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When we asked farriers to describe the most common problems they see when dealing with the feet of typical backyard horses, we noticed that the biggest problem wasn’t so much with the horses’ feet at all, but rather with the mind of the owner.
Sometimes that problem was a lack of knowledge about horses, particularly regarding the importance of the feet and hoof care. Other times it was more a case of misordered priorities, usually financial ones.
Again and again, we heard problems such as hoof cracks, thrush and white line disease in a context of a much more simple problem: The failure to schedule a backyard horse for frequent enough hoof-care appointments.
As an example, one of the most commonly noted problems was that backyard horses often have long toes and underrun heels — certainly not an unusual problem with horses, no matter where they are kept.
But many farriers noted that with backyard horses, the problem more often gets away from them because owners go too long between hoof-care appointments in a misguided attempt to save a few dollars.
Regular trims might have easily managed the problem, but when the horse goes too long between trims, the toe grows faster than the heel. The…