Setting Standards for Hoof Preparation

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by Bobby Menker, CJF APF

One of the best ways to prepare for the practical portion of the AFA certification test is to study the guidelines set forth in the AFA pamphlet “Guidelines for Evaluating Farrier Competitions and Certifications” and incorporate them into your everyday shoeing.

 

The accompanying photographs outline proper hoof prep as desired for certification as well as illustrating some of the common errors seen by examiners. It is important to note that all hoof prep must be completed and will be judged before you can proceed to the next step of nailing on the shoe.

The benefits of integrating these guidelines into your daily shoeing are twofold. Not only will you gain experience that will help you formulate your game plan for test day, but the principles outlined in the guide result in a nice, solid shoeing, definitely an asset to your business.



Photos 1, 2 and 3: It has been 7 weeks since the last shoeing. The foot runs forward and carries a medial toe flare.

Photo 4: Clean bulb and heel area. Start to establish the widest portion of the frog using the angle of the heel.

Photo 5: Paring the frog, keep it neat and smooth. Keeping the knife straight up allows you to establish a solid frog

Photo 6: Prep the sole. You want it to be smooth and not weakened by over-paring. Bars should be solid and the sole should not give to thumb
pressure.

Photo 11:

Photo 11: Check for a flat surface.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo 14:

Photo 14: Sand block the wall and the back of the heel area to smooth everything. This helps to give a nice finished appearance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photos 15 & 16: These show the finished job. The wall is smooth and straight with no deep rasp marks or gouges. The edges are smooth and rounded so that there is no injury to yourself, the horse or the examiner. The toe is not dubbed and the dishes and flares have been dressed without endangering the nailing job.

Photo 17:

Photo 17: Lateral view, resetting the same shoes. Shows how much improvement was made through good hoof prep.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The mistakes shown in photos 19-24 would result in scores less than 6.

Photo 20:

Photo 20: The foot has been trimmed out of balance. The bulb area has been left untouched.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo 21

Photo 21: The bottom of the foot is not level. There is a gap in the toe and quarter area.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo 22 & 23: The dish in the toe hasn’t been dressed. Deep rasp marks are left in the wall. The heel area hasn’t been touched and the edge is not smooth.

Photo 24: You will be stopped for drawing blood, unless an AFA examiner feels that it could not be helped.

 


This article is from The Natural Angle Volume 4, Issue  4 – written by Bobby Menker. For more Natural Angle articles and tips, click here.

Bobby Menker, CJF APF

Bobby Menker is an AAPF/CAPF Accredited Professional Farrier (APF) and an AFA Certified Journeyman Farrier (CJF) with over thirty years of experience shoeing Western and English Performance horses. His clients include multiple AQHA World Show and Congress champions, NRHA futurity and derby winners, as well as successful Grand Prix competitors. His specialties include supportive shoeing for the high-level athlete. A past AFA Examiner and frequent clinician, Bobby has been consistently involved in efforts to bring more educational opportunities to farriers.

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A Working Knowledge of Anatomy is ­Important to Everyday Shoeing Concerns

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By Mitch Taylor

In order to gain a better understanding of how to approach a variety of situations in foot care, a working knowledge of the parts of the foot and leg and how they relate or ‘communicate’ with each other is necessary.

This sketch illustrates the differences of bone contact to the ground between a horse and human foot. Notice the horse’s coffin bone is suspended while the human’s foot has direct ground contact.

In nature, the general rule is that form follows function. Therefore, if you understand how a particular structure or system works, it is much easier to remember its parts. The names and types of bones in horse limbs are almost exactly the same as ours. So, if you know anything of your own anatomy, it’s much easier to remember horse anatomy. For example, both the human and the horse have a scapula, humerus, radius, ulna, carpal bones, metacarpal bones and three bones called phalanges that make up our digits. However, the functions of our arms and those of the horse’s forelimb are completely different making the arrangement and lengths of bone, and number of digits more suited to the needs of each animal.

One of the main differences between our feet and horses’ feet is that our feet are much bigger in proportion to our body weight than the horse. Our feet don’t deal with anywhere near the concussion that a horse does. If you look at the form of our feet, the bones are in almost direct contact with the ground, protected only by skin (sometimes callused) and small fibro-fat pads, which allow for easy bruising of the underlying bones when barefooted. Conversely, if we consider the horse’s foot, its form is designed to withstand tremendous forces. Basically, the bones of the horse’s foot (the coffin and navicular bones) are protected from direct contact with the ground by being suspended within the hoof capsule via the laminar bed.

The horse is unique in that it is able to travel great distances at moderate speeds and relatively short distances at high rates of speed. Few other animals have specialized their
locomotor systems to incorporate both of these characteristics. By design, the feet and legs of horses must be able not only to bear the animal’s full weight but dissipate enormous amounts of shock generated as the foot hits the ground at high rates of speed in order to maintain soundness. In addition to weight bearing and shock absorption, the foot must provide some natural traction and serve as a venous blood pump to clear the blood from the foot on its way back up the leg.

Let’s look at it another way. When the average size horse (1000 lbs.) is breezing along at 30 mph the concussion that each foot and leg must deal with per stride is approximately 10,000 lbs. How does the very porous 2 1/2-ounce coffin bone handle this violent impact with the ground without fracturing?

