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The changes that are coming are the RIGHT changes. They include "possible increased federal government funding for horse show inspections and increased emphasis on bringing violators to court under the Horse Protection Act (HPA)..." And additionally speakers at the Sound Horse Conference "maintained that more stringent enforcement and demands to ban soring by the equine industry are essential to eliminate this long-term problem."
Huge kudos go out to Jim Crew, for standing up for what is right. He "urges trainers to work together to save the TWH show horse. The first step, he maintains, is for everyone to quit violating the HPA." Crew goes on to say that "'You don't have to worry about going to a horse show and passing inspection if your horse is completely sound...and it's not going to be very long until all of the unsound horses will be on the truck back home and you'll be collecting ribbons.'" He also says one of the most valuable things I've ever heard a gaited horse farrier say: "'We need to get rid of that big long bulky shoe...We need to clean up the looks of that shoe, along with the size and style. Morgans and Arabians don't have these problems. I shoe some Saddlebreds, and those shoes are not nearly as long or as big as with the TWH, but they still get a lot done.'"
I really liked this particular data that Dr. Tracy Turner came up with--that stacking a horse causes abnormal hoof balance. In 2007, Dr. Turner used thermography to study 15 performance/BL TWHs. What follows is the data he discovered.
Among these horses, five had an abnormal pastern, three had abnormal hooves, five had both abnormal pasterns and hooves and one had an abnormal cannon bone.
...Turner says many of the unusual thermal patterns he's seen are related to abnormal hoof balance. Here's what he found with different types of horses:
With TWH horses wearing a pad and shoe package, 50% had a negative solar angle,* 50% had a hoof wall length disparity of more than 1/4 inches, 86% had a medial lateral angle** of more than 3 degrees and 7% had a rotation*** of over 5 degrees.
Among flat shod TWH equines, 22% had a negative solar angle, 67% had a hoof wall length disparity of over 1/4 inches, 67% had a medial lateral angle of more than 3 degrees and 15% had rotated by more than 5 degrees.
Looking at hoof imbalance in a normal TWH, Turner found none had a negative solar angle, 35% had a hoof wall length disparity of more than 1/4 inches, 7% had a medial lateral angle of more than 3 degrees and none these horses had a rotation of over 5 degrees.
With gaited Saddlebreds, 33% had a negative solar angle, 40% had a hoof wall length disparity of more than 1/4 inches, 20% had a medial lateral angle of more than 3 degrees and 3% had rotated by more than 5 degrees.
With normal horses, 3% had a negative solar angle, 38% had a hoof wall length disparity of more than 1/4 inches, 17% had a medial lateral angle of more than 3 degrees and none hadroated by more than 5 degrees.
Turner says hoof imbalance causes numerous problems with movement and other physical issues. "Horses that move better don't need to be fixed," he says.
His analysis suggests dorsal hoof wall thickness should be at least 16 mm. Sole thickness at the top of the coffin bone should be at least 10 mm.
This is excellent data that we should all learn from. Heck if you don't even understand the percentages, 14 of the 15 horses on stacks had some type of problem going on. These weren't even sored horses. That's really something to think about. Can we still claim that pads are okay? Well, the data keeps piling up to show that it's not.
Thanks again, American Farrier Journal, for pointing out the truths in the TWH industry. I know I personally can't thank you enough for keeping this atrocity in the spotlight so more and more people can learn what's really going on in the TWH industry.
*solar angle - the angle from the bottom of the coffin bone to the ground plane. (Picture here: Correct Angles of the Horse's Front Hoof)
**medial lateral angle - the angle between the inside (medial) side of the hoof to the outside (lateral) side of the hoof. (More information here: Lateral Medial Balance)
***rotation - when the coffin bone rotates forward down into the laminae, part of the sole or bottom, of the hoof. Rotation can lead to founder aka laminitis, which is the inflammation of the laminae due to pressure of the coffin bone. This is extremely painful for the horse.