Coffin Bone Rotations

05/08/08
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Hey there , John here.

     You've probably heard me talk about coffin bone rotation on numerous occasions , but this is the first i'm actually posting a Xray of exactly that.

      This was a pony that foundered, the rotation if i remember correctly was about 10 degrees which is considered a bit on the severe side (the tip of the coffin bone dropped by 10 degrees ). Horses don't have to founder to get rotation so any horse including your horse is susceptible. Alot goes on during rotation and not just the coffin bone is affected. In the worst case scenario of coffin bone rotation the tip of the coffin bone rotates so severely the point/tip of the coffin bone rips right through the bottom of the foot and the bone is protruding , of course there's blood everywhere. Otherwise there are all differing degrees of rotation none if which are beneficial.

      Ok , now that the worst is out of the way let me ease your mind a bit - there are things ( shoeing/triming ) practices you can make sure are done correctly to minimize the risk of rotation. Whew - even i feel better now (-:

      Remember this photo below ?  In milder cases of rotation you can see the bruising at the tip of the coffin bone right? See the redness right there?  There's a reason for that - as the tip of the coffin bone rotates and presses downard it squishes and crushes the sensitive tissue rupturing blood vessels . It's pretty common , i see it often , it's not a good sign and in the case below most likely a result of that toe being too long , that's one of the reasons i keep mentioning moving the toe rearward on feet.  Working a horse hard may also cause rotation - as the horse fatigues and it's muscle strength deminishes more stress on the tendons and ligaments result which pull harder on the deep flexor tendon attached to the back of the coffin bone and rotation shows up.
 
     Do you jump your horses ? As the upper body of the horse is coming downward - hind up in the air - a tremendous amount of weight is being forced down through the legs directly into the feet - hoof angle is severe while the rear is up in the sky and the stress to the coffin bone could easily rotate it . This is a perfect time to bring up the importance of having enough heel on the horse's foot, the lower the heel the more stress and pull on the coffin bone encouraging more rotation , one of the reasons for wedge pads right there.

                                      

         If this isn't enough to get your attention lets go alittle bit further.  When you have coffin bone rotation it's not only bad for sensitive tissue within the foot but the coffin bone rotation also throws the pastern bones out of alignment , which looks like the photo below , the three long red lines should all line up with each other. Common problem or symptom of this is Arthritis in the joints of the foot and pastern bones. Looking at the photo below you'll also see how close the tip of the coffin bone is to the bottom of the foot , if you're driving a thin soled horse hard over somewhat rocky ground you can fracture the coffin bone easily , a good argument toward using pads at that point.


                                      

      Possibly the biggest culprit of rotation other than founder is the long toe sheered heel syndrome so often and common in the way horses are shod , which brings to mind the horse "Big Al" who was exactly as just described  - extrememly long toed and sheered heels , look below ; the result of his foot being much much too long in the toe and sheered heeled is the blood you're seeing. This horse was being ridden this way.

                                            

      Minimize stress and coffin bone rotation on your horse and you'll have a much happier horse.  If you want to know how to prevent coffin bone rotation just get ahold of me and i'm happy to tell you. 

                         You can get ahold of me at  John@Care4Horses.com  the consultation is free .
                                                          You're not charged a penny .

      I need to get going ,  As usual happy and safe riding and always remember to www.Care4Horses.com 

John "TheFootDoctor" Silveira

PS. Don't forget to sign up for the Free Custom Hand Forged Hoof Pick drawing , Just leave your physical mailing address along with your name @  John@Care4Horses.com    so easy - do it now ........ 







                                          
 

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  • 5/15/2008 2:46 AM Chuck Bartok wrote:
    Fantastic Blog. Caught your spot on Twitter.

    I would like to share some of you knowledge on my equine Blog, with full credit to you , of course

    We share a lot of common ground.
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    Also, a good friend, and my tack manufacturer for over 28 years, is offering some nice discounts to first time Customers.

    Check out his blog
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    Then call him direct 530-545-0139
    Tell him Chuck sent you and he will give you code to share with your Clients?

    =====================

    thanks alot Chuck.  sure my friend spreading the word is only going to reach more people -

    appreciate it .. 

    john       
    Reply to this
  • 1/17/2009 9:12 PM Pat wrote:
    Interesting information. Are you the one who cut the entire bottom of that horse's foot out in that picture? No wonder you see that sort of thing regularly. You're cutting into territory, you just should not be opening up to the outside world. Poor horse.

    ==============================================

    Hello Pat.    Yes i know i should have my head examined huh?  
    i've only been shoeing horses for 18 straight years , i guess i'll never understand horses feet. 