Because the foot is the first thing to receive the impact of the ground at speed it is the first line of defense in dissipating that energy. In order to accomplish this, the foot must be both strong and elastic. Much like an engineer will combine the strengths of steel and concrete to build a foundation that not only can handle incredible weight, but also will have some ability to yield to changing conditions, the horse has developed a highly specialized form in its leg and foot that utilizes several different types of “materials” or tissues that when combined together are stronger than any of them alone. The design of the foot utilizes bone because it is best suited to resist compression. The coffin bone being porous would at first glance seem very fragile. But, when this bone is engorged with blood it is as strong as very dense bone and can have some elasticity if needed during the peak loading times of the stride. The navicular bone is situated adjacent to and just to the rear of the coffin bone within the hoof capsule. Two strong ligaments, the suspensory ligament of the navicular bone and the impar or distal navicular ligament hold it in place. It makes up about 1/3 of the floor of the coffin joint. The short pastern bone rests on the coffin bone and the navicular bone. Because the navicular bone is a separate entity and held in place by ‘elastic’ ligaments, the rear 1/3 of the coffin joint can ‘hinge’ or move to dissipate some energy as the pastern drops.

The hoof capsule can be described as those insensitive, protective, weight bearing structures of the foot consisting of the hoof wall, white line, sole, frog, bars and bulbs. The hoof wall takes the general shape of a cone with the top cut off. Foundations are strongest when the base is wider than the top. The function of the wall is to bear weight. It is a constant weight bearing structure, i.e., it will bear weight on hard ground or soft, bare footed or shod. Weight is transferred from the wall through the laminar bed to the bony column of the leg. The wall is designed to temporarily distort under a load. Most of the distortion of the normal foot is measured in the heel area as the heels expand.

The sole is an intermittent weight bearing structure i.e.; it bears weight depending on the situation. Obviously, if the foot is not shod and is on soft terrain the sole will contact the ground and bear weight. Only after the wall has taken a considerable amount of the load first though. A healthy dense sole is designed to handle this. If, however, the foot is shod and on hard ground it may not contact the ground at all. But because the sole is the protective foundation of the bottom of the coffin bone, it will take some weight from above. The sole is concave. It is concave because the bottom of the coffin bone from which it grows from is concave. This concave form is no accident. It functions like a leaf spring from a car, which flattens when loaded (due to the weight of the horse from above and the outward distortion of the wall) and returns to its original shape when unloaded. When soles are over pared one not only exposes the underlying sensitive sole to bruising and potential changes of the coffin bone but also, weaken this natural ‘dome’ and the ability of the sole to rebound back to its original shape. This results in flatter soles. Flatter soles result in less upright walls that are not as strong.

The white line joins the sole to the wall. It can be likened to the rubber caulking between two cement pads at a pool. It is an elastic bond between the sole and wall that allows for some movement. The white line does not run from the ground to the coronary band but is only as thick as the insensitive sole. The white line begins at the junction of the sensitive laminae and sensitive sole. It is a constant weight bearing structure.

The normal healthy frog will take up about 1/3 of the bottom surface of the hoof. It is an intermittently weight bearing structure. It has a triangular shape with the base of the triangle being even with the buttress of the heels of the foot. The frog is an important component of the natural traction capabilities of the foot. The triangular form furrows into soft ground, much the same as a plowshare does, helping the foot stop. The soft fleshy feel of the frog helps the foot to grip hard ground as the horse turns and sets up to breakover. The frog originates from its sensitive counterpart, the sensitive frog, and is connected to the hoof capsule by way of the commisure. When viewing the foot from behind the frog has the shape of a W. This form facilitates the expansion and contraction of the heel area under the strain of a load without sacrificing strength.

The bars are sometimes a forgotten structure of the foot. They are formed as the wall folds in on itself at the buttress of the heel. Commonly over pared, they are crucial for hoof strength. Think of the bars as internal struts of the capsule. Much like the cross members on the legs of a fold up table help it to be more stable, the bars help increase the foot’s stability.

Up to this point we have only really talked about the insensitive hoof capsule and its bones. It is important to remember the inner sensitive structures as well. These structures comprise vasculature, fibrous cushions, interlocking laminae and cartilage. The health of these underlying tissues is dependent on the structural integrity of the hoof capsule and its ability to hold up under less than desirable conditions. Therefore, as stewards of the feet we must know anatomy, respect the horn that constitutes the hoof capsule and employ sound farrier principals to promote healthy growth of the foot.

This article is from The Natural Angle Volume 3, Issue 4 – written by Mitch Taylor . For more Natural Angle articles and tips, click here.


 


Mitch Taylor,  CJF AWCF APF

478401_379065505546332_115742413_oCurrently, Mitch is the director of the Kentucky Horseshoeing School in Richmond, KY, and received the AFA’s “Educator of The Year” award for 2007 and 2011, as well as the Clinician of the Year award for 2012. In addition, Mitch was named the 2015 Rising Star Instructor by the Kentucky Association of Career Colleges, chosen from among 200 instructors in every field of career education. In 2015, Mitch was inducted into the International Horseshoeing Hall of Fame, an honor bestowed on only the few considered the Elite throughout the industry.

Read more about Mitch.

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Basic Shoeing: What Kind of View Do You Have

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by Dave Farley, CF APF-I

One of the steps to getting a good trim is often overlooked. If you don’t have a good view of the balance of the bottom of the foot it is difficult to get the best trim. How you hold the leg affects the view of the foot, sometimes dramatically changing the perception you end up with.

