Managing White Line Disease

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By Travis D. Burns, CJF, TE, EE, FWCF and Lauren Trager, DVM

White line disease (WLD) is a pathology that has long frustrated farriers, veterinarians, owners, and other members of the equine profession.

Fig. 1 – Cases of WLD are often first noticed by farriers during routine trimming/shoeing visits. An area of separation in the hoof wall that is filled with dirt/debris is noted.

WLD is described as a progressive hoof wall separation originating at the solar surface of the hoof and migrating proximally. It is thought to be the result of opportunistic keratinopathogenic organisms invading the non-pigmented stratum medium. The separation does not affect the stratum internum or dermal tissues.

Historically, WLD has been referred to by many other terms, including seedy toe, hollow hoof, hoof rot, onychomycosis, etc. Even though “white line disease” has become the commonly utilized term for this disease, it is a misnomer as the disease process does not actually affect the white line of the horse’s hoof capsule. Therefore it is this author’s opinion that the equine community should begin to use the term “white zone disease” or another term that describes the anatomy affected (non-pigmented stratum medium/white zone).

The cause of WLD has long been debated. Although several theories have been described, none have been proven. The current theory of WLD etiology as described by O’Grady, Moyer and others is that opportunistic, keratinopathogenic microorganisms invade the non-pigmented stratum medium of the hoof wall following an initial separation caused by a mechanical stress or weakness, trauma, abnormal or excessive moisture exposure, or some combination. 1,2 These organisms degrade the keratin in the hoof wall exacerbating the separation. Furthermore, dirt and debris typically fill the separation, acting as a mechanical wedge forcing the wall apart.

Although WLD has been reported all over the world in many different environments, the highest incidence of WLD appears to be in areas with exposure to high moisture/humidity. It affects horses of all ages, breeds, sex, and type. Many factors appear to predispose horses to WLD that include but are not limited to: poor environment, repetitive cycling of the hoof from wet to dry conditions, various hoof wall distortions, flexural limb deformities, chronic laminitis and weak/brittle hoof walls resulting from genetic or nutritional abnormalities.

Cases of WLD are often first noticed by farriers during routine trimming/shoeing visits. An area of separation in the hoof wall that is filled with dirt/debris is noted (Fig. 1). When removing the dirt/debris with a hoof knife or curette, an area of undermined hoof of varying degree is revealed. After the dirt/debris is removed, portions of white/grey powder like hoof wall are typically seen before reaching a healthy margin. There can be rather large areas of separation filled with dirt/debris despite maintaining a healthy appearance of the outer hoof wall (Fig. 2).

Lameness is usually only noted when extensive separation has occurred, resulting in an instability of the distal phalanx within the hoof capsule (Fig 3). Many cases of WLD are treated/managed by farriers during routine visits. Farriers should be encouraged to debride small areas of separation to a healthy margin whenever possible. If areas of separation are to be covered by a horse shoe they should first be packed with an antiseptic packing. The preferred packing of the Equine Podiatry Service (EPS) at the Virginia Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine (VMCVM) is a mixture of oakum, venice turpentine and copper sulfate (Figs 4 & 5).

Fig. 4 & 5 – The preferred packing of the EPS at VMCVM is a mixture of oakum,
venice turpentine and copper sulfate.

For barefoot horses with small separations, affected portions of hoof wall should be removed to prevent mechanical prying on the affected area as well as to prevent further packing of dirt/debris while allowing the owner to clean and treat the area (Fig 6).

Fig. 6 – Affected portions of hoof wall should be removed to prevent mechanical prying on the affected area.

Areas of separation that are extensive, expand, or do not resolve should be managed by a team consisting of a veterinarian and a farrier.

Radiographs, specifically 0° lateromedial and 0° dorsopalmar, should be used to identify the extent of the separation and to guide trimming/shoeing. The principles of treatment are to resect the affected hoof wall and debride to as healthy of a margin as possible (exposes the area to UV light and air), stabilize the hoof capsule, recruit the sole and frog for load sharing, and remove predisposing factors (environment, excess leverage, etc.).