    Have you ever seen horses shed their soles ? It just pops right out of there leaving just
    about what you saw in that photo your criticising. Have you ever seen frogs shed ?  Same thing
    they just peel off on their own - Now why do you suppose those things happen NATURALLY
    to horses feet ? 

    The horse in the photo has a very thick hard sole , even after me cleaning the foot to that point
    it was hard and very durable . We shod him put him back on trail work without a problem - what are you
    talking about "POOR HORSE"     

    The poor horses are the ones where people are so afraid to remove any material from a horses foot
    that the length of the foot then becomes exceptionally long - in fact the whole foot becomes too long.
    The syndromes develop - long toe and usually sheered heels - all because people are afraid to get
    down to where the foot is NATURALLY ( as if it had just shed it's sole as happens all the time ).

    When people don't remove sole and get to basics there there's no way to trim the foot correctly as i
    just mentioned - the long toe syndromes that are so prevelant as well as sheared heels due to
    long toe pulling the whole foot forward including the heels is why horses blow tendons - rotate
    coffin bones - bow deep flexor tendons and on and on .    You see what you're saying i should NOT
    do to that horse was EXACTLY the way i GOT HIM ( it was my first visit ) All that sole was left in the horses
    foot month after month never being cleaned out - because of that the toe was excessively long - and because
    of that you can see the trauma to the white line as well as trauma to the sole at the point of the coffin bone.

    So you see someone had to come along and do something right for that POOR horse - the condition
    he was in left him on the verge of going lame ...

    There's a reason horses shed their frogs and soles - perhaps you should think about that. 

    appreciate your interest in the information.

    John
    Reply to this
    1. 1/21/2009 11:34 PM Pat wrote:
      Thank you for posting my comment and responding John. Yes, I have seen soles slough and even pop out in a chunk in a healthy way. But I have never seen that happen with a bloody mess being the result. I've not been a natural trimmer for as long as you been a farrier, which is really immaterial as I've come in behind farriers with 30 years of experience who didn't a thing about hoof anatomy. Also, I have fixed a lot of messed up hooves and have NEVER drawn blood. But I'm sure you will make this horse sound, it will just have endured a lot more pain than it should have to get there. Just my opinion. My next question. As I look at the sole of that hoof in the top picture. Did you do anything more to it after that picture? Just curious.
      Pat
      ============================
         alittle late on the return comment - have been out of town .

                    I'm sure alot of us have seen some pretty horrible stuff out there - and i know for sure there's much worse than i've seen as well .  Do i ever want to remove a whole section of hoof wall ( which some are doing for founder ) - good lord i hope i never have to experience that .  Would it make me a better Farrier -  AH !   i guess i'll cross that road if the time ever comes. It certainly wouldn't make me change my method of shoeing - that part i have down pretty well.   Yes i've dealt with foundered horses where the whole bottom of the foot is riddled with hemotomas and the horse could hardly stand at all , but i'm not here to talk about that kind of "Pissin Match" as the saying goes.   
                   The photo in question and to answer your question.  I shod that horse after cleaning everything up. He went right back to service after that without a glitch . That horse has a thick sole and very Hard so even though the sole was showing signs of bruising around the tip of the coffin bone ( most likely from the excessively long toe syndrome causing rotation to the coffin bone ) the horse was the type that is almost bullet proof in terms of the bottom of the foot. Some horses are just "Thick Skinned" and just are not sensitive - This horse was one of those type. The sad part was the previous farrier had let the toes get so long it was causing deep flexor tendon stretch and the apparent coffin bone rotation .  
                   I don't just blindly hog out sole and "Hope" for the best - before i take a knife to the sole i've evaluated quite a bit beforehand and proceed with the most extreme caution. It's rare that i get fooled about my feel for the foot . If the horse is flat footed there was no way i'd be able to do that much sole reshaping .  This horse's foot was very well dished naturally - add to that the thickness and hardness of the sole it was my educated and experienced opinion this horse was going to be just fine.
                   i'll stop here or i'll go on for hours again but i'm a believer in reshaping the sole ( in most cases ) and with appreciation for things that cannot be changed ( such as a flat foot ) no amount of reshaping is going to change a flat footed horse .    
                  Anyway - yes the horse in the photo was shod without incident .
           thank you for stoppin in .   best wishes

