forum I would suggest you get a good professional farrier in to take a look. Im not for a second saying you cannot do it but with such a younun i wouldnt be taking any risks and be getting a professional ASAP. Even just to give you a guide as to what may be happening and steer your trimming in the right direction:)*

    I guess the main think with young/growing horses is legs and feet - if they are no good then generally you will never have a sound horse :(

    Hope you can get it sorted ASAP.

    As Anne E has mentioned above just a breeder pellet and plenty of cereal hay is MORE than enough for a younun :)
  5. Claireb

    Claireb Well-known Member

    Pastern angle


    Pastern angle is a very unreliable method to trim your horses feet to, depending on how they are stood and how much weight is in that leg at anyone time causes the angle to change.

    Foals need to be trimmed slightly differently to older horses as do donkeys, mules etc, sounds like they are just over grown, high in the hind toe and high in the front heel but without having pics this is hard to see.

    Lowering the heels too much can cause problems for these guys. Also, exposure to hard ground is good for the feet, so hand walking your yougster over hard ground will aid foot development.

  6. Freestyle

    Freestyle Well-known Member

    Well said Briz :))

    Maybe take some pics of your little baby (feet and overall condition), that might help the discussion a little more.
  7. Deb2

    Deb2 Guest

    Thanks for the comments guy:)*

    I have been feeding her to match her current condition, and she is neither over or under weight, so I have continued on with this amount, as I intend to reduce it when her condition showed that she did'nt need this amount. I would be concerned that if I cut back on her feed, she would drop in weight too much, but I will definately take those comments on board.

    Unfortunately, I cant get any pics, as I have just taken her to my sisters place at Kellerberrin, but I will see if she will take some, so please keep an eye on this thread for when that happens.

    Prior to this 6 to 8 week gap of trimming, I (and my farrier) were seeing to her feet approx every 4 weeks, and they were growing in a normal fashion. What has puzzled me is that her fronts (this time) where short in the front and upright in appearance, which is not consistant with her backs, which were just longish, but normal in appearance.

    I was wondering if anyone had had any experience with their youngster rapidly changing in the front, but not the hind hoofs?

    She is not lame or sore in any way, and I cant see any change in her gait.

    I will try to get some pics.

    Appreciate your thoughts.**)
  8. Lasix

    Lasix New Member

    I am a little confused as to why so many people in the horse world seem to think that protein causes problems in horses.

    I have had people tell me that protein causes hoof abscesses (equine vet says no it doesn't), causes founder (actually associated overconsumption of carbohydrates), causes leg deformities in foals (see below), causes mad behaviour (actually associated with an excess of energy not specifically protein) and various other things.

    I feel protein is being unfairly given a bad rap.

    Protein is essential for growth and repair and is especially necessary in a young horse as it provides the building blocks for growth. That's why horse feeds designed for pregnancy, lactation and growing horses have a high percentage of protein in them.

    Any excess of protein in the diet (except in certain medical conditions - hepatic or renal disease) will just be used as an energy source or turned into fat. Obviously a massive excess of protein will lead to the horse getting overweight and all the problems which go along with obesity, however, this is not a problem with protein per se, but rather a problem with calorie excess in the diet (and can be caused by too much of any energy molecules - protein, fat or carbohydrate).

    Some sources of protein are better than others because of the balance of amino acids (what protein is made of) they provide. For example, soya bean meal is probably the best source of protein as it provides a wide range of amino acids including essential amino acids. Copra is another good source of protein.

    See here for an excellent article on why protein is a very important part of the equine diet.
    Protein requirements of horses

    Some quotes specifically relating to young horses include:

    "Myth: "High Protein Diets Cause Development Problems in Foals."

    "Most confusion regarding DOD (developmental orthopaedic disease) is related to nutrition. Mineral imbalances have been well-documented as a cause of DOD. Excessive protein was blamed as a cause in the 1970's, but later studies disproved this connection. Feeding more protein than the foal needs does not increase growth rate above that achieved when the diet just meets protein requirements. Unfortunately, the diets of many young horses are kept quite low in protein for fear of causing developmental problems. Restricting protein will not result in improved bone growth, and can actually be harmful to the foal by decreasing feed intake, growth rate and skeletal development. On the other hand, overfeeding energy will result in developmental problems, particularly if protein and mineral intake are not increased at the same time. Again, the horse owner must be able to differentiate between the energy and the protein content of the diet. For growing horses, protein and minerals must be in proportion to the energy in the diet."


    "The average horse has the greatest potential for growth at a very young age and if adequate dietary protein is not available, optimum growth will not be achieved.

    It should also be remembered that a young horse can have all the minerals in the world in its diet but if that diet is deficient in high quality protein, then weak bones will result."


