Negative Palmer angles (front feet)

Feral

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Does anyone have any experience with negative Palmer angles affecting the front feet?
My pony has been reluctant to go forward since I started riding her 8 months ago (she has only just turned 5)
It is like the handbreak has been constantly on.
My farrier recommended that I ask my vet to look into NPA and the xrays came back showing that this was the issue on her front feet (backs are fine)
She had special shoes fitted on Thursday which raises her heel and did seem instantly to be walking more normal, less placing her toe first and much lighter on her feet.
The next day she seemed sore and on farrier/vet recommendation is on bute for the next week until she adjusts.
Has anyone had any similar experiences and how long did it take to see improvement?

I am thinking it will take a while for her to build correct muscle due to the way she has been carrying herself due to the pain?
 

ester

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flat, not quite negative, bare foot rehab and never an issue again (did it when he was 19, he is now 27, was huting at 24). (did have 2 rounds of bar shoeing which made the hooves look better on the outside, still lame so presumably no help on the inside).

Generally speaking wedges are a temporary fix as they can serve to crush the heel tubles further = more underunning.
 

ester

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by way of demonstrating the changes albeit some are better photos that others:
before bar shoes
under run


after 12 weeks of bar shoes - note still bullnosed

new not bullnosed angle growing down

sometime later, after which I mostly stopped bothering to take photos
 

Feral

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flat, not quite negative, bare foot rehab and never an issue again (did it when he was 19, he is now 27, was huting at 24). (did have 2 rounds of bar shoeing which made the hooves look better on the outside, still lame so presumably no help on the inside).

Generally speaking wedges are a temporary fix as they can serve to crush the heel tubles further = more underunning.
She has quite a good heel length on her and good feet in general.
My farrier does not agree with wedges either and calls them old fashioned, she has some kind of special aluminium shoe from France on her (I forget the name)
I am thinking it will take 6-12 months for a full hoof cycle to repair the damage inside of her foot.
From the outside you would never have guessed what was going on.
Vet initially thought laminitis 🙄
 

ester

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my farrier wanted to try wedges, my vet definitely didn't. He blocked a fair bit to coffin joint, but injecting that didn't make a difference when doing more work.
I did a particularly slow rehab due to his age, started march/april, cantering in september (the second photo) - was mostly waiting until it rained, and out doing dressage in the November.

It needs to be functional heel rather than just length IMO, that way the pedal bone is supported in it's correct posiition by the back portion of the hoof.
 

mustardsmum

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My Daughters horse has NPA caused by a broken back hoof pastern axis - also diagnosed by X-ray after a check lig injury. The check lig injury healed perfectly, but we had a persistent reluctance to turn in tight circles and pony was clearly laterally loading on the inside of the hoof. She also did this weird thing where she would go backwards to turn herself around (like a three point turn!!) in the stable. Just knew something was wrong so we had her xrayed and vet saw the NPA and vet said she would have been quite sore. This was probably the reason for the check lig injury (ligament compromised by the HPA). Put her in wedges and she was sound straight away! We put her on bute as soon as the wedges went on as vet said they can become a bit sore at first. She has been in wedges since last August. She’s jumping better, and daughters instructor said she’s never seen her move so well. She’s much happier, and tbh I suspect this had been affecting her for some time but the “lameness” was barely detectable - she was very reluctant to turning tight circles and she could put in dirty stops. We have to make sure we keep her regularly shod. She will become sore if her toes get too long, and we do keep a close eye on her heals. We xray’d her recently and it’s looking like the wedges will have to stay on - it is unlikely she will stay sound if we take them off.
 

Ceriann

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Mine has very flat soles - not a negative angle but poor enough to cause her lameness issues without very careful balancing. Ive had her 3 years and decided to go barefoot after 2 years of on and off problems. We did egg bars, heart bars etc - no wedge as farrier didnt like them. I was about to shoe her to pick up work over summer but CV-19 got in the way. Turns out she didnt need them - boots off and shes hacking well and no lameness since shoes came off.
 

ycbm

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The only way to fix negative palmar angle is to rebuild the digital cushion at the back of the foot which holds up the back of the pedal bone. it's extremely difficult to do that any way but by removing the shoes.

It seems to be generally recognised now that wedges will, sooner or later, crush the heels even more.

.
 

holeymoley

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I agree with YCBM, wedges seem like the answer but in actual fact they crush the heel and prevent it from growing correctly and becoming stronger. The only stories I’ve seen of successfully fixing a negative Palmer angle is to remove the shoes, go barefoot and let the hoof grow itself.

Just to add I’m not a barefoot preacher- my guy wears shoes and has been previously remedially shod with heartbars. Just incase anyone thinks I’m anti-shoe!
 

ester

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Those I know that have used wedges they seem to help for a year or so, then don't. No preachiness here either. We never re-xrayed as wasn't worth it on the basis that the horse was sound, and the hoof wall was now straight.
The most helpful thing said at the time was Nic Barker telling me if I bar shod him they could come off again. I agreed to that with a definite time limit in mind and taking his shoes off was the best thing I ever did.

