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Contracted Heel
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mgander
Reg. Dec 2016
Posted 2018-11-08 10:35 AM (#7412730)
Subject: Contracted Heel


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Another problem. More questions.

Are some horses more prone to contracted heels?
How long of a process does it take for contracted heels to show themselves?
Can it happen in a month, is it a longer time frame?
Is there a way to watch for it before it progresses to lameness?
Anything I can do to help with it?

Backstory.
My gelding always had a fairly short stride with his front feet. His front right angle is a flatter angle then the front left (x-rayed).
Went to rodeo qualifier on Sept 30th, noticed his grooves getting deeper when picking out hooves. He slipped awkwardly around second barrel and gouged his inner bulb through/under his bells. Showed minor lameness after run, lasted the night and was fine the day after.

Had some body work done on him on October 5th. He had a lot of knots on his left side (forgetting her exact words) between his shoulder and elbow area. Pretty sure he wanted to rip my face off for this, but he moved out a lot better after her session.

Unknowingly a bad idea, the farrier came out on Sunday to reset shoes, he was only a week overdue. He was very unhappy (embarrassingly bad), sore, and pointing/tapping his left front foot. I mentioned it several times and it was assumed it was pain from the massage work. He also was shedding his sole and frog very poorly causing the deep groves, was the only other thing we discussed. His lameness got progressively worse throughout the day to the point of minimal weight on it. Next day didn't seem as bad, so I took him for a walk and was okay until we turned to head back home, he was only super sore in the turn. Farrier came back out on the 11th to look for hot nails, no reactions whatsoever. His stride shortened back up to where it was before body work.

We kept going for walks/jogs to stretch out his muscles and was moving normal on the 23rd, but noticed the crack growing between his heel bulb.

Vet came out for his evaluation for insurance on 25th. I had her look at his foot while she was there and she stated it looked like his hoof was shearing and he had deep sulcus thrush. His crack between his bulbs had grown to be up to his heel.

I had my farrier come back out and re-evaluate. He stated that his heel is trying to shear but his bulb was also lifting. Confused him, (he's not seasoned and very open to learning and this area has limited choices) so he had his journeyman come out and look over Tucker's foot. Made my farrier feel dumb and profusely apologize. The journeyman said he had a contracted heel but hoof was overall balanced well.They made a game plan for my horse that I'm confident in with his journeyman. Explained that a contracted heel looks more like a skinny girl's behind where it's flat with a crack. He didn't mean that negatively but to give an idea on shape lol!

I plan on still treating for thrush to be safe. We've had lots of rain, every other day for two weeks straight and the stalls are occupied. One stall will open up by next weekend to take care of the dry ground conundrum.

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Chandler's Mom
Reg. Jan 2015
Posted 2018-11-08 6:24 PM (#7412800 - in reply to #7412730)
Subject: RE: Contracted Heel


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OhMax
Reg. Feb 2013
Posted 2018-11-09 9:19 AM (#7412839 - in reply to #7412730)
Subject: RE: Contracted Heel


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Bumping again for you.

My gelding came to me with terrible contracted heels. He worries a lot of trimmers because he grows a pile of heel - to look at him standing his toes do not look long when he’s due for a trim, but pick up his foot and you’ll see he’s walking in stilettos. I went through several guys to find one that would start to drop his dang heels down.

We had him barefoot for almost 2 years, but he started to get sore this summer going up and down the road. The plan is to shoe him through the season and pull them for the winter to hopefully keep his heels from contracting again. My farrier said he has a pad he can use when we shoe him to help keep his heels from contracting, but he’s not sure he can get them small enough (Triple 0’s). So we’ll see.
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mgander
Reg. Dec 2016
Posted 2018-11-09 10:06 AM (#7412850 - in reply to #7412839)
Subject: RE: Contracted Heel


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OhMax - 2018-11-09 10:19 AM

Bumping again for you.

My gelding came to me with terrible contracted heels. He worries a lot of trimmers because he grows a pile of heel - to look at him standing his toes do not look long when he’s due for a trim, but pick up his foot and you’ll see he’s walking in stilettos. I went through several guys to find one that would start to drop his dang heels down.

We had him barefoot for almost 2 years, but he started to get sore this summer going up and down the road. The plan is to shoe him through the season and pull them for the winter to hopefully keep his heels from contracting again. My farrier said he has a pad he can use when we shoe him to help keep his heels from contracting, but he’s not sure he can get them small enough (Triple 0’s). So we’ll see.

Thanks :)

He's a bit of a princess, so he is sore without his shoes. I wouldn't consider it a pile of heel, but I'll get some pics and maybe you guys will have a different opinion.