      John Silveira
      Reply to this
    2. 7/2/2009 6:25 AM marcia wrote:
      Hello John, You were to nice to Pat. lol
      She is the kind that knows it all for heaven sakes. People are the reason for horses bad feet most of the time and then some are as you said just founder and with rotation. My daughters horse is now getting the shoes you spoke of and it all began with a virus, then colic and now rotation, and this was no ones fought, just happens and good folks like you can most of the time fix it. We now have the Vet and Farrier working relentless to fix this horse and keep her out of pain, Thanks for your comments I think you are a hell of a good farrier or you would not have been able to explain the problem with the hoof you showed and with the x ray.
      Marcia
      Reply to this
  • 1/18/2009 5:56 AM Trice wrote:
    The only time I have seen a horse shed it sole is in the case of a subsoler abcess. It is not, IMO a NATURAL, common event for a horse.
    In the photo of the bony column does it not occur to anyone that the long heel on that hoof puts more pressure on the, already, comprimised coffin bone? Use your geometry, heel high, toe low, weight on tip of coffin bone! 18 years is a long time to be doing something wrong Respectivly yours, Trice
    ========================================
    you know i'm not sure i want to waste any more time here - obviously you're the only one who knows anything
    about horses coffin bones and angles ,   You must be absolutely correct about "Everything" .
    to answer your question doesn't "Anyone" know about long heel short toe putting pressure on the tip of the coffin
    bone" - i'd have to say "no of course not , you're the only one".  I should add that after 18 years of me doing things "Wrong" as you put it you'd think by now i'd have had a lame horse ,  which i haven't . ,     Let me just enclose another comment by another one of the blog readers in response to your statements -  as follows :


    Comment:

    Hello again John,

    I had to reply to Pat's comment above and I would like to add something to your reply that might help some of these people that dont understand what is happening...

    You are dead on the first picture. The red spot just in front of the frog is from a coffin bone rotation, just like you said in the original post. But, I would like to add something about the second picture.

    Having a large blood spot at the hoof wall / white line is indicative of an abscess. If the sole is not removed and all abscesses removed, the horse could start to come down with laminitis or founder. When this happens, the abscesses will travel UPWARDS through the hoof and not down. This in turn will destroy laminae inside the hoof which will lame up the horse. If the damage to the laminae gets bad enough or is not treated in time, it could lead to permanent lameness or worse.

    I guess I just have one question to ask people that think this kind of hoof work is cruel to the horse: Which one is worse? A horse that is possibly a tad sore for a day or two after a trimming OR a horse that is permanently lame or possibly dead?

    Now, as John already knows, I am not a farrier yet, but am working towards it. BUT, with the help of my vet and current shoer, I have brought two horses back from chronic founder and coffin bone rotations. Some of these pics are exactly what I went through for months on end, only worse (imagine front hooves with 3 and 4 blood spots like that in them). And both of these mares are currently carrying foals and have not limped or had bad gaits in a long time.

    Listen to your experienced vets and farriers. The life you save could be the best horse you ever had...

    ==========================================

           Thanks again Chris for stopping by , i wanted to say something more positive to Pat but i just felt it would have fallen on deaf ears as it all already has , i just really didn't feel like spending time on it .    

            This is the nature of horseshoeing , the controversy continues .     

      Best wishes to all.    talk to you soon 

    Reply to this
    1. 1/20/2009 10:20 AM trice wrote:
      I apoligize if I came across as thinking I am the ONLY one that knows horses, I know well, I am not. I want to come across another more positive way than that. I am a natural barefoot trimmer and I am not shallow enough to think you haven't helped horses recover from all kinds of ailments dealing with hoofcare. I just think we have to meet in the middle somewhere and look at how the old ways may need readdressed and the "new" ways can take lessons from the old ways. So to speak.
      I do feel very stongly that high heels are counterproductive to healing in the cases of founder and laminitis and stretching of the white line. I do feel that thinning the sole weakens the hoof structure and is , also counterproductive. The horses hoof is very forgiving and because it is a entity of its own, tries very hard to heal which makes us able to get by with much. No attacked intended. Yours truly, Trice
      ==============================================
       Yea it's ok - apology accepted !      
                            I sensed you are a Natural Barefoot Trimmer right off , i don't have a problem with horses being barefoot. Personally where i believe i stand on all this is i don't put myself into either catagory or maybe i could even say "Both" catagories - what i do is evaluate each individual horse based on what is there. If the owner wants the horse to go barefoot we'll establish whether or not the horse is a candidate or might be too sore during the toughening up process.  I find alot of people don't want to go through the toughening up process - they just want to be able to ride without having to deal with all that and don't want to worry about feet cracking or breaking down.
                           Since i know how to shoe " correctly i might add " i don't have a problem with horses having shoes ( like the barefoot crowd does ) , i haven't had one lame horse from my method of shoeing for over 18 years now - so i just can't agree that SHOEING is bad for horses - i've looked at this inside and out - upside down and sideways over and over - with before and after photos to study subtle changes - and i've done this for years with a 100% success rate.   So if the owner of the horse wants the horse going barefoot we'll find out and evaluate what the possibilities are ( we all know not every horse can go barefoot ) and that needs to be established on an individual basis.
                           I can't go into a whole definition of why shoeing is perfectly fine for horses in this comment - it's just not possible - that's why i wrote the ebook "Inside Horseshoeing Secrets Of Lameness Prevention" - and it's just the first issue , there's another issue to follow.    
                          The important thing is to keep an open mind and weigh all the information when dealing with horses feet then adjust accordingly per each individual case.      