Many farriers have found that holding the leg in its most natural position is the best way to get a true picture of the balance. This applies to front or hind. Take a look at the pictures. Try holding the leg in the various positions. You may be surprised at the differences in what you might have done with the foot trim based on how you see the hoof in these positions.

 

If you hold the front foot similar to photos 1 and 2 you are very likely getting a distorted view. Your hand, especially the thumb pressure, will push the hoof capsule in one direction or another.

Holding the leg out from the body, as in photos 3, 4, and 5 will also create a distorted view.

Try holding the leg by the cannon bone and staying in line with the body. The hoof may be under the horse and you will have to crouch to get the view but it gives you the most accurate view of how the hoof aligns with the cannon bone and gives you a much better starting point for your trim. See photos 6, 7 and 8.

Photo 9

The hind view is similarly affected by not allowing the limb to hang as freely and near its natural position as possible. Pushing the leg out of position with your inside knee will make it difficult to see the true alignment of the hoof capsule to the leg. This is evident in photo 9.

Hold the leg under the hock joint and keep the cannon bone perpendicular to the ground as it is shown in photos 10 & 11.

If the cannon bone is pulled forward or pushed back as it is in photos 12 & 13 it will distort your view – particularly of the toe and heel length.

Your trim should always be done with the alignment of the hoof capsule to the leg in mind. Hopefully these tips will help you to improve the view and the trim.

This article is from The Natural Angle Volume 9, Issue 1 – written by Dave Farley, CF APF-I. For more Natural Angle articles and tips, click here.


Dave Farley, CF APF-I

Dave-Farley-4Dave Farley, CF APF of Coshocton, Ohio has been shoeing horses for over 40 years. He has shod for a broad range of disciplines, including Western horses, Reining, Dressage, Hunters and Jumpers. His business today is focused on Hunters and Jumpers on the “A” circuit.

Throughout his shoeing career he has participated in educational functions. For a number of years he has been doing shoeing clinics in the US and Canada, many sponsored by FPD but also as a guest speaker and clinician at events like the AFA Convention and the International Hoof Care Summit. In 2000 he received the Clinician of the Year Award from the AFA, in recognition of his contributions to the industry. In 2008 he was inducted into the International Horseshoeing Hall of Fame.

Dave is known for his willingness to share his knowledge and experience with farriers throughout the industry. His dedication is obvious to those who have heard him speak in the past. Dave is a founding member and Immediate Past President of the American Association of Professional Farriers. This is a national farriers association focused on continuing education for the trade.

He also partnered with Roy Bloom to form a video company called Hot Iron Productions. The goal of the company is to produce top quality video footage to help explain shoeing and forging concepts, including their latest issues, 12 Points of Reference – Balancing the Equine Hoof and Shoeing the Jumper.

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Basic Shoeing: Working with a Chronic Quarter Crack

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by Dave Farley, CF APF-I

These are pictures of a chronic quarter crack that reopened (Image 1).

 

All farriers get this type of call and the question, “Can you do something with this? I have a show in a few days so he can’t have any time off.”

 

Image 2

Image 1

 

First it is important to get the history. This horse was purchased two years ago with a crack in the same spot. The horse was never lame. Now, two years later, another one pops.

Looking at this horse (Image 2) it is easy to see there are conformation faults that led to the crack. The foot is typical as it lands on the outside then slams the inside as the horse’s weight passes over it. The medial wall is forced higher and higher causing it to shear. The wall will shear and stress until it cracks.

This is how I handled this one. First we took a good look at the foot (Images 3, 4, 5) before pulling the shoe. Notice the location of the crack at the coronary. The heel is sheared. The foot needs to be balanced. Notice that the crack is open at the coronary band. It needs to be dremeled out and soaked a few days before patching.

Image 6

Now we pull the shoe (Image 6) and balance the foot. Once the foot is trimmed we float the area under the crack as well as the sheared heel. It is important to unload the sheared heel, as this entire area perpendicular to the ground needs to be non-weight bearing before the heel can settle and the crack can heal at the coronary. Even though we float the heel and unload the sheared heel (Image 7) it will take a long time, if ever, for this area to go back to normal.

I prefer a flex shaft dremel (Image 8) as the long shaft allows me to keep the motor away from the horse. Also the working end of the flex shaft is much lighter and easier to control. I use a 1/8″ dremel burr. If you have never opened a quarter crack before I recommend that you attend a hands on clinic on dissection.

Image 8

Image 7

The hoof is a vital living part of the horse and you should not attempt this without some education.

At least practice on a tangerine or a tangelo. Practice taking the skin off without cutting into the pulp. When you can achieve this use an apple. When you can take off only the skin you have control of the dremel. The wall thickness at the coronary is paper-thin. When using the dremel hold it with both hands and put your hands against the hoof. If the horse should move, and they do, your hand will be pushed away instead of the dremel going into the hoof.

Remember that you are only a credit card thickness away from sensitive structures so be careful. I also keep a new or sharp burr in the dremel. If it gets dull or rusty it generates too much heat.

Image 12

Start at the coronary where the wall is the thinnest (Images 9, 10, 11) and move the dremel down following the crack. Keep the burr moving, as heat will build up if left in one place too long. Open the crack completely and be very careful not to get too deep. On this foot the area behind the crack had been undermined and we remove all the weak wall structure. After the entire area is open advise the client to soak twice a day for at least three days, more if the crack is bleeding or infected. After that time has passed and the foot is dry (Image 12) you can patch it with the product of your choice. I use Vettec Adhere.