He's still sound in front now, I have no idea where those 8 years have gone! it's his backend that isn't doing so great but he could still be hacking if anyone wanted to.
 

PoppyAnderson

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Just incase anyone thinks I’m anti-shoe!
Nothing wrong with being anti shoe. I'm anti shoeing. They cause more problems than they fix, either immediately and/or in the longer term. Have a look at taking your horse barefoot. You'll need to do a few things though. First, grow a thick skin and a DGAF attitude. Then read everything on Rockley farm website. Start your horse on a hoof supplement (equimins, pro earth or forage plus), check what you're feeding (only feed from thunderbrooks, agrobs, pink mash, micronised linseed, tiger oats), get some hoof boots, take shoes off just before they're due to be reshod, walk out in hand at first if they're struggling ridden but get them out moving as much as they're comfortable with, get a good bf trimmer on board and then........watch the transformation begin!
 

dorsetladette

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Poppy I've never had a barefoot horse on any of the feed in your only-feed-this list 😄.

.
Me neither - I prefer to call mine unshod rather than barefoot. I'm not trendy!! and only use a qualified and recommended farrier. I wouldn't want to use a barefoot trimmer (used one in the past who caused untold damage). I have very strong opinions about this whole 'barefoot is best' malarcky. Every horse is different and should be treated as such.
 

ycbm

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I don't use unshod because I prefer to start from the position that shoes shouldn't be put on unless they are needed. Unshod, to me suggests that shoes are the default. And I don't walk round my bedroom unshod when I get out of bed, I walk round barefoot.

But I agree, horses, and even more so horses, owners and livery conditions combined, for courses.

.
 

AandK

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My 23yo had reverse rotated pedal bones in his hind feet, diagnosed about 15yrs ago. Initially he was shod with wedges, which helped him, he quickly became crippled if he lost a shoe (first wedge pads were very bulky). He had a suspensory injury 3yrs later and due to a long period of box rest, I took his shoes off. When he came back into work the following year, he didn't have wedges and hasn't needed them since. I believe the wedges contributed to the damage to his suspensory, which I was told was chronic rather than acute.
 

holeymoley

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Nothing wrong with being anti shoe. I'm anti shoeing. They cause more problems than they fix, either immediately and/or in the longer term. Have a look at taking your horse barefoot. You'll need to do a few things though. First, grow a thick skin and a DGAF attitude. Then read everything on Rockley farm website. Start your horse on a hoof supplement (equimins, pro earth or forage plus), check what you're feeding (only feed from thunderbrooks, agrobs, pink mash, micronised linseed, tiger oats), get some hoof boots, take shoes off just before they're due to be reshod, walk out in hand at first if they're struggling ridden but get them out moving as much as they're comfortable with, get a good bf trimmer on board and then........watch the transformation begin!
That’s good for you. I specifically said I’m am not as I’m well aware of how every horse is different. What works for some doesn’t work for others. It’s dependent on a lot of factors. I’ve also seen how forceful the ‘anti shoers’ or the ‘barefoot brigade’ are at throwing their opinions down everyone’s throats about how shoes are awful etc etc etc I said I was not anti-shoe to highlight that I don’t have a bias opinion. Fwiw my guy is shod in front and barefoot behind. I have friends with horses that are barefoot and friends with horses that are shod in all 4. Sometimes remedially. It’s what suits each horse and their workload. Your list is also a bit sparse... again, fwiw, my gelding is an ems lamintic so is fed pretty much the same as a barefoot horse. I can’t say I feed any of that. There really is no need for a very hostile ‘DGAF’ attitude as you state above, I find it quite saddening that you feel you need to be that way.
 

PoppyAnderson

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That is a ridiculously and unnecessarily short list for sure. I've also never needed a thick skin or a DGAF attitude! no need to scare the OP PA.
Do you mean the feed I've cited is a short list? If so, it's really not. Alfalfa rarely suits anything, so that cuts out a huge amount of feed. Everything from baileys, spillers, topspec, d&h contains either alfalfa or molasses or treated straw. If you want to give your horse the very best chance of doing well barefoot, then diet is critical. A small number can cope with anything but most need an optimum diet to do well, so it's worth starting out in that way.
 

Tiddlypom

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get a good bf trimmer on board and then........watch the transformation begin!
I wouldn’t recommend the barefoot trimmer route either.

My now sacked Equine Podiatry association trained and qualified trimmer opined that HPA X rays are ‘meaningless‘ and he doesn’t take any notice them. He reckons that it all depends on how the horse is standing when the X Ray is taken. This is true, of course, but a decent vet will ensure that the horse will have been stood up correctly.