The plan is a bevel shoe so the heel will have support but still be able to move. I don't have anything until January planned after this Sunday.
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OhMax
Reg. Feb 2013
Posted 2018-11-09 1:08 PM (#7412874 - in reply to #7412850)
Subject: RE: Contracted Heel


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mgander - 2018-11-09 10:06 AM

OhMax - 2018-11-09 10:19 AM

Bumping again for you.

My gelding came to me with terrible contracted heels. He worries a lot of trimmers because he grows a pile of heel - to look at him standing his toes do not look long when he’s due for a trim, but pick up his foot and you’ll see he’s walking in stilettos. I went through several guys to find one that would start to drop his dang heels down.

We had him barefoot for almost 2 years, but he started to get sore this summer going up and down the road. The plan is to shoe him through the season and pull them for the winter to hopefully keep his heels from contracting again. My farrier said he has a pad he can use when we shoe him to help keep his heels from contracting, but he’s not sure he can get them small enough (Triple 0’s). So we’ll see.

Thanks :)

He's a bit of a princess, so he is sore without his shoes. I wouldn't consider it a pile of heel, but I'll get some pics and maybe you guys will have a different opinion.

The plan is a bevel shoe so the heel will have support but still be able to move. I don't have anything until January planned after this Sunday.

Is he sore without shoes when worked or when left to his own devices and allowed/encouraged to move around?

I’m a huge proponent of barefoot whenever possible and believe a foot can’t function to 100% of its God given ability with a shoe on. But I also know we ask horses to do things and work on surfaces not intended by nature and there’s a place for shoes - hence my gelding wearing them during the season. I think the simplest way to fix contracted heels is to pull shoes and let the foot expand.

It’s also important to remember when you first pull shoes off they suddenly have more ground contact and it’s a different feeling for them. I think a lot of folks can misinterpret that for lameness - but if you’re barefoot and step on a lego, do you keep stepping down on it or pull your foot away? A freshly barefoot horse stepping on a rock isn’t all that different.

That’s my soapbox for the day. Getting with a vet and farrier you trust is the biggest thing.
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mgander
Reg. Dec 2016
Posted 2018-11-09 7:05 PM (#7412905 - in reply to #7412874)
Subject: RE: Contracted Heel


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OhMax - 2018-11-09 2:08 PM


Is he sore without shoes when worked or when left to his own devices and allowed/encouraged to move around?

I’m a huge proponent of barefoot whenever possible and believe a foot can’t function to 100% of its God given ability with a shoe on. But I also know we ask horses to do things and work on surfaces not intended by nature and there’s a place for shoes - hence my gelding wearing them during the season. I think the simplest way to fix contracted heels is to pull shoes and let the foot expand.

It’s also important to remember when you first pull shoes off they suddenly have more ground contact and it’s a different feeling for them. I think a lot of folks can misinterpret that for lameness - but if you’re barefoot and step on a lego, do you keep stepping down on it or pull your foot away? A freshly barefoot horse stepping on a rock isn’t all that different.

That’s my soapbox for the day. Getting with a vet and farrier you trust is the biggest thing.

Sore to his own devices. The other gelding made him move and I still took him for light rides to give him time. He wasn’t three legged lame or anything but you could tell he wasn’t comfortable

I appreciate the soapbox! I asked for people’s opinion, experience, and knowledge to learn. I’m going to trust him and see what happens
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cheryl makofka
Reg. Jan 2011
Posted 2018-11-11 9:33 AM (#7412971 - in reply to #7412730)
Subject: RE: Contracted Heel


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Majority of horses with shoes have some degree of contracted heels. Some vets also believe that contracted heels can cause navicular due to the reduced blood flow.

The issue with shoes is they do not allow expansion and contraction of the foot.

The deep grooves can also be indicitative of thrush which can cause lamness
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streakysox
Reg. Jul 2008
Posted 2018-11-11 6:24 PM (#7412996 - in reply to #7412730)
Subject: RE: Contracted Heel



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When the heels are trimmed too much it will cause them to contract. I have been using this carrier for about a year and a half. He put shoes on yesterday and made the comment that he had really spread my horse’s hoof, so it has taken a year and a half. Previous carrier had his heel way too short. It took six months to get his heel partly grown out. One other thing the farrier showed me is why you never reset shoes. It has s not on the outside or bottom of the shoe, it is the inside that is the problem.

