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The hoof tells you many things about the health of the horse.  Problems in the horse’s body will change the way the hoof grows. By understanding what the hoof is telling us, we can spot developing health issues early and deal with them long before they become a problem. 

 

 

About Equine Podiatry 

If you are used to regular visits from your farrier, you may find the way I work very different. Although I do apply a trim - which is effective and non-invasive, I am under no illusions that merely trimming the hoof will get it healthy. The trim can achieve balance and remove excess structure, but it can't correct underrun heels or thicken soles, or strengthen cartilage, or take away bruising from the walls or stop growth rings or flare appearing. 

 

This is where Equine Podiatry comes into its own.  Each time I visit, I will thoroughly evaluate the hooves, working out which structures are weakest and why, comparing how they are now with the detailed notes I took at the previous visit.  The hoof is a barometer of the overall health of the horse.  They show nutritional problems, musculo-skeletal imbalances, rider imbalance or saddle fitting issues, metabolic disorders and other illnesses and many more factors that affect the health of the horse.  Equine Podiatry is all about learning how to interpret what the hoof capsule tells us and making subtle changes to the horse’s management that should result in an improvement in hoof health, often improving the overall health of the horse in the process.

 

The discipline is still fairly new, but in the last 5 years, Equine Podiatrists have made huge advances in their understanding of hoof health and what affects it.  This is mainly down to our unique approach.  At every visit, detailed notes are taken about the health and strength of each hoof and what has happened to the horse since the previous visit.  The horse gets a mini health-check at each visit, and we are able to analyse the data we gather and use it to advance Equine Podiatry as well as continuously monitor how your horse’s hooves change.

 

The beauty of equine podiatry is that it places the owner firmly in control. An EP may provide advice and trim the hooves, but it is the owner who carries out the day to day care of the horse which makes the difference between an OK hoof and a fabulously healthy one. Owner education is an important part of what we do, so if you don't know your frog from your white line now, you will after a few months of employing an EP.

At every visit, the owner is given a clear indication of the level of work that the horse can do given the state of health of their horse's hooves at the time. This should avoid the horse becoming sore because they have overdone things.

 

An EP will advise on all manner of things that affect the hoof, including nutrition, hoof friendly topical treatments and subtle modifications that can be made to the horse's environment or daily management routine. They may even recommend that you call in a physiotherapist, saddle fitter, dentist, nutritionist or vet as problems in the hooves are often an indicator of problems elsewhere.

 
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