Long Toe, Low Heel – The Root Of Horse Lameness

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I attended a 3 day conference on lameness about two years ago. Half of the discussion centered on the new diagnostics including digital imaging (radiographs and ultrasound) and focused diagnostic nerve blocks. The other half discussed therapy modalities including shock wave therapy and platelet rich plasma injections.

On the last day, a senior veterinarian came to the stage and said what I had been thinking. His topic was titled “Long Toe, Low Heel.” He basically said that if you don’t take care of the basic problem, then everything we learned this at this conference is for nothing.

I would add that poor conformation and under-conditioned horses and riders are also to blame for many of the lameness horses. But what is really behind ALL of this are the laws of physics. My other video called “F=ma” discusses the concept of weight as a cause of lameness. This topic is about force applied to a direction. Physicists and mathematicians call it “vector analysis.” You will call it “Long toe, low heel”

Nobody I know of loves horses AND physics. Except maybe me.

Yet physics is everything with horses as far as lameness goes and one of the things that keeps repeating for me is the concept of horse hooves with toes that are too long and heels that are too low.

Log in for more plus a video of clown shoes and high heels that demonstrates these principles.

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Comments 1

  1. This is certainly a very interesting subject indeed.Prolonged long toe and low heel can also result in the tubials being crushed in the heels as well.The horse may often need to use frog supported pads because now the frog needs to be engaged to eleviate some of the stress load.Many gaited performance horses such as thorougggbreds and standardbreds derive about 75% of their power from the stifle muscle area and so with a long toe low heel,it will often delay and extend the breakover point of the horse.This can lead to other problems such as a horse encuring the effects of run down.Many related problems to run can occur,damage to the digital cushion,distal sesamoid bone(navicular bone),middle and superficial sesamoidian ligaments and others.Some horses have a slight paddling gait or a pass by gait and as such when landing their feet they often land slightly on the inside of their foot first,so it is my opinuion only to ensure that a horse´s feet receive regular checking for balance as well.

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