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Where does the Problem Originate?

I came across a very interesting article recently in the American Farriers Journal entitled ‘Where Does the Problem Originate?’ It caught my attention and turned into quite a fascinating read about a pony who not only had scoliosis, but also kyphosis. The piece describes how the farriers gave regular trims but nothing they did stopped the hooves reverting to their deformed state every 8 weeks – the farriers turned their attention to above the leg. The severe issues around the spine led to major conformation adaptations which presented themselves in the hooves. The defining line in the article for me was “With each horse we work with, we need to look at the whole horse, not just the feet”.

Their time spent trimming the pony, investigation of the growth of the hooves and studies of the skeleton posthumous, led to many revelations on how the upper confirmation influences and affects the lower conformation.


It reminded me of how having your horse barefoot is not enough; we must review his diet and environment and trimming schedule. But we must also look at his whole body, our riding style and any equipment we use on him – could these be affecting how he holds his body and could this have an effect on his feet? If he has a sore back or tight poll, he will be holding his body in a different way. This adaption can lead to even minor abnormal growth patterns in the hooves and this in turn can affect gait and cause further issues in the body. Imagine a circle within the body: muscle issue in the body -> irregular growth patterns in the hoof -> adaptation moving back up through the body -> muscle issue in the body. Food for thought, or rather, hoof for thought.

You can read the full article here:


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