    "Protein is very often the most underestimated and misunderstood element in a horse's diet, and this is particularly so on breeding farms. As pointed out earlier, a deficiency of protein will do more to depress growth rate than almost any other single nutrient."


    "In the last 3 months of pregnancy the foetus virtually doubles in size (approximately two-thirds of foetal growth occurs in this period) and a mare's requirements for protein (and minerals) increases dramatically.

    Failure to provide adequate nutrition for the pregnant mare can have profound and possibly irreversible effects on the unborn foetus. In fact, many of the bone ailments that plague breeders and trainers (e.g. spavins, splints, sprains, ring-bone) are the tragic result of improper skeletal development during the foetal and early growth stages."


    "Around 90% of the remodelling (and therefore strengthening) of growing bone occurs between the time a horse is born and when it is two years of age. High quality protein is essential for bone strength."

    For further information about the necessity of adequate protein in the diet see:
    Equilize Horse Nutrition - Dr Nerida Richards' (equine nutritionist) website.$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/hrs3243#protein - Govt of Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development horse feeding myths and misconceptions.

    Anyway, sorry to hijack the thread but I just through that poor old protein needed an advocate as it seems to be considered the root of all evil by a lot of horsepeople.

    To get back to the issue at hand I agree that a (good) farrier is the way to go to work out what's happening with the feet of your youngster.
  9. Deb2

    Deb2 Guest

    Thanks Lasix, I found your post very informative, and you sound like your knowledge has some serious study behind it.**)

    In your opinion, would 3 kilos of hardfeed be excessive per day (for an 8 month old)? This includes minerals too. Her weight is good, not over weight or under weight.
  10. QH Rulz

    QH Rulz Well-known Member

    hi ziggy..
    when my QH gelding was 6 months his front feet did what your fillies have done, also within 6 weeks. i got the farrier straight away.. he trimmed him back quite a bit and told us he was just doing a growth spurt, but this trim caused him to become lame. So i contacted the vet, who came and saw him. We did some corrective shoeing (some sort of glue on shoes) which fixed his off fore but gelding kept losing his near one. And he actully ended up with contracted tendon on his near fore. So we had his cut at murdoch.
    solved his foot problem, he is now 5 years old and a very successful show horse.

    Might be tottally different to Marley but worth a thought to keep an eye on her legs as well as feet.
    apperently quite commen in QH's.
  11. Anna E

    Anna E Guest

    Lasix you are right, protein is essential in the diet and yes excess protein in the diet will be turned to energy and if given greatly to excess will lead to obesity.
    My concern with giving a baby horse a great deal of grain (if you read my first post I refer to grain, not to protein per se) is threefold:
    1. The calcium phosphorus balance can be thrown out - this can result in developmental problems in bones and joints. Straight grains are not balanced for calcium and phosphorus, and somoene feeding 2 or 3 kg of straight grain to a horse each day is probably unblancing the diet in respect of those 2 minerals. Anyone who is feeding a home mix based on grains is well advised to run the diet through FeedXL or similar to make sure the balance of minerals and vitamins is right. It is CRUCIAL to have the right balance of minerals in the diet of any growing animal, far more so than a mature one.
    2. Excess protein will be converted to energy = overweight baby = extra weight onto growing bones and joints.
    3. Excess energy and/or protein can result in growth rates higher than they "should be" and in growth spurts which can lead to imbalances in the development of the skeleton. No, it's not going to lead to long bone deformities or anything but it can lead to bone growth which outstrips the speed of growth of soft tissues leading to tendon contracture and the like. Young horses IMHO should always look lean (but not skinnny) and be growing SLOWLY but STEADILY. There is no doubt that a high protein high energy diet designed to maximise the growth and bulk of a youngster at a young age is associated with increased risk of developmental problems such as OCD in larger breeds of horses. Probably much less of an issue in a Quarter horse X than a Holsteiner (or any other WB - I'm not just picking on Holsteiners!)but something to be aware of. The standard recommendation for one of these big fast growing breeds which does develop a problem like OCD or wobblers is to cut the diet RIGHT back to slow their growth rate.
    In today's environment protein restriction to the point where a horse suffers a growth check is highly unlikely.. All the studies I have read suggest that horses will acheive their genetically preordained adult height by skeletal maturity (which is around 5 or 6, not 2) regardless of whether they had a high or moderate protein diet in the early stages. Slower growth over the full potential growth period results in denser, higher quality bone.Your quote itself refers to high QUALITY protein, not high VOLUME.
    I don't think people blame protein as a cause of "fizziness" in horses - that I think most will agree is down to excess carbohydrates. Feeds such as oats have protein in them but they are also high in soluble carbs so the horse effectively gets a "sugar rush". I also don't think you'll find anyone on this forum blaming founder on protein alone..
    Besides anything else feeding an excess of protein as an energy source is a bloody expensive way to feed energy! Far better to fill them up with cereal hay and give the correct but not excessive amount of protein in a balanced source such as a commercial grower pellet.
  12. Caroline

    Caroline Well-known Member

    Feeding a young horse...........

