Help with a Foundered Front Hoof

Q: I have an older mare with a foundered front hoof. The mare stays shod year-round for comfort. I’ve been shoeing her for 3 years and it seems that within the last year, the hoof capsule is changing shape. She’s growing a lot of heel and the dish in the toe appears to be getting more pronounced. The foot is getting longer and narrower, like that on a mule.

It’s pretty hard to use a squared-toe shoe on her, due to the flat, dropped sole in the toe area. I set the shoe back as far as I can and gave it a slight rocker. I’m looking for any other suggestions that may help this situation.

— Tom Taylor

A:. Look at the heels closely and you should see a spot where the heel stops growing straight down and begins to curve toward the toe. Mark that spot with a marker and draw a line toward the toe and sole. The line should end before the bulge area of the sole. Remember, we don’t want sole pressure. Trim to the line you drew to help put the heels back where they belong.

It sounds like you haven’t been taking off enough heel and the hoof is becoming contracted because the frog is not in contact with ground. A foundered foot’s frog can be deceiving as it grows downward with the heels in a futile attempt to gain pressure on itself. If the commisures look extremely deep, the odds are…

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