It is easy to apply, stays in place and sets quick without too much heat. You should always ask the owner to have their vet look at the case before you do your work. Discuss the situation with the vet whenever possible so everyone is on the same page with the treatment. It can also be helpful to have the horse tranquilized before beginning the dremel work. If you have a camera, take before and after pictures for your records.

 

This article is from The Natural Angle Volume 8, Issue 4 – written by Dave Farley, CF APF-I. For more Natural Angle articles and tips, click here.


Dave Farley, CF APF-I

Dave-Farley-4Dave Farley, CF APF of Coshocton, Ohio has been shoeing horses for over 40 years. He has shod for a broad range of disciplines, including Western horses, Reining, Dressage, Hunters and Jumpers. His business today is focused on Hunters and Jumpers on the “A” circuit.

Throughout his shoeing career he has participated in educational functions. For a number of years he has been doing shoeing clinics in the US and Canada, many sponsored by FPD but also as a guest speaker and clinician at events like the AFA Convention and the International Hoof Care Summit. In 2000 he received the Clinician of the Year Award from the AFA, in recognition of his contributions to the industry. In 2008 he was inducted into the International Horseshoeing Hall of Fame.

Dave is known for his willingness to share his knowledge and experience with farriers throughout the industry. His dedication is obvious to those who have heard him speak in the past. Dave is a founding member and Immediate Past President of the American Association of Professional Farriers. This is a national farriers association focused on continuing education for the trade.

He also partnered with Roy Bloom to form a video company called Hot Iron Productions. The goal of the company is to produce top quality video footage to help explain shoeing and forging concepts, including their latest issues, 12 Points of Reference – Balancing the Equine Hoof and Shoeing the Jumper.

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Basic Shoeing: Guidelines for Balance

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By Bob Pethick, CJF APF

Farriers should not be trying to straighten limbs in aged horses. You’re simply trying to make the horse comfortable for it’s conformation. To help a horse become comfortable, you need to limit hoof distortion by trimming the hoof to bear weight as evenly as possible. A farrier’s key to hoof balance is being able to recognize the cause and effect of distortion. If uneven growth is allowed to continue unchecked, the hoof capsule distortion could cause a breakdown of hoof integrity and eventually lameness in the limb. Uneven hoof growth due to conformation problems will compound those problems.

When farriers are dealing with a client whose horse has a balance problem, references that the farrier may cite may not be up-to-date. This problem may also occur when working with veterinarians. The farrier needs to be up-to-date on the current research and theories to be able to explain why the problem exists in the first place.

As farriers, we are working from the coronary band down. What happens above the coronary band can be seen in the distortion of the hoof capsule. My philosophy is if you can balance the hoof according to weight bearing, the horse will land and move the best it can for its conformation. I recommend using Russell’s “center of gravity” as a point of reference for solving hoof distortion problems. More precisely, using the center of the frog because the frog never really moves, the hoof capsule distorts around it.

A major influence on hoof angle is tendon tension. The amount of tension will change how the hoof loads. If you have an upright foot, chances are the deep flexor tendon will be tight which will limit the amount of load on the heels by transferring weight bearing to the toe, limiting toe and increasing heel growth. If you have a horse with a low hoof angle and under run heels, there will be less tension on the deep flexor tendon, increasing weight, limiting growth and crushing the heels.

For the hoof capsule to function normally, it is important to make sure that the hoof is trimmed to its proper proportions and kept symmetrical both medial/lateral and anterior/posterior. When you are limited with what you can accomplish with trimming, the fit of the shoe can complete the equation by providing a base of support or platform for the limb above it.

Anterior/Posterior: The hoof capsule interprets weight bearing and load in two ways. It either loads forward of the centerline or back of the centerline and tendon and suspensory tension allows the fetlock to drop what we consider normally, excessively, or very little. All of the above effect growth of the heels and toe. The least amount of growth will occur where the majority of the weight is applied. The hoof will grow at a faster rate where the least amount of weight is applied, causing an imbalance which is compounded over time. When you add torque at breakover it becomes more obvious why long toe low heel syndrome is as detrimental to soundness as it is.

Medial/Lateral: The hoof capsule also interprets weight bearing and load in two ways. It will be either base-wide, loading outside the centerline or base-narrow, loading inside the centerline. The effects of base loading are seen from the widest part of the hoof back in the heel quarters. The quarter bearing the most weight will have the least amount of growth, become more vertical, closer to the frog and in extreme cases, considered a sheared heel. The quarter bearing the least amount of weight will grow at a faster rate away from the center of the hoof, causing an imbalance compounded over time. Base-wide will effect the medial heel quarter. Base-narrow will effect the lateral heel quarter.

The second consideration is toe-in, toe-out conformation. This effects the hoof from the widest part of the foot forward or the toe quarters. The quarter bearing the most weight at breakover will have limited growth while the opposite toe quarter will grow at a normal or a faster rate becoming a flair. Toe-in will have a flair on the medial toe quarter. Toe-out will have a flair on the lateral toe quarter.

All distortion in the hoof capsule is a combination of weight bearing, compression, load and torque and is directly related to the conformation of the limb above it. Remember, whenever horses are standing on their feet these forces are at work effecting growth.

Once we have an understanding of why hoof capsules distort, only then can we actually start to “balance” horses.

 

This article is from The Natural Angle Volume 9, Issue 4 – written by Bob Pethick, CJF APF. For more Natural Angle articles and tips, click here.


