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Update post 34: Hoof progress or not? Another hoof thread

Okay I’m back with more hoof X-rays and deliberation. For background, my 11YO TB gelding is on rehab for a front suspensory, which has been attributed to a series of poor farriers and his own poor choices in turnout. I’ve found a farrier with similar thoughts on hoof care as myself (he’s done my horse once so far). We have been working to correct some gnarly NPA with vet prescribed pads and temporary wedges.

I’m just wondering if we are making any visible progress or if I’m just throwing money around. I don’t know a ton about reading balance films so I thought I’d post them here to see if anyone has input on what we could do better or encouragement that we are going the right way :sweat_smile:

All of these sets were taken 3-6 months apart, depending. And I’ve switched farriers in the middle due to moving him to a rehab barn.

Left fore

Right fore

Left hind

Right hind

Do the rads go from 1 being oldest to 3/4 being newest? Were they all taken at the same time in the cycle? I’m not seeing much in the way of positive change in these rads. The RH almost looks worse, and all four feet still have significantly broken back HPA. The toes have gotten shorter, which is good, but IMO there is still room to take toe on both fronts. Left hind/right fore seem to be in okay-ish shape but I would not be happy at all with LF/RH. What does the vet think?


Yes 1 is oldest, around March 2022, and 3 or 4 is newest in January 2023. We missed a set of hind X-rays in October 2022 which is why there’s only 3 of those.

These were taken about a week or so into a cycle for the most part.

The vet hasn’t seen them all laid out this way, or at least I don’t think so. The last two sets are theirs, and they are mildly happy with the difference the wedges made in front.

I also feel as if we’ve not made a huge difference, but like I said the current farrier has only done him once. I see more sole depth, but that’s about it.

If the current farrier has only done him once, then start taking external pics after every reset, and get new rads in another 2-3 resets. I’m not sure if the increased sole depth is a good thing, or just retained false sole.

The hinds are worse, with more bullnosing, unless that’s an artifcat of the toe being dubbed.

The wedges have improved the alignment of the fronts, though I’m not all that happy with the toes hanging over the front of the shoes a bit. It’s not by much, but as the cycle goes on it will increase.

Hopefully the current farrier will make a difference


Thank you for being so detailed. It helps me to have words to discuss with the farrier. I’m not about to tell him how to do his job, but it’s hard for me to express my concerns besides “I thought they’d look more different”!

Well… I didn’t get hoof pics after the farrier yesterday. Extenuating circumstances. I will try this week.

In the meantime I’m trying to decide what is me not communicating well, what is just different from my expectations, and what is simply not working. I am not a farrier, I couldn’t do their job, but do I think I have a fundamental understanding of hoof anatomy and also geometry in general.

The hooves are still quite far over the front of the shoes on a fresh reset. However, the front wedge pad shoes are set tight on the heels, with heel bulb hanging over the end of the shoe slightly. In the past, my old farrier always left shoe sticking out a bit so his heels had support? I think? Horse only pulled shoes off himself when it was spectacularly muddy and he got wild in turnout, but now he’s on stall rest and wears bell boots 24/7.
The hind shoes have trailers, and those look more normal to me, though his toes are still over the front of the shoe. My old farrier (who is 2 hours away and I’d have to haul to, otherwise I’d be there), also took WAY more toe off from all 4. Which I asked for yesterday. The toes still look super long to me, though I don’t know if there’s a reason we couldn’t take more off.

This farrier also uses a power sander to take the entire outside layer of dirt and horn from the hoof, and sands the toes down after the shoes are on? Is there a reason for this? The toes are still over the front of the shoe, but maybe they’re rolling them? The shoe itself isn’t rockered or rolled from what I can tell so I’m confused.

I would ask the farrier, and I did try, but the assistant (who does all the shoe pulling, the trim, and the sanding), has a terrible habit of just talking over everyone with their opinions on feed, treats, management, etc., even when directly and firmly told “thanks but no thanks, I feed my boarded horses the way their owners tell me”. The farrier is, I suspect, somewhat hard of hearing which doesn’t help. So, I attempted to ask good questions but was either misunderstood or talked right over by the peanut gallery.

If anyone has insight on what could be the thought process here? Or questions to ask if I can corral the farrier to ask them?

(FWIW the boarded horses are fed true free choice quality T/O hay, live outside 24/7 in balanced groups, and eat low NSC grain or RBs with quality supps to fill in any gaps - E, MSM, CU/ZN, salt, etc. These guys aren’t on sweet feed and 3 flakes of fescue.)

Here’s not great angle pics of the fronts from the last set on Jan 1, the day they were done. Just to try to see what I’m seeing, though I think the toes are more over the front this round. Especially on the back feet.

