Upright Hooves

Hey everyone, I’m hoping to get some input so I can better understand the issue I’m having with my mare. For reference, she’s a 7 year old homebred holsteiner that competed through the 1.30m last season (May-August 2013).

My overall question is “Can imbalance in hind hooves cause mild topline atrophy, slightly pronounced SI, mild roach back, and an inability to distribute weight back onto the hocks effectively?”

It’s nothing dramatic, but I know this horse very well and she’s just not the same. Her hind end conformation was always excellent. Now she’s slightly camped out and trails her hind end at all gaits (no pain response, lethargy, or unwillingness). I was forced to get a new farrier last spring, and this seems to have started over the summer and progressively gone downhill. She used to have a more squared hind toe and small lateral extensions because she grows fairly upright (I’m paraphrasing, I understand only what I’m told!). The new guy eliminated all of this and I’m only just now starting to ask the ‘Why’ of it all, after a year of blaming myself, saddle fit, mentors, etc etc.

Anyways, I sucked it up and told him my issues. After a little grumbling, he gave her some lateral extension on a regular shoe (and I think he went back in and took some more hind heel off) but told me I would destroy my horse’s hocks this way. Granted, I only explained my training issue; I didn’t ask for any changes.

Here’s where I need some help: after all that, my horse is standing (slightly) more square when crosstied and she was definitely more uphill undersaddle, immediately.

Am I crazy?! I’m making myself GO crazy, regardless! Anyways, my gut is telling me that she got out of balance and is headed back in the right direction now but I’m thinking about going to a lameness vet and having some rads pulled of those hind feet.

This was very long winded for a simple question , sorry! I just really want to do right by her. I’m also fully willing to accept this might not be her feet, just to cover THAT base beforehand!

Have you had her evaluated for lameness with a good sports medicine vet?

My guess is the upright hooves AND the changes in her body are due to pain somewhere. Needs her hocks injected, or SI troubles or something. I would start there first, if you haven’t already.

A radical change is shoeing can make a lot of difference but what you are reporting sounds more involved.

I would be happy with the improved stance, but also pursue having her examined by a vet with a lot of lameness experience.


Heels too high, heels too low, M/L imbalance, bullnose/negative P3, even just having feet overall too high, even if the angles “line up”

You’re not crazy. Now you might be in a situation where you need someone to actually trim her feet right, and apply “corrective” orthodics as necessary if they are needed to put things in alignment now while the trim is corrected (which could take a few trims), and you might also now need a massage therapist and/or chiropractor to help heal and put back the things the feet have caused to be harmed.

I haven’t had her evaluated yet; I’ve been repeatedly told I’m overexaggerating the issue and/or just trying to find something or someone to blame besides myself :confused: I’m giving the hoof change some time to see what the effects are, so I have a little more info to provide the vet in my mystery issue. Just as an aside, the hooves are conformationally fairly upright, but I do think they are being helped along a bit…

I didn’t add this to the original post, but there WAS another issue around the same time as the hoof change…I had a custom saddle fitted by a professional I trusted. That totally backfired on me. Here’s what I’ve come up with:

Saddle caused lower back pain because it was physically crushing her shoulders and spine. To help alleviate some of the chronic pain, she began to camp out. New farrier came in and began shoeing what he assumed was her natural balance. Saddle issue gets fixed, no more back pain. Farrier never reevaluated the situation (and he’s never asked me to walk her for him or asked how she’s going, like former farrier). Maybe my mentioning the problem had him double check? I’m trying really hard to assume the best of all involved parties lol.

I will say, her topline and roach were always less pronounced after work. In the mornings and especially after a day off in the field, it always looked worse.

I rode her again today and the changes have stuck. She’s much more balanced and her topline seems ‘relaxed’ while standing around. Before it always seemed strained and tight, though not sensitive or sore.

I’m learning a LOT about feet though!

Back feet are normally more upright than front feet.