Navicular Syndrome

Navicular Syndrome

Leslie Batistich
Navicular syndrome is a critical problem with the riding horse. Navicular is usually suspected when your horse is showing pain in the caudal aspect of its hoof. Typically when this problem is diagnosed the horse owner will not only need to revise the horse’s training program, but will also need to look at corrective shoeing. I have found the composite shoe to be a more than competent corrective shoe for navicular problems. Every horse owner or caretaker should fully understand hoof mechanism, proper trimming, and how it affects the horse’s entire body, health and longevity. Navicular problems are not hereditary. Many horse people may believe that navicular problems are hereditary. Do not mistake this for a hereditary weakness. It is a very common health care problem. Navicular problems are almost always man made through improper trimming, short term or long term shoeing, and/or inadequate natural environment throughout the horse’s life. This type of improper care can cause problems in the navicular area of your horse’s hoof. The navicular bone is located directly behind the coffin bone, held in between the short pastern and coffin bone by tendons and ligaments. The navicular bone has two main functions: To protect the joint and tendons from pressure and concussion; and to act as a valve for blood flow to the coffin bone and corium in the hoof. An insult to this region causes pain and lameness in the horse. When your horse is diagnosed with navicular syndrome by your veterinarian a common drug therapy will normally include isoxsuprine hydrochloride, a drug which causes dilation of the small blood vessels. This is a long course of drug therapy which can become quite expensive. Corrective shoeing is always going to be required in more chronic cases of navicular syndrome. Your horse should be trimmed according to its own conformation and properly fitted with a corrective shoe. The main point is that to be able to continue using your horse, you are going to need to be proactive in making your horse comfortable while he is working. Remember, you are never going to be able to cure navicular problems, you and your farrier can, however, assist in relieving him from pain.

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Dealing with Hoof Thrush

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main-kit-web This spring as you go about your routine of picking out your horse’s hooves, you may discover an unusual thick black discharge and foul smell around the frog. These are the early signs of the hoof disease thrush. Thrush is an infection of the frog and of the surrounding tissue of the hoof. The bacteria associated with thrush infect the collateral and central sulci (creases) of the frog. The bacteria break down the tissue of the hoof, and this breakdown results in the foul odor and black discharge. If thrush is left untreated it can turn into a very painful problem in the heel area of your horse. Thrush is likely to infect a horse which is living in unsanitary conditions. A wet environment that is made up of urine and acidity from manure is a breeding ground for the anaerobic bacterium that are attracted to any dead tissue that is on your horse’s frog. Also, people who have horses in a climate similar to the Pacific North West should keep a close lookout for this disease due to the constant dampness. The good news is that thrush is anaerobic, which means that this bacteria cannot live in the presence of air. The best way to avoid it in the first place is to keep your horse’s feet dry and clean so air can reach the tissue of the frog. A daily hoof picking does wonders. If not caught in the early stages the bacteria will form deep seated pockets and literally drill into the frog eating away the remaining healthy tissue. If you do happen to notice a pungent odor and a black discharge from your horse’s frog, some treatment will be necessary. Mild cases of thrush can be treated by removing dead tissue by trimming, scrapping, and vigorous scrubbing (debriding), of the frog and hoof wall. Moderate cases will need to be scrubbed with an antiseptic and treated daily with a topical spray after trimming and debridement. Severe cases of thrush will need repeated intense debridement followed by sterile bandaging and a quality topical thrush treatment. Your veterinarian may also recommend a tetanus shot. With a careful eye, good hygiene, and quick treatment if needed, you will be able to prevent thrush from delaying you and your equine partner’s long past due spring ride. If you have had any experience with thrush please post your comments here and share your knowledge with your fellow horse owners.  

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Performance Horse Shoeing Tips

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No matter what kind of performance horse you might happen to have, cutting, reining, roping, or pleasure, one thing is a constant fact: your horse must be in balance with his body to perform at his optimal level. It is your farrier’s job to trim and shoe your horse to allow for optimal balance. 

I have been lucky with my reining cow horse, Smoke ‘em. He has never needed any corrective shoeing. I simply have my farrier trim him flat and level based on the conformation of each of his legs. I have his feet trimmed short to ensure that he moves naturally. Horses with toes that are too long or heels that are too high do not stride naturally and do not look pretty to the judges. Eventually, excessively long feet cause problems that may require correction and even rehabilitation down the road. You can compare this problem to the human athlete. If a runner wore shoes one size too small, or too large, for even one training session he would feel a lot more stress and strain in the legs than with shoes which fit properly. The same is true for your horse. The most important factor in the shoeing of your performance horse is to have him land level on the ground, You can notice this by observing your horse move at a walk. View him from the front and from the side. Does the inside or the outside of the shoe hit the ground first? Or, does he put the entire hoof down level? If his walk is level, he will most likely lope and trot level also. And, most importantly for cow horses, he will stop level also. If he does not land perfectly level his timing (and yours) will be off. This problem will only get worse as you work him at a quicker pace. Remember, all foot and leg problems intensify as the horse moves faster. The best way to make decisions about your performance horse’s shoeing needs is to watch him move from the ground, and learn to listen to your seat. If you have any tips on shoeing the performance horse please post them here and share your experience.

