I bought a young TWH mare 5 months ago. When I looked her over, I noticed very long toes on all 4 hooves, very elongated hooves, almost no heel under coronet bands, and she had clearly not had any significant hoof care in months (lots of dead frog tissue and overgrown bars on soles). But when I took her for an easy ride in the ring, I didn’t see or feel any problems.
I had her shoes removed for transport to my barn. Then I had my farrier trim her fronts (arrived with 45 degrees or sharper) and rears (arrived sharper than 50 degrees). My farrier trimmed her to increase the angles as much as we agreed was safe, trimmed her again 6 weeks later, then shod her again to allow her heels to grow out.
While riding her in the ring about a month ago - just flat walk or running walk, her hocks tended to bow outward (laterally), she would often take short strides with her left hind leg, and she would occasionally “dip” both hind legs - as though she suddenly lost strength. To me, it was obvious that she was in pain. Also: I noticed that her hind legs often appeared “stiff” when walking in the videos I took of her. And standing at rest, she often tended to “park-out” in a “sawhorse” posture. I have since learned that these are all symptoms of Low Plantar Angles. But she gives me no resistance when I manipulate her hind legs (no obvious signs of pain in fetlocks, hocks, or stifles).
I had my vet do a thorough gait exam. She basically determined that my mare had pain, but couldn’t identify the specific area(s) - feet, fetlocks, hocks, stifles, or hips / pelvis.
I did some reading on low plantar angles, and am fairly convinced that that is the issue with my mare. I put her on stall rest, trimmed her two more times, and left her barefoot. Her last trim took her almost to what I believe are the ideal angles for her conformation (approx 50 deg in fronts and 56 deg in rears). She now has about an inch of heel under her coronet bands, her hoof walls seem to be gradually expanding, and hooves are more rounded (not elongated, as they were when I got her).
My question: I recently took her for a brief ride in the ring (flat walk and running walk) and filmed it. The bowing of her hocks is reduced - but not gone. The stride length of her left hind is only slightly shorter than right hind (and only intermittent). But I did see her do the hind-end “dip” thing twice in 15 minutes. So I know she still has some pain.
So my question is this, if anyone can answer it: Will it take very long for her pastern and canon bones to realign to her new feet (and, ideally, positive plantar angles)? She still shows some signs of pain, apparently. Should I keep her on stall rest a while longer?
FYI, she’s still growing (has a much better diet, and appetite than when I got her), she’s building bulk and developing muscle mass, and is on a supplement with MSM, Glucosamine, Chondroitin, Hyaloronic Acid, and Hydrolyzed Collagen).