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When it comes to evaluating a horse’s potential for going lame, Susan Dyson says a farrier can learn a great deal from analyzing the shape of the coronary band. The International Equine Veterinarian Hall Of Fame member and head of clinical orthopedics at the Animal Health Trust in Newmarket, England, says straight coronary bands are much better than curved bands. However, evenly curved bands are much better than unevenly curved coronary bands. She says hoof researchers have also determined that certain angles involving coronary band height, hoof wall length and heel length also play a role in determining if a horse may become lame.
New research at Kansas State University indicates feeding high levels of endophyte-infected fescue grass will often lead to lameness concerns. While feeding these grasses has been associated with abortion and reproductive problems, equine nutritionist Teresa Douthit found feeding infected grass can lead to forelimb lameness.
She compared six unshod horses fed high levels of endophyte-infested fescue until they reached levels reported to elicit toxicity in cattle with a half dozen non-shod horses that were placed on a low endophyte diet. Although the data did not lead to reduced circulation levels in horses fed the high endophyte levels, soundness issues developed due to hoof sensitivity concerns. The resulting lameness concerns were high enough that Douthit cautions owners to limit the exposure of their horses to endophyte-infected fescue.