Navicular Disease or Syndrome affects the Navicular Bone and or the soft tissue around it. It degenerates faster than the body can repair and can become rough and painful as the tissue and bone make contact. Some people think it is an affliction of older horses but it is quite common in younger ones. Most common possible causes are Hoof angle and shape, Breed predisposition and genetics, Over exertion over poor or hard footing, Large bodied horse with disproportionately small hooves. A combination of these factors can be contribute to the same result. Proper shoeing or barefoot trimming by a good farrier can make these horses comfortable and sound enough for long term riding. There are also medicines which can help with circulation and inflammation to improve their comfort. They can easily continue being ridden if they are thoughtfully handled and managed and are not so severe in the diagnosis. I have seen some horses have to be retired completely. Things to look for are odd lameness that comes and goes, a "parked out" stance when resting (this is due to them trying to get pressure off their heels which may become sore and contracted). This is when a horse stands with all four feet way spread out in front and behind. Extending a front foot out at rest is another sign. I have seen severe cases where it looks to me like what can only be described as the horse appearing to be walking on broken glass. They just look so painful with each step. They will also appear to not move their shoulder which can make you think they are sore up higher. They will sometimes snap their knees up more when moving. If you watch closely you will notice the toe striking the ground first instead of the heel which can also lead to stumbling and tripping. I have noticed this most commonly in TB's because of horrendous race track shoeing practices of keeping long toes and no heel on the horse and then running them this way(which contributes to all the tendon bows and bucked shins and ankles etc...but that's a whole other can of worms). Quarter horses are also common sufferers because of there consistently small, upright feet and large bodies. In reference to Shyne the free horse in the previous blog, the only thing I could think of with him was, I had also thought of him as having a bit of a "race horse shaped foot". Meaning he grew a lot of toe and very little heel. This is one of the types of hoof conformation which contribute to Navicular Disease. And I did have him xrayed, but it can develop over time and I bought him young. It DOES not mean that every horse who has this shape of hoof is going to get Navicular. The same goes for tiny upright feet. It does mean that they could though and you may want to xray the feet of a horse like this if you are purchasing it. Just for peace of mind and a baseline. If you have a horse like this, you should make sure you're working with a good farrier to keep them sound and comfortable.