Bob Pethick, CJF APF

Bob Pethick began shoeing horses in 1971, apprenticing for three years with several farriers and attending forging seminars at Bruce Daniel’s South Jersey School of Horseshoeing. Today, in his busy career, he fills many roles as an active farrier and clinician, teacher, international judge and in promoting and supporting excellence in the industry. He has served on the AFA Therapeutic Exam Board and has been active with the AFA Certification Committee. Bob is also a past and current president of the Garden State Horseshoers Association Northern Chapter, has served on the Board of Directors of the Northeast Association of Equine Practitioners, the American Association of Professional Farriers and was inducted into the International Horseshoeing Hall of Fame in 2006.

As owner of Bedminster Forge in New Jersey, Bob’s clientele includes show Hunters, Jumpers, Dressage and event horses. Bob also does therapeutic work at B.W. Furlong and Associates and Running ‘S’ Equine Veterinary Services.

Bob’s professional certifications include AFA Certified (1983), Journeyman Certified (1986), AFA Examiner (1988), and member of Horseshoer’s Union Local 16. He is licensed in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania to plate Thoroughbreds and has shod many world champions and Olympic horses in all disciplines.

In 1979, Bob began competing at state events and worked his way up through the divisions. After competing at the 1985 AFA Convention in Raleigh, North Carolina, Bob was selected to become a member of the North American Horseshoeing Team and is a two-time member of that Team. He is a five-time member of the American Farriers Team and has represented the US in International competition. Bob now judges competitions at the International level. He is a five time judge of the AFA National Competition, two time judge of the World Championship Blacksmith Competition in Calgary, and has also judged the Mustad National Competition in Scotland and the International Team Farrier Competition in England.

A Clinician since 1986, Bob gives many clinics on balance and recognizing and treating hoof capsule distortion. He utilizes OnTrack software, using gait analysis to add dynamic balance to his presentations. Bob has been the recipient of the Jim Linzy Outstanding Clinician Award by the American Farriers Association. Bob has taught the AAEP/AFA Short Course at Tufts and Cornell as well as other vet schools and has been a speaker at the AAEP and AFA conventions as well as the International Hoof-Care Summit.

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Tool Corner: Simple Steps Lead to Consistent Clinching

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Two methods of clinching are the hammer clinch and the use of a clinching tool. Both methods have the same goal – to provide a neat, safe and effective clinch.

In recent years, many farriers have come to rely almost completely on the clincher in their finish work. The following ideas and pictures illustrate some of the steps that can be used in this method. No matter what method you use, your clinches should be of consistent length and smooth when completed. Long clinches add no strength to the job.

Unless you are in an old nail hole you will always get a bit of hoof pushed out under the nail. It is most obvious after you have blocked the nails and are getting ready to do the clinching. If you are careful with the smooth side of your rasp or finish file you can clean this up by running the file or rasp under the nail. If you don’t take care with this method you can leave unsightly lines between the nails. Some believe these lines, which are often parallel to the ground, create a weakness in the wall, something like cutting glass. It is also very difficult to create a “bed” to set the clinch in using this method.

These photos show that the nails have been blocked:

To avoid the possibility of weakening the wall or leaving unsightly marks you can use the undercut method.

Start by using the clincher to pull the nail to a 90 degree angle to the wall. Then cut the nail very close to the wall. You want to leave only enough nail to be able to grab it with your clincher.

After cutting the nail, use the undercut to cut a scoop or create a bed for the clinch to go in. This allows your clinch to be squeezed tight against the hoof without leaving nail on the outer surface to be filed off. In the end you have more nail mass at the bend of the clinch, providing a much stronger clinch and a flush fit with the wall.

These photos illustrate the above steps:

When clinching, don’t yank downward in a raking motion. This can tear more hoof below the clinch if the motion is too strong and at the very least leave unsightly marks. You should be able to squeeze the clinchers with a very light motion and bend the clinch over. This squeezing pushes the clinch back into the bed you have created. You might even find that a slight upward motion of your tool, while squeezing, produces a neater clinch, and job, than if you rake downward.

Finished job with clinches lightly filed and sand blocked.

There are a number of clinchers available. The traditional saddle horse clincher is the most commonly used. Other styles on the market include curved jaw versions and styles with an angled head that make it easier to position your hands to make the squeeze to do the clinch.

This article is from The Natural Angle Volume 6, Issue 3. For more Natural Angle articles and tips, click here.

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Basic Shoeing: Working with a Club Foot

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by Dave Farley, CF APF

When asked to work on a horse with a club foot, take extra time to evaluate the whole horse. Look at the horse from all angles. Watch the horse as it takes a couple of steps; this can help you see where the foot cannot take stress.

Above: Right Front Foot

A horse will protect himself just as you do when hurting. Learning this and understanding the lame horse is mandatory for a farrier to have a successful, positive shoeing experience.

Doing anything less is simply application, not correction.

Above: Left Front Foot

The condition of the foot, the way the horse stands and your shoe modification ability will
help determine the end result.

With all this in mind we worked on a
club foot case recently:

This particular horse, a six year old gelding, has what I feel is a grade three club foot (on a 1-5 scale).

Apparently the club foot condition has been
with this horse since it was a foal.

This horse found it difficult to stand square or under himself before shoeing.


