Monday, March 8, 2010

Riley's hooves: A celebration of differences?

No, no cause for celebration, although it's not a great tragedy either.  I happen to have a horse whose front feet could belong to different horses. It's really most evident when you look at the angles of both feet (pastern/hoof) -- but you can also see diffrences in the outlines of his front feet -- click on the image to see the actual size of the hooves.

Riley's RF used to be the better of the two in terms of angles (the left was clubby). The shapes of the hooves were similar last year before the surgery and everything else. The glue-on shoes, hospital plate, and stall rest have caused some changes to his RF hoof shape. Lack of exercise and having his frog elevated off the ground caused the the heels to contract and the hoof is narrower than it was. Riley's LF is a size 2, the right front is now a 1.5 per the farrier.

Here is the RF overlaid on top of the LF.  Riley's feet toe out slightly. I'm thinking the LF may have a bit of a flare? Or not. Oh, by the way he is doing really well. Even after slicing his heel bulb (minor) during a lunge session (yes he had bell boots on), he's stayed sound, and is now working in tack.  He is paired with a horse that is perhaps a worse nudge than he is and watching them interact is a hoot.


  1. I'm not sure I've ever had a horse with identical feet. I know my shoer is very careful to label them right and left.

    It will be interesting if over time Riley matches up again. I would think the surgery would have had some effect on the injured foot. Considering everything, the difference is not as dramatic as I might have expected.

  2. Very few horses have identical pairs of hooves, especially by shape. Identical angles are a plus when movement is closely judged, though. And his slight toe-out may just need a more mature, filled out body to push the elbows farther apart.

  3. I agree jean that feet tend to look different (my own left foot is smaller than my right). I'm pretty sure, though, they were more similar at 3 than at nearly 4.

    What can I say? Slow news day...

  4. I'm weird. Anything to do with hooves is NOT slow news for me.

  5. Having worked in the Thoroughbred industry for over 15 years now I can tell you that Riley's front feet are nothing out of the ordinary. I've seen stakes horses that looked like each hoof was a donation from some other horse, all four! lol. With the amount of growing he has left to do and the TLC he receives I'd be surprised if you'd recognize them in a year or two. I'm in love with Harvey by the way, he is a handsome devil! Good Luck, Rheanan.


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