This is a picture I took a few years ago at our state fair of a Percheron's foot.
Normal people take lovely pictures of the horse's head, or body shots showing the sheer size of these gorgeous animals.
But not me! I take a picture of the bottoms of the hooves. An area very few of us ever even notice, which is why they often look like this. No one complains, not even the horse. And the horse has every right to be really pissed about being forced to live with this crappy shoeing job!
Drafts can be big, naughty, combersome animals to trim and/or shoe so their hooves usually aren't maintained on the most frequent basis, not the mention the cost, unless owners work on their own draft horses. Which is often the case because after all, they are just draft horses, it's not like they ride them or anything. Right?
This horse is suffering from severe flare, causing separation of the white line and opening his hooves up to potential cases of white line disease and/or abscessing. The flare should have been addressed with the trim. It hasn't been addressed with the trim, so this hoof, with it's $200 or $300 dollar shoeing job (for all fours) is in exactly the same predicament as any long-term neglected hoof would be.
Flaring also allows the soles to become flat and tender so you can see in the picture the pad that is added to protect the sole and frog. This pad and shoe takes the entire bottom of the hoof out of function. The frog atrophies like any other body part that isn't being used. Draft horses can have just as wonderful and shapely hooves as any other horse. Owners of drafts just need to educate themselves about how to make that happen. Their horses could move and pull with much more athletism if their feet were more normally shaped.
One of the worst cases of flare in draft horses that I've ever seen is on the Percherons owned by the Preifert Fence Panel company. Boy, if you get to chance to see their hooves in a picture or in person...yikes! I happened to see a picture of these horses in the Capital Press paper and I cut it out, it was so horrible. The team of horses were pulling a wagon at break-neck speed as part of the opening ceremony for last year's Bishop Mule Festival. I could not believe they could keep from tripping over the duck billed hooves. It was an awful sight. No horses should have to live with feet like that, especially working horses.
I just wanted to point this out to you. If you are interested and you happen to be walking past the pretty draft horses at the fair, notice the hooves. This should shock you just as much as when you see a horse that hasn’t had any hoofcare in years. Spencer’s hooves are a good example of extreme neglect. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
If this doesn’t shock you, let me know, I can help you learn why it should.