AERC Dr. Hassan Hoof Balance and Lameness Issues

Disclaimer that goes for ALL my blogs, but especially when I am reporting on what others said: I can be wrong, I welcome corrections and comments, and I will remove any spam, flame, or non-productive comments. Let’s stay CIVIL and show respect; 3 R’s: respect the post, respect each other, and respect this place. Thank you.
In addition, I am thinking of myself as a *connector*, So, if you have questions about the content, do contact the person who did the presentation. I will provide as much information about contact info as I can.

Hoof Balance and Lameness by Dr. Karen Hassan, DVM, DAVCS. She practices @ Eastern Sierra Equine LLC in Carson City, NV. 3550 Shawnee Dr, Carson City, NV 89705 775-267-4630. Looks like she is on FB… @

This Veterinarian sounded as though she is a control vet/judge at endurance rides because she gave us examples of hoof issues she saw at endurance rides. I don’t know her riding history or whether she does endurance riding herself because that was not included in her bio.

I was very pleased to hear Dr. Hassan say that she saw the same issues in horses who were barefoot, in boots, or in shoes; that it all came down to trimming the hoof appropriately for whatever the horses were going to wear or not wear. This information is for all horses, regardless of their footwear.

I was so impressed with this person’s poise and handling of boisterous audience members. She is calm, cool and in control at all times; and she always went back to the current literature and studies to answer a question posed. She keeps current in her reading and does research on hoof issues.

Her Bio says *90% of all equine lamenesses occur in the lower limn and of those, 90% arise in the hoof*. Ok. That says is very strongly and gives us something very concrete to pay attention to. She went on tell us that lameness in the hoof is due to hoof imbalances.

She started with the idea that we need to time our hoof care with our ride plans. Well, I do that, and have done that for the last 3 years; so much so that my farrier NOW asks * when is your next ride?*, so we can plan the farrier schedule accordingly. The best is to time your hoof care so that your horse’s hoofs (ves) are IDEAL.
I asked, at that point, if she would be willing to talk to farriers and she replied she has plans to do just that. I THINK she said she would be talking to farriers March 18 in Roseville. I could be very wrong about that, and I don’t know what Roseville she is talking about (CA or NV), so my best suggestion is that if you want to tell your farrier about this you send her an email, message via FB, or call her and ask about this. Because, folks, it really is a team effort between our vets, our farrier, and expert vets in hoof care like herself, and us as owners yes? YES, Continuing education for farriers is a BIG DEAL!

She told us that MOST of the time, there are external noticeable signs to an internal hoof problem; she had great examples and great slides; which are not reproduce-able herein because they were really all her intellectual property and she is the one who needed to explain what we were looking at. I highly recommend attending a clinic or visiting her or sending her hoof images, or….. seeking her counsel about hoof issues.

One of THE most common problems she sees at endurance rides is too long of a toe, and under-run heels.
Why is Hoof Balance so difficult to achieve? She actually said that while there are ways to do it right, the fine tuning, getting to know a horse, getting to know our own horses, sharing how the horse’s go is an art form. Yep, she said that. and I was very glad she did because I have noticed that with my farrier.

I have the BEST Farrier ever, he has been my farrier for over 5 years. He fixed my older Arabians feet after he was almost ruined by a bad farrier and he watches my horses move, and he listens to me, but he also knows his stuff inside and out. He knows how horses are supposed to travel and he also knows the consequences of changing a horse’s hoof as the movement the carries up the leg into the horse’s body. Yes, I am willing to share his name and # with anyone in my area (Olympia, WA) just send me your email address. He and Sue Summers trained together at Farrier school and if asked Sue always gives him a big thumbs UP. One example of this listening to me was my gelding had been stumbling a bit too much, my farrier listened and we tried some small things, then we tried something a little different, and the last small change has made all the difference and no more overly stumbly horse. Small changes, watch, wait, try it and see. No big overt changes, keeping his hoof balanced all of the time. It truly is an art form my farrier uses to fine tune my horses shoeing and hoof work.

Again, the basics are that your farrier ( or as my friend says * her blacksmith*) , your vet, and you are a team and the whole team needs to talk to each other and be clear about what is best for the horse at all times. We should ALL always advocate for the horse.

She spent quite a bit of time on improper heel support. She gave us all kinds of measures about what to look for in the hoof. She stressed we really need to get down and LOOK, really LOOK at our horse’s hooves, measure them, watch them for changes, be aware of wear patterns, do the heels match? Are the walls similar in thickness?

I always look at my horse’s wear patterns in their shoes at every shoeing so now I am familiar with how they wear, which direction, and where the patterns are so I can talk intelligently with my farrier about these patterns.

She stressed that imaging the hoof ( ves) helps a lot; lateral imaging so the farrier and you the owner can actually see how the foot is balancing or not with and without shoes, I would imagine.
She was adamant that the statement * My horse just grows that way * is NO excuse for letting a horse have imbalanced hooves; even IF they grow that way, they can still be balanced.

She also stressed that Arabians are a tough breed so their tolerance for lameness/hoof issues is high, thus we may not see issues in outward physical signs because of this toughness. Thus, we REALLY need to know our horses and when they are *off*.

She also said * don’t mess with the sole of the hoof*.

One very clear message is that if your horse is pulled from a ride due to lameness? Give the issue 1-2 weeks to resolve, if it does not? Call your vet in for consultation.


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