    Hmmm..........3kgs sounds a lot to me. Especially an 8month old QH!

    These guys (QHs) are very very good doers by breed, and get heavy real quick. You will find this horse is hard to keep weight off when it is older!*#)

    Perhaps up the hay and cut back 1kg of grain; perhaps the barley. Obviously keep up the mineral supplementation. **)

    We have an 11 month old pinto arab/QH/heinz cross-bred gelding who is a solid boy. He is already nearly 14hh! He gets 1kg of weaner pellets, 2L of soaked lupins (approx 450gm dry lupins), Cell-Grow and 5L lucerne chaff daily. Plus ad lib hay. Thats it.:}

    He was getting fed more up to 7 months old, but he does not need extra now. He would be a whale!:D
  13. Studentofthehorse

    Studentofthehorse New Member

    Hi Ziggy,

    Lill did the same thing as a yearling. I cant speak for your filly but I can tell you my experience.

    Lilly's bars grow a LOT, always have, when the farrier for some reason decided to leave them they became weight baring. She was uncomfortable at the back of the foot and "holding herself". This meant there was more weight at the front of the hoof and over time a decrease in toe height. She was tender on gravel too. Both her fronts looked very boxy, I started asking questions and learning...

    Within a few trims, the bar over growth settled down and she was weighting her feet properly again. She developed toe height and her hooves had correct balance. You have seen her feet, you know they aren't coke cans now :D

    Interestingly. Shortly after she came over, I again couldnt trim her bar over summer. None of my tools could do it properly. Her heels contracted a little and toe got low. The old wear pattern came back, but of course nothing like the first time. That was last summer and it took a month of the rainy season for me to fix it.

    Remember how plastic hooves can be, and also that it is not always the hoof that influences the hoof's conformation. Check her body too.

    Goodluck :D
  14. Siren

    Siren Well-known Member

    I completely agree with Anna E **)

  15. Lasix

    Lasix New Member

    AnnaE I totally agree with you - you'll note in your first post you did not specifically refer to an excess of protein but rather grain in general.

    I do agree that 3kg of grain is probably too much for a young horse, especially a QH (not even my 16.2 in work TB gets that much).

    What I was getting at is that feeding protein to young horses will not cause leg and hoof growth problems (unless massive excesses of protein are fed causing the horse to become morbidly obese and putting abnormal strain on the growing skeleton).

    Like I said, most feeds designed for breeding or growing horses have a decent protein content anyway, so the grower and weaner pellets should be providing enough protein without needing to supplement from other sources.

    Ziggy, am I correct in thinking you are feeding lupins and barley because the straight grains are cheaper/more readily available than buying complete feeds? (this is the reason I myself go for straight grains). You could probably cut out the barley and swap the lupins to full fat soya (1 cup per day) then adapt the amount of grower and weaner according to your horse's condition (also adapting the amount of hay/other sources of roughage as well).

    And I haven't heard anyone on this forum say that protein causes founder or fizzy behaviour but I have definitely heard it in person from people out in the horse world (including, scarily, a farrier).

    Sorry I can't be more help with explaining the feet condition - good luck with sorting it out.
  16. Eoroe

    Eoroe Gold Member

    I also hear this alot - and often from people that create a huge imbalance in energy vs protein. I too agree this is alot of misunderstanding out their as to what protein is, and what energy is **)

    (and does)

    I see animals with energy up past their ears - with too many problems to poke a stick at, that largely, and dangerouslty lack protein as they are not provided it. A descision based on.......nothing but myths.....

    I dont have anything to offer in this situation, but I am enioying the read **)
  17. Deb2

    Deb2 Guest

    Thanks guys for all your input. I've been enjoying reading it all.

    As a foot note, Marley has no ridges down her hoofs, that I would expect to see if the protein in her feed was too high.

    I will still try to get some pics asap.:D
  18. Nannoo

    Nannoo Well-known Member

    Geez you women make something simple, complex!

    Ziggy, the answer to your question is conformation... Put simply your young one is naturally upright and that's the way it'll wear if left for any period of time... I come across it all the time.

    How to alleviate this issue is to regularly (21-28 days) trim the horse to a balanced hoof and the side effects of being an upright horse will be minimised.
  19. Deb2

    Deb2 Guest

    But Nannoo, she wasn't like this at all until sometime within the last 6 or 8 weeks. Her little tootsies were just normal shaped until then.
  20. Nannoo

    Nannoo Well-known Member

    But leaving a horse 8 weeks or so... what do you expect?

    Long hind toes with flat heals will bring the front legs back, wearing the toes and pushing up the heals on the front.

    Balance the hoof more often and you wont have a problem.

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