To resect the hoof wall a combination of half round nippers, hoof knives, loop knives, and motorized rotary tools (Dremelb) are used. Carbide cross cut burrsc are useful to prevent dust and heat buildup (Fig 7). Following resection many topical products can be applied to further disinfect and dry the hoof. The preferred topical treatment at the VMCVM is 7% tincture of iodine. It is important to note that all topical treatments are of little to no value when there is insufficient debridement. Figures 8, 9, & 10 show a sequence of debridement prior to topical treatment.

Fig. 8, 9, 10 – A sequence of debridement prior to topical treatment.

Fig. 11 – It is important to note that affected areas should not be covered with adhesive.


This article is from The Natural Angle Volume 16, Issue 4 . For more Natural Angle articles and tips, click here.

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Avoid Unnecessary Damage to Your Nail Puller

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A significant number of crease nail pullers are returned to suppliers each year because of damage that can be avoided – not as a result of defective material or workmanship.

It is possible for heat treatment or defective metal to be a problem but be sure you used your tool correctly before returning it. Be sure that you cut or rasp the clinches off before trying to pull the nails. Start the tool opened as wide as possible to allow the points to penetrate any dirt or debris in the crease and get under the nail head. The nail puller has to get under the head of the nail to work properly. If you only have contact with the tips of the tool and then squeeze and try to pull the nail without first lifting it you are asking for trouble. (Photo 6 shows damaged tip of nail puller, likely a result of trying to pull the nail before getting the puller tips completely under the nail head. Notice the other puller has no damage and has been used much longer, but more correctly.)

Photo 1 – Start with wide opening.

Once you are under the head, a steady squeezing pressure should pop the nail loose. You can often hear the nail break loose from the crease. You will see that the nail head is fit snugly into the cavity of the pullers if you have used the tool correctly. When the head is in this cavity, the pressure of the rolling motion you use to pull the nail will not cause damage to the tool.

Photo 2 – Puller tips are not under nail head; this method causes damage to tool.

From time to time you may want to touch up the nail puller tips so they can penetrate the debris in the crease and get under the nail head. You should also be sure the tool is not too thick to fit into the crease. If it appears to be too thick you can use a belt sander to dress them to a thickness that works. Be careful not to grind too aggressively or for too long. You don’t want heat to build up and destroy the heat treat. If you can’t hold the tool because of the heat or it develops a blue color– it’s too hot. Quench it occasionally as you go through this grinding process.


This article is from The Natural Angle Volume 10, Issue 2 . For more Natural Angle articles and tips, click here.

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Power Up: Power Cord Tips

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If your tools and electric motors are getting hot and you are connecting them with an extension cord, it is a possible sign that you have the wrong gauge extension cord. Not only will the use of the wrong extension cord reduce the performance and life of your equipment, it can also become a fire hazard.

Before using any extension cord to help power your tools or equipment, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Will I use the cord indoors or outdoors?
  • What is the total wattage rating of the equipment I’ll use with the cord?
  • How far is the nearest outlet from where I’ll be working?

The first step in determining which extension cord you will need is to decide whether you will be using the equipment indoors or outdoors. Extension cords that can be used outdoors will be clearly marked “Suitable for Use with Outdoor Appliances.” Never use an indoor extension cord outdoors; it could result in an electric shock or fire hazard. Most barns have conditions that would also indicate outdoor use cords would be safer.

Extension cords are labeled with valuable information as to the use, size and wattage rating of the cord. Cords are offered in many lengths and are marked with a size or “gauge.” The gauge is based on the American Wire Gauge (AWG) System, in which the larger the wire, the smaller the AWG number. For example, a 12-gauge wire would be larger, and can power larger wattage equipment than a 14-gauge wire.

To determine what size — or gauge — cord you will need, you will also have to determine how long you need the cord to be. A cord, based on its gauge, can power equipment of certain wattage only at specific distances. As the cord gets longer, the current carrying capacity of the cord gets lower. For example, a 16-gauge extension cord less than 50 feet in length can power up to 1625 watts (W). A 16-gauge cord that is longer than 50 feet in length can only power equipment up to 1250W.