 

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Winter Horse Hoof Care

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Horses_wallpapers_369 Winter is the time when a lot of horse owners choose to pull their horse’s shoes and let the hoof regenerate. Pulling the shoes and leaving your horse barefoot enhances the overall health of the feet. Hooves tend to grow more slowly in the winter months. However, the unshod feet should be trimmed regularly, 4 to 6 week intervals, with an emphasis on keeping the edge of the hoof sufficiently rounded. The hooves should also be painted twice a week with an appropriate hoof dressing. A little extra care and attention during the winter months when your horse is barefoot will result in a stronger healthier foot the rest of the year. However, there are more than a few of us who ride and compete in the winter months and pulling shoes is just not ever going to be an option. If you are like me and live in a snow filled winter environment you know that training outdoors, and trail riding, can cause problems for your horses feet. The main issue that I have to deal with when I am riding in the snow is “snow-balling”. This is when mixtures of snow, ice, mud, manure, grass, or bedding accumulate in the sole area. It can pack very densely into large rounded ice mounds that are almost impossible to chip out. When a horse is forced to stand or move on snowballs he has decreased stability in his fetlock joint. His weight is liable to roll medially, laterally, forward, or backward. It is extremely fatiguing for his muscles, tendons, and joint ligaments as he constantly tries to make adjustments to maintain balance. It is easy for a snowballed horse to lose his balance and wrench a fetlock. I have found a product that works perfectly for my horse, and is very easy for me to apply by myself. I use the HOOF-it Winter Snow Pad to keep my horse’s hooves clear of debris in the winter. With this pad in place I have full confidence in my horse’s footing while training outdoors in the snow, or trail riding. Let me know if you have tried HOOF-it Snow Pads and how they have worked for you.
 

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Barefoot vs. Shoeing

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A common debate in the horse world these days is whether or not to shoe your horse. Of course this can only be answered by knowing what you are requiring of your horse and the current condition of its feet. A horse that is retired and spending his days on pasture has different needs than a competition cutting horse. Other than an occasional hoof trim the pasture horse should be fine going barefoot. The question becomes more complicated when the level of your horse’s activity is raised. One thing that I have noticed is that you rarely see a non-working horse come up lame. I believe that a big part of this is that when we ride we are placing unnatural stresses on the hoof. While it is true that wild horses live out their lives unshod, it is also true that natural selection takes the horses that have weak feet. In addition, the restrictions we place on the horse’s movement in various disciplines are issues which the wild or pasture horse does not have to deal with. For example, when we ride we control the headset of our horse for appearance more often than for function (i.e. pleasure classes), our horses also constantly have to compensate for the weight of the rider above them, which compromises their balance. We also ask them to move in ways that generally affect their overall carriage and hoof placement. Finally, working horses are first and foremost athletes, subject to the same types of injuries as their human counterparts. In the wild, a horse moves freely without a lot of repetitive motion. The working horse is asked to repeat gaits over and over again causing the hoof to strike the same way. In humans, runners in particular, this is called Repetitive Motion Injury. I feel that this sort of disciplined movement is the cause of most hoof problems. I have found that a happy medium between steel shoes and barefoot to be the composite shoe. In a composite shoe or a hybrid composite horseshoe you get the benefits of support and shock absorption, while retaining the flexibility and the circulation of going barefoot.

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Founder and Naviculer Help

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Just a few lines to tell how these shoes and pour pads have helped me help a lot of horses. I've been using HOOF-it plastic shoes and medicated pour pads at the Bhighterdays Horse Refugee in Pipe Creek Texas on 2 very laminatic horses. The horses are no longer laying down all the time and are starting to grow good horn. These horses were shod in 8mm HippoPlast wedges and saw almost imediate improvement. Now we are presented with a horse that is pre naviculer this with 3 xrays and no diognostic blocks. I go over the horse real good and determane the feet are very dry and contracted... again Hippoplast 8mm wedges and soak the feet. This horse is in the high dessert of New Mexico. Three days latter the folks are poneying colts on him... 6 weeks later the foot has opened up so much that the old shoes are to small and we go to flat shoes. Bill Mc Donald BWFA Farrier