Agree. Without seeing what the feet looked like externally before, I’m inclined to say I think this farrier is going in the right direction and would give him at least a couple cycles before you judge progress. The shoe being set back under the toe doesn’t bother me in the least, especially given that the horse is recovering from a front suspensory injury.


it’s hard to tell too much from the angles of these pics, but I see shoes with room for feet to expand, and I see at least the LF with the toe rasped back so it’s not hanging over the shoe.

Good Hoof Photos - How to take Good Hoof Photos

This is a good guide on how to take pics that can be more properly evaluated :slight_smile:

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I’ll go ahead and caveat what I’m about to say with I am not a professional farrier but I am a huge hoof nerd and have consulted with a number of reputable farriers who have helped me learn through the years.

Based on his rads, the shoe is set too far forward and the toe is left too high. If you were to draw a straight line down the front of the coffin bone to the sole of the foot, that’s the breakover point and where the shoe should be. The most recent set on the RF and LF look pretty good, maybe set too forward by a few milimeters, but the hinds are not.

What training does your farrier have? There are so many different schools of training that it’s only part of the puzzle but a big one. He may be doing it the way he was taught, but if things continue the way they are and you’re not happy with them, then you may wish to seek another opinion from a different line of training.

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I’m updating this with new pics. We pulled his shoes last week (for a variety of reasons, though I’m not sure it was the right call). Bare feet make evaluation of the trim much easier, though.

Am I crazy to be less than thrilled with these feet? I know these pics aren’t perfect but please bear with me.


Left front (leg looks weird cause it was clipped for an ultrasound)

Right front


Left hind

Right hind

These are a “fresh trim”, 3 days old.

Oy. What happened between January and now? I assume same farrier?

These do not look good. How is he moving, being barefoot? I know the direction I would go, personally, but the only person paying me for my farriery expertise is me.

However, this is that time of year when frogs and sole material are starting to shed, so there might be a whole lot more foot to work with once that stuff lets go. I’d suggest treating for thrush in all four ASAP.


Same farrier. Horse has remained on suspensory rehab, nothing much has changed except access to a much bigger (dry! Mostly lol) paddock.

Horse is supremely uncomfortable, backsore, moves less than great - but to be fair has diagnosed KS and potentially associated SI issues. He’s leg sound, not limping, but a whole big bag of NQR.

He was that way with shoes, and has remained unchanged without them.

I’m not an expert by any means. But his feet look really badly done (to me). I’ll say what I’m seeing, but I’d happily defer to others with more expert knowledge.

The fronts (the pic taken from the front) look flared to the sides. But then the side pictures of the fronts look almost as though they’re trending to bull-nosed. They also seem to be pancake flat (which might just be because they’ve just had the shoes off).

The hinds also look flared but also look as though they might be bull-nosed. The view of the soles do look a little better than the front hooves’ soles, though.

It doesn’t surprise me that he’s sore, with or without kissing spine. It just doesn’t seem to be a good trim.


I am no expert but I wouldn’t be happy with this trim.

The hinds and rt front appear bull-nosed, the heels on the left front don’t look even (maybe the angle), and seems to have some retained sole on fronts.

If you’re not, I’d start treating for thrush.


Was he that uncomfortable back when you started this thread, or is that a recent development? It’s possible he’s NPA or at least flat on all four feet now, which is 100% going to affect everything above it including his back. His feet looked pretty tidy in those pictures you posted from January 1st, I’m surprised to see so much …stuff… going on now.

Why the decision to go barefoot? Sorry, so many questions. His feet look externally long in these pictures, but the sole views show that there really isn’t much to take off just yet, so I don’t necessarily want to say this trim is “bad” even if it’s not exactly what I would have done on these runaway feet. I am at least glad to see no carving away at the sole and frog.


January 1st was the first time this farrier did his feet. He got done again, and then this most recent set, which turned into pulling his shoes.

The horse has been uncomfortable for a while, but it’s hard to tell since he hadn’t been working, popped the suspensory, and then has been walking for ages. We just started trotting last month, and the horse got explosive- which was attributed to pain. We have drugs on board, robaxin, and turned him out - so far no huge difference in his comfort.

We pulled the shoes on advice of the farrier, who swears “his feet are fixed, stop worrying about them”. His words.

Whenever someone tells me that I’m worrying about nothing, that’s when I begin to worry for real…

Particularly when it’s a professional who is (basically) blowing off my concerns.


Oh, you’re done sir. “Fixed” my arse.

I took up learning to trim my own horses 4-5 years ago because I was fed up with farriers who said ‘those feet are fine’ even when they weren’t, and the ones that recognized the problem feet were the biggest flakes. I’ve been doing mine ever since. I’m not suggesting you do that, it’s a lot of work and it’s not easy to learn on already-screwed-up feet. And it can make you a little bonkers.

But I would suggest maybe looking for a new farrier. :laughing: Personally, I’d want to try a composite shoe with a really well-placed breakover. And possibly some wedges. Give those heels a chance.