Foot Problems: One Step at a Time
How hard are you really working to understand what makes a foot healthy, and what’s happening that could cause problems? Training yourself to observe–not just see–the horse’s foot is the first step. Each person involved with a horse, whether it’s the groom, owner, farrier, or veterinarian, needs to be able to recognize subtle differences today that might mean a major problem down the road. It is this early window of opportunity that can mean the difference between a horse thriving, or merely surviving.
Ric Redden, DVM, who has focused exclusively on podiatry for 30 years during his careers as a farrier and veterinarian, says, "If you don’t see much–you don’t notice changes in your horse’s feet or even notice that all four feet are different–you aren’t a bad owner, you are just uninformed on how to do it."
All owners, trainers, and barn managers should get out their cameras and head to the barn, recommends Redden. Take a picture of each horse’s foot separately, label it, and file it away. Do this immediately, then add to the collection, including pictures taken just before a trim, just after a trim, and in the middle of the trim cycle.
But these can’t just be snapshots taken any old way; they need to be taken in a consistent manner so that you can use them for comparison. Standardization is the key, says Redden
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