Flares and Wall Separation

Wall flare is excessive hoof wall that grows outward due to excessive length and insufficient wear. The wall is strongest when the entire hoof wall from the coronary band to the ground is straight. When it's not, the wall is literally separating away from the coffin bone. 

flare_wallsep_1 It may look like bell bottom pants at the bottom outer edge of the hoof. Or it may not be so obvious. You can feel flare with your hand. Begin with your fingertips at the top of the hoof wall and run them down the hoof wall towards the ground. You can usually tell how the "hoof wants to grow" by looking at the upper 1/2" or so of the hoof growth just below the coronary band. Sometimes though, so much of the wall is flared and so close to the coronary band that it is hard to see. Flare is due to laminitis or long-term mechanical stress. When wall is overgrown, ground contact will mechanically begin to pry the wall away from the bone. In hind feet that are overgrown in the toe, yet the heel is too short, a bulge ("bull nose") will form halfway up the toe wall. The white line at the bulge is stretched because the unusual mechanical forces in this shape of hoof pull the wall away from the bone. 

flare_wallsep_2Flare and "white line separation" are basically the same thing. When looking at the sole of a flared foot, the white line is dirty and stretched or may make a small groove between the wall and the sole. Flare to the hoof is like pulling two pieces of velcro apart. But unlike Velcro, it cannot be put back together. Well connected wall must be grown down from the coronary band.

In true white line disease, fungus and/or bacteria become established in the stretched white line and travel far up under the hoof wall, destroying tissue, and sounds hollow when you tap it with a tool. This requires aggressive treatment with a product like White Lightening.

flare_wallsep_3Flares are painful to the animal. Think of having your fingernail slowly ripped off! Laminitis (inflammation of the white line) is so painful that the horse will stand in the "founder stance". Even without founder, a flare can be painful enough to make the animal noticeably unsound.

Building adequate sole is more than just leaving it alone. Remember – it’s all skin, even the hoof. If the horse is lacking in nutrition or ill in some way, the organs are preserved while “skin” is left on its own.

Typically horses will stay thin soled until you’ve grown in a totally well connected wall. So get rid of that flare!

No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle.  ~ Winston Churchill