In photo 1 you can see the dish in the hoof wall is at or just below the coronary, a grade 3, whereas a dish at or just above the end of the toe would likely be considered grade 1 or 2. This club foot, as seen in photo 2, has very straight medial and lateral walls, versus only medial or lateral. Look closely at photo 3 and you can see hoof growth at the heel is approximately twice as much as the toe growth. There is separation of the wall from widest area medial to widest area lateral shown in photo 4. The bars are starting to close in or point towards the frog as you can see in photo 5. If the end of the bars are not opened as I did on the right (I simply use a rasp and knife) they will start to pinch and narrow the frog.

There are several other factors that contribute to this horse’s lameness. Look at photos 6 and 7. Notice the pronounced side bone. Photo 8 shows a prolapsed sole that is painful, making it impossible to have a normal stride. Also notice the degenerative sole growth just in front of the frog. This is from osteomyelitis or infectious bone. Photo 9 is the lateral x-ray showing the remodeled bone and poor quality of the bone.  The toe crack in photo 10 has also been the site of drainage from abscesses due to micro fractures from the distal end of the coffin bone.

With all this in mind I decided to modify a shoe to do several things. Rocker the shoe both toe and heel to allow for ease of break over and landing, add a leather rim pad to raise the prolapsed and painful sole off the ground and fit the shoe more medial to center the frog while putting the hoof support closer to the center of the leg (photos 11 and 12).

Before applying this shoe it was almost impossible to pick up the left front. After application of the modified shoe to the right I was then able to shoe the left. I also applied a thicker rim pad to the left front to raise that side allowing the right foot and leg to be more square and weight bearing. You can see in photo 13 that the left front is much wider than the right, a result of bearing more than its share of weight over the years.

Photo 13

Our thanks to Dr. Bruce Lyle for providing radiographs on this horse and to the owners – Chad & Cathy Pippen for allowing us to work on their horse in a recent clinic.  All reside in Aubrey, Texas.

This article is from The Natural Angle Volume 8, Issue 3 – written by Dave Farley, CF APF. For more Natural Angle articles and tips, click here.


Dave Farley, CF APF

Dave-Farley-4Dave Farley, CF APF of Coshocton, Ohio has been shoeing horses for over 40 years. He has shod for a broad range of disciplines, including Western horses, Reining, Dressage, Hunters and Jumpers. His business today is focused on Hunters and Jumpers on the “A” circuit.

Throughout his shoeing career he has participated in educational functions. For a number of years he has been doing shoeing clinics in the US and Canada, many sponsored by FPD but also as a guest speaker and clinician at events like the AFA Convention and the International Hoof Care Summit. In 2000 he received the Clinician of the Year Award from the AFA, in recognition of his contributions to the industry. In 2008 he was inducted into the International Horseshoeing Hall of Fame.

Dave is known for his willingness to share his knowledge and experience with farriers throughout the industry. His dedication is obvious to those who have heard him speak in the past. Dave is a founding member and Immediate Past President of the American Association of Professional Farriers. This is a national farriers association focused on continuing education for the trade.

He also partnered with Roy Bloom to form a video company called Hot Iron Productions. The goal of the company is to produce top quality video footage to help explain shoeing and forging concepts, including their latest issues, 12 Points of Reference – Balancing the Equine Hoof and Shoeing the Jumper.

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Business Strategy: Information and Customer Service

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A successful commitment to customer service requires some planning. There is no doubt you have to be quick on your feet in dealing with your customers but you can’t overlook the advantages of thorough planning.

In the early stages of this planning you need to develop an information base. This can be a basic journal or notebook done manually, or a simple database on a computer system. The computers and software in the market today are relatively easy to work with and can make it much easier to keep your information base current. They also provide options for improving your customer service by allowing you to do mailing labels, form letters and other communication functions.

Customer information

  • Customer name(s)
  • Category – owner, trainer, rider?
  • Addresses – both billing and horse locations
  • Phones – get all of them; home, barn, cellular
  • Billing Method – Cash, open account, credit card?
  • Veterinarian (for specific customer or horse) and number
  • Comments – keep relevant notes about the customer and their horses

The customer info is pretty straightforward but invaluable as you move forward to improve your service level.

The next step would be development of the horse information. You need to determine what information is important to you. It may be that too much info creates unnecessary work but the information you gather and develop can be used to enhance your relationships with your customers. In a worst case scenario, suppose a problem develops with one of the horses you have worked on. The information and history you have on file can be used to support your position. It can help you explain to a veterinarian, owner or other interested party exactly what you know about the horse. Information on the horse – accurate information – can only help you.

Horse information

  • Name of horse(s)
  • Breed, age, other specific info
  • Basic owner/trainer/rider info
  • Veterinarian
  • History /comments

Once you have compiled your customer and horse information you can then put it to work. Communications using the database are the next step.

Communications
Billing. This may be the most important “communication” you have with your customer. Without it, you’re out of business. Make sure your billing is prompt and accurate. Try to do your billing by invoicing, at least once a week- don’t wait to do monthly statements. Monthly statements can be helpful – to be sure your customers know you know where they stand. The improved cash flow of billing as you go will be important to you. Make sure your customers understand the terms and meet them.

Maintenance issues. You need to communicate regular maintenance issues to your
customers as well as any special instructions for individual cases. You may not see the owner when you shoe the horse but you need to be sure they are aware of what’s going on.

Education. As you get more comfortable with the use of your database you can expand your services by sharing educational information with your customers. This can be something as simple as a single page on hoofcare tips or reprints of articles, newsletters or website information. Your position will be much stronger if you have tried to help your customers understand what you do to help their horses. You can start by sending information with invoices or doing two or three mailings a year.