                          Thanks again
      John Silveira
      Reply to this
  • 1/18/2009 10:13 PM Chris wrote:
    Hello again John,

    I had to reply to Pat's comment above and I would like to add something to your reply that might help some of these people that dont understand what is happening...

    You are dead on the first picture. The red spot just in front of the frog is from a coffin bone rotation, just like you said in the original post. But, I would like to add something about the second picture.

    Having a large blood spot at the hoof wall / white line is indicative of an abscess. If the sole is not removed and all abscesses removed, the horse could start to come down with laminitis or founder. When this happens, the abscesses will travel UPWARDS through the hoof and not down. This in turn will destroy laminae inside the hoof which will lame up the horse. If the damage to the laminae gets bad enough or is not treated in time, it could lead to permanent lameness or worse.

    I guess I just have one question to ask people that think this kind of hoof work is cruel to the horse: Which one is worse? A horse that is possibly a tad sore for a day or two after a trimming OR a horse that is permanently lame or possibly dead?

    Now, as John already knows, I am not a farrier yet, but am working towards it. BUT, with the help of my vet and current shoer, I have brought two horses back from chronic founder and coffin bone rotations. Some of these pics are exactly what I went through for months on end, only worse (imagine front hooves with 3 and 4 blood spots like that in them). And both of these mares are currently carrying foals and have not limped or had bad gaits in a long time.

    Listen to your experienced vets and farriers. The life you save could be the best horse you ever had...
    Reply to this
  • 11/7/2009 1:16 AM MAC wrote:
    I have a horse with the above problem.
    The vet has applied antiseptic gel, put on a pad and wrapped the hoof. I have two questions:
    1. Why is this horse's hooves so soft. They carve like an apple. The veterinarian commented several times. How can I harden these hooves. The vet thought it was genetic.
    2. I just measured and searched for a hoof boot to put on this horse and found three styles closest to fitting the hoof sizes of the two front feet.
    Easyboot pre-2005, Boa Horse Boot, and Old MAC's Boot, generation 1. Which would anyone recommend? And is this a good idea. The rationale would be to allow the hoof to grow and protect it.
    =====================================================

    Hi - thanks for stoppin in with your great question.

    Horse's feet come in all the different varieties when it comes to hard or soft. It's not unusual to see all the different types. Diet may be a factor so you could consider supplementing with a hoof conditioner added to the feed.  It may have been that your horse has been getting alot of moisture in pasture which could soften feet as well.   Softer feet make the farriers job easier but what's important is whether or not your horse is becoming sore footed by being too soft .   To add more problems to this if your horse is thin soled as well as being soft then things get worse.   Keep in mind all horse's have a different amount of sensitivity to pain - one horse can endure much while another the slightest pressure on the sole causes pain.      

    If you have rotation of the coffin bone combined with soft thin soles now your concern along with all the above concerns is that the coffin bone can actually be cracked if stepping on a stone for example. So with the thin sole and a soft sole and the coffin bone tipping closer toward the ground now - yes - a good idea to pad the horse .     

    I use a synthetic fiber under the pad on horse's that need padding.  it never compresses and gets hard yet still displaces dirt from getting under the pad hardening and causing problems with pressure on the sole.   The reason i mention this is the GEL that is used in some cases can still cause pressure on an already sensitive soled horse , so when using gels be sensitive to the fact the gel can cause the horse to be uncomfortable in some cases. 

    Keep the toes of your horse's foot rasped to the rear to increase ease of breakover - it will help the horse from cranking on the coffin bone from the foot laboring during the breakover.     

    Hope this helps some -   if you have any further questions please feel free to get ahold of me ...
    thanks for stoppin in .

    as usual happy and safe riding and always remember to www.Care4Horses.com

    John "TheFootDoctor" Silveira 
    Reply to this
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