This is how he left my senior mare after a year of his handiwork at 6 weekly intervals. When I passed on my vets request to improve the angles, he said that he couldn’t without dumping the toe and laming the horse. He hadn’t a clue about the effect of this long toe/low heel angle on the rest of the horse.

65293F05-DB19-47C3-A121-66DA3EE21A73.jpeg

Funnily enough, the farrier who then took the mare on managed to improve her HPAs dramatically without her ever being lame.
 

Pinkvboots

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I wouldn’t recommend the barefoot trimmer route either.

My now sacked Equine Podiatry association trained and qualified trimmer opined that HPA X rays are ‘meaningless‘ and he doesn’t take any notice them. He reckons that it all depends on how the horse is standing when the X Ray is taken. This is true, of course, but a decent vet will ensure that the horse will have been stood up correctly.

This is how he left my senior mare after a year of his handiwork at 6 weekly intervals. When I passed on my vets request to improve the angles, he said that he couldn’t without dumping the toe and laming the horse. He hadn’t a clue about the effect of this long toe/low heel angle on the rest of the horse.

View attachment 50451

Funnily enough, the farrier who then took the mare on managed to improve her HPAs dramatically without her ever being lame.
God they are not great are they, I won't use barefoot trimmers either one absolutely crippled 2 horses next door to me:(
 

ycbm

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Do you mean the feed I've cited is a short list? If so, it's really not. Alfalfa rarely suits anything, so that cuts out a huge amount of feed. Everything from baileys, spillers, topspec, d&h contains either alfalfa or molasses or treated straw. If you want to give your horse the very best chance of doing well barefoot, then diet is critical. A small number can cope with anything but most need an optimum diet to do well, so it's worth starting out in that way.

Poppy you're making yourself sound a wee bit daft, I'm afraid. Far from it rarely suiting any horse, there are millions of horses all over the world fed alfalfa. And not everything contains it or molasses, there are a huge number of non molassed, non alfalfa feeds now available. Many barefoot horses are also fed 'treated' straw without issues, assuming you mean nutritionally improved straw, where the cellular structure has been weakened by sodium hydroxide, leaving sodium bicarbonate (an antacid many people add to horse feed) to allow it to be digested more easily.

.
 

dorsetladette

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God they are not great are they, I won't use barefoot trimmers either one absolutely crippled 2 horses next door to me:(
The Podiatrist that buggered my boys feet up is raved about round here. It makes me cringe everytime I see a facebook post '' Thank you xxx you've done so well with xxx's feet' and I photo of said feet which often just look really sore.
 

CanteringCarrot

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With negative palmar angles, or any imbalance of the hoof, there can be a ripple effect in that other areas of the horse's body may be sore. Often, soreness in the body, can come from the feet. A lot can come from the feet. So when there is a dramatic change in shoeing, I might be inclined to ease the horse back into work and be very observant.

As for barefoot, it is not the answer for all horses. But also, shoes don't have to be permanent either. They can be another tool to use along the way in getting a horse sound/in proper alignment/healing whatever ailment with the hoof. I've seen atrocious hooves on shod and barefoot horses, to be fair. Do what works for the horse in front of you.

As for alfalfa...um, mine eats a feed with alfalfa and no molasses. I think the total NSC of the feed is 7%. His hooves haven't fallen off, he doesn't look like a hobo, and he doesn't fly like a kite (most days). Alfalfa is very useful as a source of protein, and sometimes calcium, especially for horses in hard work or those that are harder to keep/not a good doer. Alfalfa is not offensive to me, but a high amount of sugars and starches, however, is more damaging, IMO.

It would be neat for us, and useful for you, OP, to photograph and record this journey in correcting your horse's hoof angles. I've been doing this with a horse that has a quarter crack, and it has helped me see and keep track of improvement and changes in the hoof.
 
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I think some hoof care professionals (I've seen it with barefoot trimmers and farriers) somehow get caught out by horses that grow a lot of toe and that the toes can 'run away from them'. The toe running forwards seems to drag the heels forwards too. They basically have a gap in their skill set that needs rectifying... most don't even see that (typical 'TB feet' is often trotted out even if the horse isn't a TB) so they continue doing the same old thing.

The farrier who let my mare's toes run long, shod more upright hooves beautifully and kept them well balanced. With a long toe he appeared to only take off 3/4 of the extra growth each shoeing cycle, so as you imagine the toes gradually got longer and longer, yet you still had the illusion of the horse looking better after shoeing than it did before. It is very hard for an owner with no training in a situation like that.
 

w1bbler

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Had lots of issues with my mare being sore all over, eventually tracked down to being due to npa. She had pads/wedges which made her almost instantly comfy. Roughly a month /6 weeks later she started to get sore again.
Fast forward 3 months, where I was almost at the point of pts, my vet suggested we take the shoes off & try barefoot.
That was 2 months ago & I'm now back riding her. Walk only for the time being, but as she's been out of work since October whilst we got to the bottom of all her issues I couldn't be happier.
 
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