Don’t expect the gathering and entry of data to happen all at once. Do it as you have time but work to complete the process in a reasonable timeframe. You are building a foundation, take your time and do it as thoroughly as possible.

 
The database information you assemble will be helpful as you work to get your customers accustomed to scheduling.

This article is from The Natural Angle Volume 4, Issue 1. For more Natural Angle articles and tips, click here.

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Basic Shoeing: Shoes For Traction

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by Dave Farley, CF APF

Most equine breeds and disciplines require some degree of traction in order to perform. A horse’s ability to perform would be extremely limited if you took away all traction. The natural concavity of the sole and the hoof wall provide a certain degree of traction when barefoot.
 

Under domesticated conditions we normally apply horseshoes so we have to be prepared to provide adequate traction with the shoes. In the past, most traction devices had to be hand forged into a shoe. Advances in manufacturing technology have led to a number of ready made traction shoes and other simple methods to modify the factory shoe.

The majority of horseshoes manufactured today are flat shoes. These shoes often have a crease from just in front of the toe nail to just behind the heel nail. For our purposes we’ll refer to these as plain shoes. Your challenge is to decide if you need more traction than this shoe provides. I’ll work through a selection of choices you might make to get the job done if you decide you need more.

The simplest device might be the selection of a factory shoe that already has a crease through the toe area or around the entire surface of the shoe. These shoes are often referred to as rim shoes. A shoe creased through the toe or from heel to heel can be used on the front or hind to add traction. The photos below show a factory shoe creased through the toe and a plain factory shoe being creased on the job. The determination you can make is whether you require the extra traction provided by the crease often enough to warrant carrying the ready made rim shoes in your inventory. If there is only an occasional need a quick one heat modification with the creaser to your plain shoes is probably more cost effective for you.

I have a modification that I use for horses that need medial-lateral traction. The in-line jar calk helps with quick turns but doesn’t hinder the forward motion like a block heel or heeled shoe might. I use this most often with the jumper that needs to have speed and traction in turns as well as the straight to perform best. Other disciplines that can be helped with this modification are the hunter, polo and cutting horses. This  is a one heat modification that only requires the hammer and anvil.

A traction device that has been popular for years in Canada and Europe is the drive-in stud (calk). There are various brands and styles but generally the drive-in studs have a carbide center that give additional grip even on the hardest surfaces. They can be almost flat with the ground surface or you can select studs that are elevated above the ground surface. The photos show a typical application for my work.  I have used these on general purpose riding horses, hunters, jumpers and trail horses. I find they are a fairly easy device to apply (drill and drive) and are often reusable. Be sure to have an annealed face on your hammer to avoid chipping. The carbide will be harder than any hammer face you might have.

The screw-in calks are most often seen on the hunter/jumper circuit, particularly for the three day event horse and dressage. There are many different drive-in studs providing a wide range of traction possibilities. They should be used carefully as there are some very severe calks available. The taller calks might be used for very wet, muddy grass surfaces but on hard surfaces can create undesirable impact in the calk area. The photos show two common sizes of calks that I see used by my customers. I generally only drill and tap the shoes for the customer and let them decide when and what to use. One big advantage of the screw-in calk is that it is easy to put in and take out and therefore can be applied only for the length of time it is determined to be useful.

These are some ideas for you to consider when evaluating the needs of the horse for the job he has to do.
 

I am always cautious about applying traction devices that may not be necessary. Over the years I have seen a number of problems that are a result of too much traction- causing lameness that could have been avoided.

Start with the least severe option and work your way up until you have reached the level that gets the job done for you but keeps your horses sound as well.



1. Kerckhaert Standard – creased through toe.

2. Kerckhaert SX-8 Clipped being creased through toe.

3. Making in-line jar calk by turning
inside of heel at edge of anvil.

4. In-line jar calk.

5. In-line jar calk positioned on foot.

6. Center punch your drive-in
or screw-in calk positions.

7. Two common sizes of
drive-in studs.

8. Drilling is all that’s necessary
for the drive-in calks. Most
have tapered shanks

9. When driving in studs with head,
be sure not to bottom out, leave a
slight gap between shoe and
shoulder of stud.

10. Use a steel hammer with
|an annealed face to avoid
injury from chipping

11. Smaller studs driven flush used
in toe with slightly taller studs in heels.

12. When drilling for screw-in calks
be sure to countersink. This
makes application much easier.

13. Use appropriate tap for the screw-in
calks you will be using.

14. Screw-in calks should normally
not be placed at end of heel. Slightly
more forward than the studs in this
photo would probably be preferable
in most cases.
 

 

15. Two different size calks. Choice will usually
be made based on surface conditions.

 


This article is from The Natural Angle Volume 3, Issue 1 – written by Dave Farley, CF APF. For more Natural Angle articles and tips, click here.


Dave Farley, CF APF

Dave-Farley-4Dave Farley, CF APF of Coshocton, Ohio has been shoeing horses for over 40 years. He has shod for a broad range of disciplines, including Western horses, Reining, Dressage, Hunters and Jumpers. His business today is focused on Hunters and Jumpers on the “A” circuit.

Throughout his shoeing career he has participated in educational functions. For a number of years he has been doing shoeing clinics in the US and Canada, many sponsored by FPD but also as a guest speaker and clinician at events like the AFA Convention and the International Hoof Care Summit. In 2000 he received the Clinician of the Year Award from the AFA, in recognition of his contributions to the industry. In 2008 he was inducted into the International Horseshoeing Hall of Fame.

