Saturday, January 24, 2009

Good Day, Sunshine

Lazy Ponies

Another Lazy Pony

Though the nights have been cold, the days have warmed up to the low 50s; the horses seem to enjoy napping in a ray of sun. Steve Holt! hasn't got the benefit of much sunlight in his stall, but he prefers to lay there rather than out on the frozen ground at the end of his paddock.

Yesterday I noticed something I hadn't seen before on Steve Holt!'s hooves; a deep groove down the center. How I'd missed it up until now I don't know, but the lighting must have been just right for me to catch a glimpse. I felted the ridge and lifted the hair at his coronet band. The line seems to stop just half an inch from the top. The grooves on the two front feet are deeper than on the hind feet, and only the right hind has much to show.

Feed and nutrition play a big part in this sort of thing...but I've never been well versed in such stuff. So for all you hoof care buffs, perhaps you'd like to comment?

Steve Holt! was captured in Sept of '07. The horses were fed alfalfa for a year, then at some point before we picked them up they were switched to an eastern Oregon grass (some of the mustangs were gaining a lot of weight, which was the reason for the switch.) Steve Holt! has been back on alfalfa since coming here with me, nearly 7 weeks.

So there were three changes in his feed...from range to alfalfa to grass back to alfalfa. That ridge in his hooves goes all the way to the bottom. Would this reflect the alfalfa stage? We have no way of knowing if those ridges were there before capture, but it's obvious that at some point they stopped...would seven weeks be enough for a half inch of growth at the top?


Pony Girl said...

Tracy, my horse was on alfalfa for a year then switched, and I noticed some ridges (although I think they were vertical?) I asked the farrier and he said they were just growth rings. I'm not sure if SH's ridges are from that, but like you mentioned, I think a change in feed can make a difference. He even said stress and different things can cause ridges.
I also noticed a huge difference in my horse's energy level once I switched him from alfalfa to orchard grass hay (at the chiropractor's suggestion, he'd put on too much weight. My horse, not the chiro, LOL!) He just didn't have as many "bucks and farts" in him. I know people will argue that alfalfa doesn't make a horse "hot", but both my horse and my sister's half Arabian mare were a lot more wired when on alfalfa!

Tracey said...

Pony Girl, these are vertical as well...straight up and down (maybe your's were horizontal? That's what I'm more accustomed to seeing, too.)

No problem with energy levels here. I would like him to see a chiropractor, any recommendations in the Skagit Co area? Or even Snoho/Arlington?

Jeanette said...

I've only seen feed changes or stress mark hooves with horizontal ridges. Their metabolism marking all their hooves' growth at the point of growth at the time of change or stress.
My first thoughts...damage at the coronet band causing impared growth at that location. I have heard it takes about a year for the hooves to grow out so you can see how old the damage would have been. What would cause that consistent damage on all 4 hooves is curious. I would wonder if he had a habit of pawing at or banging his feet on something solid before you got him, but that doesn't explain the hind is very curious. That the grooves are lessening at the coronet band now is a good sign though!
Feed can do some funny things to horses...we had a mare who got VERY sluggish and lethargic on alfalfa. She couldn't tolerate it.

Shirley said...

I had a mare that had those grooves. They ended up cracking from the coronet band to the bottom. This is a danger sign. My mare ended up with severe laminitis and I had to put her down. Please reconsider what you are feeding; horses do not need alfalfa hay unless they are protien deficient. Please email me at and I can put you in touch with a horse nutrition expert.

Linda said...

Beautiful is eating alfalfa/grass mix and has put on the weight, but her hooves are looking good--much, much better than when I adopted her. My farrier was just here--if I'd have read this earlier I would have asked him about it. He's about the best at it in the Northwest--3 time world champion farrier. I'll email him your picture and see what he says.

Linda said...

Oops--I put this one on the wrong post--Here it is again. I imagine there may be different opinions, but my farrier was responsible for saving my horse Cowboy (P3 Fracture), correcting Beautiful's club foot and making another of my horse's who I inherited with the crookedest legs--sound--well, let's just say, that's an ongoing thing. I value his opinion.

I sent him the photo--this is what he says about the vertical line ".... in the front of the P3 is a vascular channel that can show up as a crack or a line in the front of the hoof capsule. The toe is forward and the feet need trimming. With proper care these will not be so noticeable and may even go away. Not a concern if they're trimmed properly."

Doesn't sound too bad at all. :)