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Bryce Canyon Ride

Bryce Canyon Ride

Leslie Batistich
By Cyndee Pryor

What an experience! Greg and I arrived a day early to rest the horses after our long journey across two states from California to southwest Utah. Camp was nice with a few trees, sandy footing, showers, horse water, and outhouses. Anne and Dave Nicholson were courteous and welcoming. For the most part, about 75 to 80 riders started each day with a very high completion rate. The weather co-operated with us, but on day three in base camp we had a sudden hail storm which the riders missed out on the trail. We had applied Hoof-it before leaving home, and after a quick check to make sure all eight hooves of our two horses were covered, we started day one with much anticipation. Luckily for us, the ride started a little late as we forget to reset our clocks forward by one hour. The scenery was gorgeous with the Red Rocks providing a spectacular view. Besides the sandy soil and the Red Rocks, it felt like we were in the California Sierras most of the time. The footing was rather rocky and we re-applied Hoof-it to seven of the eight hooves after day one. Each day progressed into the next with the main difference being the accumulation of tiredness. Greg and I stayed in the back of the pack as Greg weighs in at 270 pounds with tack and I was on a fairly young horse who hadn’t even done two days in a row before. Greg did manage to finish all five days on the same horse and I finished day 1,2,4, and 5, giving my horse day three off. All the days were large loops with lunch being out of camp so we prepared crew bags which were taken out to lunch for us. Usually lunch was about 25 miles into the ride with great views, green grass for the horses to munch on, horse water, people lunch provided, and great vet checks. Most of the days were pretty technical and a seasoned horse sure helped. Some of the trail was following the side of a canyon, some of the trail took you right up to the edge of a mile long drop off with a birds eye view of the Red Rocks. There were places where the trail was on the side hill of a shale rockslide, but everything was passable with common sense and no sense of urgency - meaning slow down, dismount, walk your horse in hand, and pay attention. When it doubt, check it out! It wasn’t an easy ride on horse or rider. Some days we would climb up to 9500 feet, drop down to 6500 feet, climb again to 8000 feet, and repeat this process many, many times during the day. Other days we would follow the side of the mountains around one bend to the next, and after doing this about six or eight times, wonder if we would ever get to lunch. This is not a ride you would want to get hurt on. Many places it would have been tough to get you or your horse out. But the Duck was always aware of where his ducklings were, what they were up against, and remained a calm and commendable leader throughout the course of the week. There were quite a few rock sore horses by the end of the ride and some didn’t get to finish all five days. Ours looked great using Hoof-it for the duration of the ride. Some of the riders were using Easy Boots which worked ok, but some of the Easy Boots were pulled off in the bogs and muddy areas. We re-applied Hoof-it after some of the more rocky days, but after using it at home and on the single day rides, it was an easy job after we came in from the trail. Great ride, great trail, great company, and I’m glad I found Hoof-it.

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Navicular Syndrome and HOOF-it Composite Horseshoes

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Navicular Syndrom Dear HOOF-it Technologies: My mare was diagnosed with “Navicular Syndrome”. One day I noticed that her stride had become short and stabby like. We took her to the vet for a full examination and x-rays and sure enough she was diagnosed with “Navicular Syndrome”. The vet prescribed meds (isoxsuprine) that were given to her religiously but she still seemed too uncomfortable to go back to her regular workouts. After looking on the internet I found your HOOF-it plastic horseshoes and was eager to try them. I bought a pair and gave them to my farrier to put on. My farrier is a bit of a traditionalist and gave me a cross eyed look but after some convincing he went ahead and put them on. Much to our amazement she walked out of the cross ties a different horse. We put her on a line and her movement was night and day. Her short and stabby stride became once again free and long. She has now been able to go back to regular work and has even been shown in the childrens hunters. I know she will never go back to the 3’6 ring but she is comfortable and happy. Who could ask for anything more? Thank you for making a horseshoe that just makes sense! Sincerely, Ann Alexander

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Farrier Referrals

Farrier Referrals

Leslie Batistich

If you are a horse owner, you share in the challenge of keeping your horse comfortable and sound. If you're like most of us, you've experienced lameness issues with your horses. You know that unraveling the source of lameness is a team effort between your vet, (or often more than one vet), your farrier, and you. Caring for your horses' hooves on a daily basis is as important as keeping clean water in front of him/her. Choosing a good farrier is also critical to keeping your horse sound. What do you think are the qualities of a good farrier? We are looking for top farriers around the country and for that matter around the world so we can build a farrier referral directory at hoof-it.com. We need your input, so if you are a farrier, or you have a good farrier, contact us. We'll need your name, the name of your farrier, location of your farrier business, your farrier's contact info - phone number, and email address (optional). Also, if you want to share why you like your farrier, or what makes you a good farrier, we'll add that to your free listing in our directory. Thanks! The Hoof-it Horse Care Team

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Hoof Wall Protection

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I received my HOOF-it II repair kit and used it that day. She trotted out almost sound the next day. I turned her out and let her bruise heal while I was on vacation. The HOOF-it repair kit helped support and protect her hoof while she was healing. Thanks!

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