Chapter 22 – A brief summation

Founder is a scary thing. It’s very painful for the horse on several levels. The good news is, with today’s research and protocols founder IS reversible. We are learning more and more about how the parts of the foot actually work, what causes which parts to grow and where and how to affect the most positive changes on each of those tissues. There is still much more to learn, but we are learning enough to know that there is a new age in hoof science and in equine farriery still to come. The ways of the ‘old ones’ is slowly being mostly disproved. There is some of the old knowledge that’s being proven as true, but much more of it is being disproved. Be that as it may, the sad new is, most founder cases never should have occurred. Based on my experience, I believe most founder cases are caused (unknowingly) by their owner or caregiver. We tend to take TOO good of care of our horses. We over feed, over treat, over pamper and over nurture them. In short, we ‘kill them with kindness’. They are not Poodles or Hamsters or Parakeets or the family’s new grandbaby. They are horses. The more we allow them to be horses, the better off they will be. I firmly believe that the best prevention for founder is by allowing horses to be horses. I do realize this is very difficult in some parts of the country. But I still believe it’s an obtainable goal. Be kind to your horse. Listen to your horse. You are your horses’ best chance for peace, happiness and a healthy life. Each horse is an individual and they are much the same as people in so much as they each have individual personalities. Nurture and cherish that personality, but by no means allow them to walk all over you or anyone else. They are large and powerful (and the largest are the little ponies, at least in their minds.) Be sure to convey your wishes or your directions clearly and concisely so they may have a clear understanding of your intentions for them. Discipline with a kind hand and never with more harshness than the situation calls for. In other words, when you are met with aggression, be swift and sure, but with no more aggression than you were shown. You can be firm, but be fair. Don’t bully your horse, but don’t baby them either. You will be rewarded with a loving, responsive equine companion.

Thank you for reading my article. Should you have any questions, feel free to contact me. Happy Trails, and remember, Horses are People too!!

Keith Seeley

Chapter 21 – What photo views are necessary for accurate reviewing of the feet?

There are five basic photos required of each hoof for accurate review; a lateral view, a toe view, a rear or heel view, a sole view and a sole plane view. The lateral, toe and rear views are all to be taken with the foot on the ground, with both feet squared up and equal weight in each. The camera (not your head and camera, but only the camera) should be placed about one inch above the ground and the camera lens in perfect alignment with each specific view and held right about 12 inches away from the foot. (You can measure the distance if you wish. It is valuable to have almost the same distance from the foot each time pictures are taken.)

If you break the foot down into clock positions, it should always be easy to take accurate pictures. Dead center of the toe is the 12:00 position. At each perfect right angle to that should be the 3:00 position and the 9:00 position. (On the right front foot, the lateral view would be the 3:00 position and on the left front foot, the lateral would be the 9:00 position.) Dead center between the bulbs of the heels would be the 6:00 position. Rarely is it necessary to take a medial shot of a foot. One reason for this is because if both front feet are squared up, the camera can’t get between the legs and backed up far enough to take a valid picture. There are exceptions to this rule, but by and large, the medial views are not necessary.

The last two hoof pictures will be necessary with the foot in the air. For the sole view, the camera lens should be held as directly above dead center of the foot as possible. Imagine the lens looking straight down at the center point of the hands of the clock. Dead center will usually be just behind the apex of the frog. For the sole plane view, the lower leg (for the front leg) must be held parallel to the ground, the leg held at the fetlock joint, and the hoof dangling loose and free. The camera lens should be sighting between the bulbs of the heels looking towards the tip of the toe. The sole most likely will not be in view, only the bulbs of the heels, the surface of the frog and the ground surface of the hoof wall. The view should be something like sighting across the level surface of a table or sighting the rim of a bowl. You shouldn’t see inside the bowl, only the rim. This is a hard picture to get accurately, but is vital to seeing whether or not the hoof is flat and level. Your diligence and accuracy will be rewarded though.

The sole plane view of the hind feet are viewed the same way, meaning you should only see the ground surface of the hoof wall, the frog, etc. The difference between the taking the picture for the front vs. the back feet is that the back legs must be lifted and held in much the same manner as your farrier would. There should be no tension on the pastern joint and the toe of the foot should be pointing towards the ground. You will very likely have to manipulate yourself (or more likely the camera) so as to get just the right angle. Again, the idea with this picture is to determine if the foot is flat and level. Without the correct angle, this is not possible to do accurately.

Once all the pictures have been taken, they can be emailed to your specialist for review and evaluation. If the pictures have been taken accurately enough, it will be possible to add lines, markings and perhaps instructions to each picture. These edited pictures can then be sent back for review by you and your on-site team. So the more detail you can provide, the better the editing of the pictures can be.

Detailed Picture Examples & Directions: