Saturday, May 15, 2010

Harv's big feet: Renewed appreciation

I have the same farrier for Harv as Riley. I asked him if he could recommend a hoof supplement for Riley, and he answered with a grin, "Give him whatever Harvey is getting!"

Harvey does not GET a hoof supplement.

Riley has given me a renewed appreciation for Harvey's big size 3 feet. I never thought about Harv's feet, they were always just there, doin' their job. He has lost two shoes in the time I've owned him, both times from cavorting in mud that qualifies as "extenuating circumstances." He has had one abscess of one day's duration.

Thanks to Harv I never had to know much about  shoeing and  hooves. I never had to know about Duckett's goofy dot, the bones within the foot, or how to wrap an abscess. My biggest hoof-related concern was figuring out when the farrier was coming next.

And Harv is a THOROUGHBRED. He must come from one of the few lines that have "good feet." If you can find a horse with High Tribute bloodlines (or Princequillo further back in the pedigree), take a look at their feet. High Tribute passes on good bone and good hoof.

Harv, you spared me so much hoof headache! Thanks buddy.

By the way, the barn manager told me that he and his pasture mate were maniacs in the pasture yesterday. Airs above the ground, squealing, launching into the air, etc. He's having a good spring.


  1. One thing I'm hoping that some of the high profile horses being injured racing may do is cause breeders to pay more attention to soundness. It makes such a huge difference. Right now we have a half Shire half Friesian mare who is barefoot and has perfect feet - my mom rides her dressage and drives her. The farrier basically nods his head in her general direction once in a while, if you file her hooves once in a while they stay perfect. My mom asked if she should put shoes on her to show her, and the farrier said don't fix what ain't broke. And then we have a polo pony boarding with us who is some mix of Arab, QH, and TB, who has the saddest little patched up cracked split feet. She just requires constant care. And she isn't even being worked right now, she's just out in the pasture, and her feet get that bad. A horse that can't be ridden more often than not isn't much of a value, no matter how perfect in every other way.

    Hopefully now that Riley has had his mess dug out, it will heal nicely and not get that bad again now that you know what to look out for.

  2. Good feet = happiness.

    I wasn't planning to keep my "foster horse" because she really is too tall. Then I picked up her feet. Oh. My. God. I can't send feet like that away....three years later, she's still mine.

  3. Yay, Harv! I'm happy to hear he's enjoying the season.

  4. My PJ had big feet too. Toby has pretty good feet, but Tucker, as we all know, is posing a problem...all three Thoroughbreds.

    You can't determine a foot by the breed, but apparently you can by the breeding....

  5. Hey, with you on that-In my 'collection', I have 2 TBs and a warmblood. Warmblood has great, size 3 feet with 'lots of meat', easy to hold shoes. My homebred TB also has good feet, not super big, but size appropriate, nice shape, 6 years old & never has worn shoes. His mom did not have a lot of great qualities, but she did pass to him her good feet--He is Buckpasser bred on his dam's side & I've heard Buckpasser passes on soundness. Seattle Slew on his sire's side - smart, but slightly crazy. My other TB has terrible feet--15.3 hands with a size 0 foot, super thin soles, navicular changes at age 5, candidate for pedal osteistis due to her thin soles, she's now pretty much retired to a walk/trot rounds around the arena a couple times a week (she's 9). Have her shod with pads & eggbars, and she still has problems. She was sired by a french-bred TB and is from a racing stable. I think she was bred with the typical pre-Barbaro physique--lots of muscle mass, no bone, no feet - suitable for great speeds due to large muscles and lt. bone, but no durability. Needless to say, she is NOT becoming a broodmare.

  6. Thoroughbred feet are so funny.. some are nice, some just aren't.

    @Lucy's Mom-
    I have a big TB with very similar bloodlines to yours! Best. Feet. Ever. He's Buckpasser on his dam's side, and Seattle Slew was his grandsire. The horsey world is so small! Just had to chime that in, haha.

  7. Augment Hoof. Saved my old TB's feet. I tried everything and this one worked the best by far! TB's are funny. The one I have know has GREAT feet. Interesting thought on bloodlines. Would be interested in figuring out how strong the correlation is between certain bloodlines and good hooves. Hmmm.

  8. A good foot is a beautiful thing. Harvey is a fortunate horse!

    I too knew nothing of horse feet except how to clean them, until I owned my horse. Since then I have become fascinated by horse feet!

    Good genes, good food, and movement all play a vital role in healthy feet, but very many racehorses wear shoes at an early age (2 years old), while the hoof is still growing. This impacts the development of the internal structures of the foot, especially at the back of the foot. This is not my idea, but something that is described by hoof care professionals. The good news is that the hoof can be helped!

    Find: Thoroughbred (July '05, Dec '05 photos)

  9. I think the issues we are seeing in horse racing is bringing huge attention to all horses and hopefully will lead to research on how to help horses live longer!

  10. Boy Harv does have some big ol feet! Nice work your farrier does too.
    We wish all horses had good feet like that. Funny how they are all so different, isn't it?

  11. Sigh. I'm learning a lot about feet because, like you, I now have a horse who doesn't have great feet. This, after three years of owning an Arabian with feet of steel. The farrier's coming out on Tuesday to put shoes all around on my gelding, and we're going to have a mini-lesson on the ins and outs of feet because, wow, I really have no idea what I'm doing.

    Luckily I have the world's nicest farrier who will drop everything for a client who wants to learn something about hoof health and care. He told me that he's actually excited about helping me learn what I need to know to keep my gelding sound and comfortable. Thank god!


Hi Guys, Your comments are valued and appreciated -- until recently I never rejected a post. Please note that I reserve the right to reject an anonymous post.