HomeHorse HealthEquine Massage TipsClub Foot Horses: Uneven Hoof Growth Patterns, Treatments And Causes


Club Foot Horses: Uneven Hoof Growth Patterns, Treatments And Causes — 16 Comments

  1. I'm fascinated by what I read in your articles, Lisa, mostly as I learn the close physiological similarities in treating humans and horses alike.  I never would have imagined …

    • Thanks Sharon! Yes, most people are not aware that animals can benefit in the same way that people do from bodywork and that they suffer from the same pain and soft tissue injuries as humans.

  2. I am interested in the stretches to help a horse with one upright hoof and the opposite front leg has a slightly sprung knee and low heal.Thankyou. I Love your stretches and advise.

  3. Great info, Lisa.  Thank you.

    Any stretches for a horse with a left front that turns in?

    • Thanks Karen!  That would really depend on why the foot is turning in.  Take a look at your horse from the front and check how the cannon bone comes down from the “knee” (not really the knee).  Ideally it should be in the center.  If it’s placement is slightly to the outside, this predisposes the horse to a toe-in because of the way the weight would distribute on the hoof.  If it’s in the center and soft tissue is pulling it in, then using the same principles of stretching out the contracted muscles would apply as in the article.  Massage and stretching of the medial (inside) soft tissue of the leg, transverse and ascending pectoral muscles might help.  Abduction (away from the body) stretches, as well as good balanced natural trimming might help to keep it in check. 

      Thank you for your question Karen, and I will make it a point to address this topic in an upcoming article, demonstrating the stretches that would be helpful. 



  4. Hello

    My mares were both fine until I moved into a new area which the new farrier butchered both their feet.  Now with a new farrier through the vet I use I am still having problems.  My older mare is getting a club foot which is getting worse.  She is lame all the time even with all the work he does.  He has his a device that he measures the slope of the hoof and puts pads on.  She has grown heel back but now has a almost bulging in the front part of the hoof.  Hate for her to go through this and all the vet will say is 'yep, you have a club foot'.

    • Oh no!  How devastating!  Well, all I can say to that is a true “club foot” doesn’t just develop suddenly, it’s something they are born with and affects the actual bone.  Now if your farrier messed things up and caused the horse to move in a way that was painful, the rest of the body has to compensate somehow and your horse may have developed shortened muscles and tendons on that limb because of it.  There may have even been some injury involved to the tissues because of the bad trims.  If you have a good bodyworker to help you, releasing and stretching the soft tissue on the back of the leg and up into the arm/shoulder area over time can help.  Rubbing a linament on the leg and into the arm for pain relief and muscle relaxation like Ortho Sport or Ortho Ease may help as well.  Please keep me posted on how your horse is doing.  Sending prayers your way.



  5.  Hi Lisa,

    I recently was asked by the rescue ranch I volunteered at (before we moved away) to foster a 3 year old filly whom has club hooves. When I picked her up her front hooves are really clubed. I've not seen the x-rays but was told by the owner her bone is straight down. in her hoof.   The hoof itself is very misshapen. Where it appears to curve inward & then comes back out towards botton. The 1 is some what of a slant to it. I've been doing research so that we can try help this  poor fillly. I do have a natural balanced farrier who is also going to be working with me. When the owner got her delivered from Washnigton at 6 months she walked off the trailer with clubed hooves. She also has 1 back foot that is clubed but isn't nearly as bad as the front. The veternariany asdvised this filly never be road or used as a broodmare. I am certified in equine massage & hae advanced training in the Masterson Method, also I do some reiki & energy work. Any guidance that you could offer would be wonderful. I realize she may never fully recover but would like to see her to be able to move without being so sore. If you would like to see pictures I can email some to you. I myself after reading several articles (including yours) need to reevaluate what I see as a whole on the way she is carrying herself. I also have read an article of Pete Ramsey too which helped me delve in for more of a search on massage & stretching for club hoof. Thank you in advance for any information or help you can provide.

    Juanita Lewis

    • Hi Juanita,

      Poor filly!  It’s such a shame that they did not address this when she first started to show signs of this as a foal!  Perhaps it wouldn’t have gotten so bad!  Whenever I work on a horse with any kind of upright hoof growth, I start with a thorough massage along the entire length of the leg(s) & triceps and then do this stretch – http://www.heavenlygaitsequinemassage.com/front-leg-extension-stretch-horse/. I may be a while before you are able to identify other areas of concern.  For something this severe, it will definitely take a lot of commitment to consistency in your therapies and the work of a very good natural hoof care professional.  I would recommend that you do this bodywork daily and make sure that you do a thorough session at least an hour before every trim.  Trimming just a little bit every 2-3 weeks is sometimes easier on the horse to help them adjust.  Joint mobilization work at the pastern will also be very important.  I hope you are able to make a difference for this poor filly. 



  6. Hello, I have a 17 month old filly that has started getting a club foot and I'm worried after reading about all this. Can the stretches beneficial on the young horse aswell. Do horses always get worse? That I know of she not had an injury. I'm thinking born with it.  Are horses with club feet ever ok as riding horses?


    Thank you. 


  7. I have a 16 year old paint with angular leg deformity. I had seriously contemplated euthanasia about a year or so ago because he was having a lot of pain issues. My farrier introduced me to stretching exercises to help with his mobility. Between those exercises, strict trimming regemine and a new vitamin supplement my baby is living a much happier life. I love the time i spend with him doing our daily routine of grooming and stretching! He has gone from lame to able to handle light trail rides or jaunts around the neighborhood. He still has some bad days but those can be managed with minor pain medication.

    • That’s SO great to hear and very encouraging for others that may be facing the same or similar situation!  Thank you so much for sharing Elaine 🙂

      God Bless,


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