Dave is known for his willingness to share his knowledge and experience with farriers throughout the industry. His dedication is obvious to those who have heard him speak in the past. Dave is a founding member and Immediate Past President of the American Association of Professional Farriers. This is a national farriers association focused on continuing education for the trade.

He also partnered with Roy Bloom to form a video company called Hot Iron Productions. The goal of the company is to produce top quality video footage to help explain shoeing and forging concepts, including their latest issues, 12 Points of Reference – Balancing the Equine Hoof and Shoeing the Jumper.

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The Canadian Farrier’s Team in England

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Guest Blog from Sara Vanderpol

Each year the Canadian Farrier’s Team is selected to represent Canada’s farriers on the world stage. Jack Ketel (Kelowna, BC), Justin Fountain (Kamloops, BC), John Dixon (Abbotsford, BC), Sara Vanderpol (Elora, ON) and alternate Johnny Edwards (Navan, ON) successfully passed team trials at the beginning of May near Montreal, QC to make the team. They competed together at the ‘Rumble in the Broncs’ Contest near Toronto, ON at the beginning of June. Several practices and the ‘Forging in the Rockies’ Contest later, the team was headed to the UK 2017 World Horseshoeing Classic, an international farrier competition held yearly in Stoneleigh, England.

Sara Vanderpol recounts the trip’s events and the team’s results through the following journal entries
 

SEPT 19 – We arrived in Gatwick airport in the morning on separate flights from Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Ottawa. We met, found our rental vehicles and headed out for the two and a half hour drive to Ely. We are staying at spacious Airbnb cottage. After a few tumbles down the stairs and head bonks on the door frames we have settled in.

SEPT 20 – This morning began early with a Starbucks breakfast and the 25 minute drive to the O’Shaughnessy’s forge. We worked on our specimens for the shoeing classes in Stoneleigh. The metal in the UK is slightly different dimensions so it is important to sort out how it stretches to make adjustments in sizing. Later in the morning, Will O’Shaughnessy came out to the shop and brought in two horses from a nearby pasture. They were tied in the two standing spots in the shop. John and I had a run of the short shoeing class first, followed by Jack and Justin.  We were very tight for time but decided that the heat of the moment in competition would pull us through when we competed in Stoneleigh. We had a run through of the gas forging which Johnny gave us plenty of pointers on.  The evening ended with a dinner at a local pub with the O'Shaughnessy’s.

SEPT 21 – Today started with Starbucks again. We headed to the shop where shoeing rounds began immediately. They went much more smoothly than yesterday for both pairs and we were all done in time. We had one more run through of the gas class, then packed up our tools and headed back to the cottage. The girls picked out a delicious pub for dinner in the nearby town of Ely. We spent the rest of the evening walking around town and packing.

SEPT 22 – This morning we left early to make the 2 hour trek to Stoneleigh Park. We were one of the first teams to arrive. This allowed us to get in a solid 4 hour warm up in and to prep our tools for the next day. We checked into the hotel and went out to a nearby pub called Saxon Mills for dinner.

SEPT 23 – We started early with Jack and Justin in the first 2 hour shoeing round. I quickly recognized the horse we were given as the same one the CFT shod last year. All of our rounds went well as the horse had very solid feet.


Our specimen shoes were not exceptional but they finished and cleaned up well enough. Johnny completed his alternate class and was a little disappointed as one of his shoes didn't come to size. After a quick lunch we completed the 90 minute Gas Class. It went as planned and our shoes were tidy.

SEPT 24 – We were in the second round, and were able to get up a little later today. We took advantage of the time and watched the round compete before us. Our horse had decently sized, shelly and slightly weak feet. Justin and Jack were a bit tight for time in the end but finished. John and I had a pretty rushed run. My hind foot ended up being more of a front shape and John was a little bit short on length on the foot. We had been worried about getting this class done in decent time, and it felt great to successfully complete it. It was late afternoon by the time we packed up the tools and left. After a bit of socializing, we headed to the Hilton for the banquet.

The evening consisted of dinner, an auction and awards. Jokes flew around the tables and a good time was had by all. We were slightly surprised to be called up for third place in the gas class and fifth overall! This is the Canadian Farrier Team’s best placing at Stoneleigh in the last 10 years!

SEPT 25 – Today our team drove into London. John went home while everyone else managed to take time off to tour the UK. I ventured off on my own to walk and take the train through London. I climbed 311 steps up to the Monument to the Great Fire of London, and walked by the London bridge, Hyde Park, Oxford Circus, St. James Park, Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace, the Cavalry and Big Ben.

 

SEPT 26 – I woke up this morning and flew home. It feels great to be back on Canadian soil!

Reflecting on the Canadian Farrier Team’s 2017 trip to Stoneleigh, I am so appreciative of everyone who made our trip possible. Without our sponsors, our trip would not have been a reality. It takes a lot of time, effort and support to bring every team member to this level. I am also grateful to have Sean Elliot as team manager. Without his direction, we would not be where we are today.

On a personal note, it has been a huge honour to travel across the world representing the Canadian farrier industry. It amazes me how many opportunities I have had to meet amazing craftsman and people through farriery. This is truly a fantastic industry to be involved in. I look forward to seeing where the team heads in 2018. If 2017 is any indication, they will continue to represent our great country and make all Canadian farriers proud!

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