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What does flat footed mean exactly and can it be corrected with the farrier? (not ...
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    Flat footed horses

    What does flat footed mean exactly and can it be corrected with the farrier? (not a simpliefied version, I know that already)
    The horse is barefoot, so would shoes help this? What kind of limitations would a flat footed horse have? I don't know enough aout feet and would like more of an educated answer.

    thanks.

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    I have a horse with flat or pancake hooves. Shoeing didn't really help, just prevented his feet from splitting. I have tried hoof feed through products, paint ons, etc. and nothing really helped much.
    Trimming, leaving longer heels helped some.

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    Flat footed generally refers to the configuration of the sole....that is if it is flat as opposed to concave. In a healthy hoof it is generally considered that there is some concavity to the bottom of the foot (the sole). However, the extend may vary by breed and type of foot. For example, a draft has a very large foot which gives the appearance of it being flat. While it does appear that way...it actually does generally have some concavity...but it is spread over a larger area...thus making it appear flatter than a smaller foot with a similar amount of concavity.

    A true flat foot is generally the result of a compromised hoof. It may be in the form or it may be in the internal structures...or a combo of both. Generally, the hoof tries to maintain its mass....that is if one thing gets pushed or pulled (eg the toe grows forward too long)...the other parts will follow and change to match the deformity. In doing so, the hoof doesn't lay down more material or structures to compensate for the changes in form...instead, it more often "stetches" or deforms its structures to match the first deformity....such as a long toe. When this happens, the sole will become elongated, generally thinner and sort of "pulled" flat. The internal structures may also weaken, allowing the coffin bone to reside lower in the hoof capsule...in short, the entire hoof becomes sort of "loosely" put together and thus unable to maintain good form that comes with a "tight" quality found in healthy, well formed, strong hooves.

    Generally, flat foot horses are "ouchy" on stones and other rough terrain because they lack the form and natural protective devices. They may suffer from other issues that go with the deformities or structural weaknesses that have allowed the sole to become flat. The horse may go well with the protection of shoes and/or pads with its feet in this condition...but it may also ome day become lame from all this. There is really no telling...each case is different and each is infulenced by the underlying causes of the flatness.

    As to if a farrier can fix it...yes, if they udnerstand the causes and how to restore the hoof to a stonger, thealthier form. Will shoes help...in general, shoes are not something to be relied on as a "cure" for hoof issues. Shoes are helpful is applied correctly and with the understanding of what is needed to help restore the hoof. It is the underlying trim that is key to fixing this and many other hoof issues. Without a trim that addresses the issues, the shoes will be of little to no value...and in some instances may even hinder or cause further issues.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sorrell View Post
    I have a horse with flat or pancake hooves. Shoeing didn't really help, just prevented his feet from splitting. I have tried hoof feed through products, paint ons, etc. and nothing really helped much.
    Trimming, leaving longer heels helped some.
    What you are describing is a flared hoof. In general, the splitting/cracking that comes with hooves of this sort is a result on nature trying to rid itself of exta growth....IOW the hoof is trying to self trim.

    You are correct, no amount of feed through or external hoof supplementation/support will help. It isn't a matter of a nutrition or other issue..it is simply a matter of too much hoof that needs to be removed.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sue B View Post
    What you are describing is a flared hoof. In general, the splitting/cracking that comes with hooves of this sort is a result on nature trying to rid itself of exta growth....IOW the hoof is trying to self trim.

    You are correct, no amount of feed through or external hoof supplementation/support will help. It isn't a matter of a nutrition or other issue..it is simply a matter of too much hoof that needs to be removed.
    So he would benefit from trimming more often?
    He has tendon damage to his right front and that hoof on that side has no concavity at all.
    Very interesting... thanks!

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    Quote Originally Posted by sorrell View Post
    So he would benefit from trimming more often?
    He has tendon damage to his right front and that hoof on that side has no concavity at all.
    How often a horse needs trimming depends on several factors. Generally, a schedule of 4-6 weeks is considered normal. However, some need it more of less fequetnly depending on rate of growth and any issues that might need addressing. Generally, when the goal is to prevent the hoof from flaring..then yes, many times more frequent trimming is needed to manage the issues. Current research has implicated many tendon/suspensory issues as related to poor hoof form. Certain deformities in the hoof can cause the horse to travel incorrectly...placing strain on the tendons/uspensories as it moves.

    Many times one foot will be flatter than than the other. This can be from excess weight bearing to compensate for an opposite or even diagonal leg that it isn't bearing weight on in a normal manner. It can also be from weakness in the structures of that one foot, from injury or other issues that are not present in the other feet.
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    I have a mare that her feet DO NOT GROW and she is very flat footed.. as long as I keep shoes on her she is fine.. I am feeding Horseshoers scecret to her hoping to get some growth... and hopefully we will com eup with somethign to get some concavity to her feet...but I think I am beating a dead horse on that.. she comes from a line that is nortorious for bad feet and I knew it when I bought the mare...

    There are alot of theroies on here on ways to do feet and also alot of theories elsewhere I have yet to come across a way to fix the true flat foot that is not caussed by trimming errors... some horses like some people just have them

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    Thanks everyone. Very helpful information.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PeggySue View Post
    There are alot of theroies on here on ways to do feet and also alot of theories elsewhere I have yet to come across a way to fix the true flat foot that is not caussed by trimming errors... some horses like some people just have them
    In some flat footed horses...those that might have a lower angle to the hoof...where the hoof has little "height" to it....there are ways to get height to that hoof. In general, a hoof like that is most likely compromised internally in that the coffin bone sets too low in the hoof capsule. The digital cushion may also be compromised. These cases are not easy and generally require an aggressive plan of action that takes the interior structures into consideration. It also may take years to get a foot like thins back into better form (more height) in order for it to start to gain some concavity.

    I have seen my farrier husband deal with "flat" feet and depending on the cause...some bounce right back within a few trims and others take very aggressive trimming and time to get them to change...but generally, it does happen.
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