The Art & Science of Farriery
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The Natural Angle
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Volume 8 Iss 4: Simple Steps to Provide Support

Simple Steps to Provide Support

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The aged horse that you see in the photos to the left has obviously been out of balance for some time. You know when you see a case like this you’re not going to fix all the problems that have been created. But you’ve got to start somewhere and the support you can provide can go a long way toward making the horse more comfortable.

You need a shoe that has enough width in the heels to provide a full fit. This is one of the features that Kerckhaert shoes are always going to give you. A shoe with a narrow tapered heel just doesn’t have enough material in it to get the job done. You can see that the inside (medial) heels in both feet are run under, probably a result of too much wall length for too many years. If you are going to support the hoof capsule, imagine where the shoe would be if you were fitting the coronary band, not the perimeter of the wall. Fit it to that point.

The shoe on the anvil is the left front shoe. The bevel was put on the inside heel (right side of shoe) just to give it a slight slope in case it gets stepped on. The shoe is nailed on with the frog lining up in the center of the shoe. This is the goal for providing good support in this case. You can see the amount of steel showing on the inside. Don’t be afraid to put the shoe there. The rasp is at an angle that you would normally hope to see the wall follow. By fitting the shoe to that point, you have given the foot much better support.

This is a good situation for Vettec Adhere or Superfast. In order to help keep the shoe from being stepped on you can fill the area and dress it so that there is no “ledge” sticking out. The Adhere was used here, with both inside heel areas being filled without having to stop to change tips, build a dam or worry about the material falling away from the wall. Once dressed the foot looks more normal and there is very little risk of the shoe being pulled. The foot may never completely remodel to “normal” but it will have a chance to improve and in the meantime you have given the limb the support it needs.

There are a lot of horses that need this kind of medial support in front. You will also find this to be a very useful technique for supporting the outside (lateral) heels of the hind feet, also an area that commonly ends up with support problems. The key is to look carefully at the whole hoof capsule, including the coronary band and the position of the frog in the foot. If the frog is not in the center of the hoof it is very likely you need to give more support to one side or the other by fitting the shoe wider.

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