Farrier is taking off too much heel.
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skye
Reg. Jul 2004
Posted 2018-11-11 10:21 PM (#7413019 - in reply to #7412730)
Subject: RE: Contracted Heel


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Keeping shoes on does promote the heels to contract, but a few things can help.  A good farrier will leave the frog alone so it has contact with the ground to help push the heels out or expand as much as they can with shoes.  Alot of farriers will bevel the shoe to help the heels to slip out too.  The experienced farrier won't let the toe grow long. 
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mgander
Reg. Dec 2016
Posted 2018-11-12 6:46 AM (#7413026 - in reply to #7413019)
Subject: RE: Contracted Heel


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Posts: 164
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skye - 2018-11-11 11:21 PM

Keeping shoes on does promote the heels to contract, but a few things can help.  A good farrier will leave the frog alone so it has contact with the ground to help push the heels out or expand as much as they can with shoes.  Alot of farriers will bevel the shoe to help the heels to slip out too.  The experienced farrier won't let the toe grow long. 

Thank you everyone!

Tucker was really shedding his frog, it was strange but it's been super wet. Sounds like we have a solid game plan happening. Now I have to get the SO's pigs out of the barn and treat him this week :)
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WetSaddleBlankets
Reg. Nov 2010
Posted 2018-11-15 4:26 AM (#7413456 - in reply to #7412996)
Subject: RE: Contracted Heel


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streakysox - 2018-11-11 6:24 PM

When the heels are trimmed too much it will cause them to contract. I have been using this carrier for about a year and a half. He put shoes on yesterday and made the comment that he had really spread my horse’s hoof, so it has taken a year and a half. Previous carrier had his heel way too short. It took six months to get his heel partly grown out. One other thing the farrier showed me is why you never reset shoes. It has s not on the outside or bottom of the shoe, it is the inside that is the problem.

Farrier is taking off too much heel.

  this is a hindsight is 20/20 because to long of heels run forward.... Especially if the toe is to long which obviously leads to another boat of problems. Also you have to trim the heel back to the widest part of the frog to keep them in check.... But again toes should always be kept short. Also shoeing to tight with not enough heel support is a recipe for contracted heels. I think it's better to trim the toe back, heels to the widest part of the frog, give heel support and room for heel expansion. That way you prevent contracted and under run heels.
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mandita8907
Reg. Nov 2010
Posted 2018-11-15 10:14 AM (#7413488 - in reply to #7413456)
Subject: RE: Contracted Heel



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WetSaddleBlankets - 2018-11-15 5:26 AM

streakysox - 2018-11-11 6:24 PM

When the heels are trimmed too much it will cause them to contract. I have been using this carrier for about a year and a half. He put shoes on yesterday and made the comment that he had really spread my horse’s hoof, so it has taken a year and a half. Previous carrier had his heel way too short. It took six months to get his heel partly grown out. One other thing the farrier showed me is why you never reset shoes. It has s not on the outside or bottom of the shoe, it is the inside that is the problem.

Farrier is taking off too much heel.

  this is a hindsight is 20/20 because to long of heels run forward.... Especially if the toe is to long which obviously leads to another boat of problems. Also you have to trim the heel back to the widest part of the frog to keep them in check.... But again toes should always be kept short. Also shoeing to tight with not enough heel support is a recipe for contracted heels. I think it's better to trim the toe back, heels to the widest part of the frog, give heel support and room for heel expansion. That way you prevent contracted and under run heels.

That is a very good explanation of what we should be asking and looking for. Thank you
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mgander
Reg. Dec 2016
Posted 2018-11-16 7:40 AM (#7413581 - in reply to #7413456)
Subject: RE: Contracted Heel


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Posts: 164
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WetSaddleBlankets - 2018-11-15 5:26 AM

streakysox - 2018-11-11 6:24 PM

When the heels are trimmed too much it will cause them to contract. I have been using this carrier for about a year and a half. He put shoes on yesterday and made the comment that he had really spread my horse’s hoof, so it has taken a year and a half. Previous carrier had his heel way too short. It took six months to get his heel partly grown out. One other thing the farrier showed me is why you never reset shoes. It has s not on the outside or bottom of the shoe, it is the inside that is the problem.

Farrier is taking off too much heel.

  this is a hindsight is 20/20 because to long of heels run forward.... Especially if the toe is to long which obviously leads to another boat of problems. Also you have to trim the heel back to the widest part of the frog to keep them in check.... But again toes should always be kept short. Also shoeing to tight with not enough heel support is a recipe for contracted heels. I think it's better to trim the toe back, heels to the widest part of the frog, give heel support and room for heel expansion. That way you prevent contracted and under run heels.

Thank you! I've been able to look at pictures with learning all these terms and what to look for. I know what to watch for and if I should break up with my current farrier.
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