All equipment should indicate how much wattage is consumed when operated; that rating can be found on the equipment itself or within the use and care booklet that accompanies the product. Other equipment will indicate power usage in amps, rather than watts. Quick tip: if your equipment indicates that it uses 5 amps at 125 volts, then its wattage rating is 625W (5×125). If you are going to use the extension cord with two or more pieces of equipment, you must add together the wattage rating for all equipment used on the cord. The total of those wattage ratings will help you determine which gauge size you will need.

If you are working in a barn, the outlet that you may be using may have low voltage, because it may be at the end of the line. If this is the case you will need a larger gauge extension cord to prevent additional drop in voltage.

Always try to connect to the plug nearest to the breaker box in the barn. It has the least drop in voltage!

Follow these additional safety tips when using extension cords with any electrical appliance.

  • Look for the UL Mark on extension cords you purchase.  The UL Mark means that representative samples of the cord have been tested for foreseeable safety hazards.
  • Store all cords indoors when not in use. Outdoor conditions can deteriorate a cord over time.
  • Never keep an extension cord plugged in when not in use. The cord will still conduct electricity until it is unplugged from the outlet.
  • Most newer, indoor cords with more than one outlet have covers for the unused openings – use them. Children and pets face serious injury if they chew on unused outlets or stick sharp metal objects into the openings.
  • Do not use extension cords that are cut or damaged. Touching even a single exposed strand of wire can give you an electric shock or burn.
  • Never file or cut the plug blades or grounding pin of an extension cord or equipment to plug it into an old outlet.
  • As a safety feature, extension cords and most equipment have polarized plugs (one blade wider than the other). These special plugs are designed to prevent electric shock by properly aligning circuit conductors. If a plug does not fit, have a qualified electrician install a new outlet.

This article is from The Natural Angle Volume 9, Issue 3 . For more Natural Angle articles and tips, click here.

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Getting the Sharper Edge

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By Roy Bloom, CJF APF-I

The following is a method for knife sharpening that I have been using for some years. You may be able to use this method to improve your knife’s cutting ability.

It is important that you maintain a thin blade. The thicker the blade, the larger the bevel at the cutting edge. If the blade is thick, you have to use too much pressure to pull the blade through the cut; the thinner the better. A fine bevel is easier to maintain and offers less resistance, allowing the knife to cut easily. Pay attention to the size of the bevel on a brand new knife and try to maintain that size throughout the life of the knife. As you sharpen and use your knife, the width will decrease and as it decreases the edge will thicken. The blade will need to be thinned.

In photo (1) I am thinning the blade. I have taken a belt and cut it about 1/2″ in width. You can do this with any belt. Cut the back with a razor blade about 4″ and carefully tear the rest. With the edge pointing up, so you can see the bevel and not get too thin, grind the knife to the desired thickness. Don’t let the blade get hot. If you see any color you have gone too far, too hot. Keep the blade cool by dipping in water after every couple passes. Use a new belt if possible, 100 or 120 grit. A new belt will cut quickly and the dipping of the knife in water will not allow the blade to heat up.

Photo 1

If your blade’s width gets down to 1/4″ throw it away. When the blade gets that thin it can break easily and that’s when you find it in your leg or wrist.

Now that I’ve thinned down the blade I need to establish the bevel. Photo (2) shows different makes of diamond hones. You want one that fits the hook size of your knife. Work the bevel into the hook (photo 3) and then the blade (photo 4). Some knives are made of a soft enough material that a small rat tail or triangle file can be used. Using files is good for serious roughing in but it produces a serrated edge, which is not desirable. If you start with a diamond hone you may never need a file.

Photo 4

Now that the bevel is established I go to the Scotchbrite wheel. This is a medium grit Scotchbrite. I have found this to be best for cutting quality. In photo (5) I am cutting a groove in the edge of the wheel. I have braced a rat tail file to cut the groove. The groove will allow me to thin and sharpen the hook. Using the Scotchbrite wheel, I can polish the whole blade and the bevel. You want to maintain the angle of the bevel through all the stages so pay particular attention to how you hold the blade to the wheel. Make sure the edge is down, otherwise your knife may become a permanent fixture in your forehead. Start with the hook (photo 6) and sweep through the blade (photo 7), always maintaining the angle of the bevel.

Photo 5

Now for the final polish. I use a medium felt wheel (photo 8) with the same groove cut in its edge as I put in the Scotchbrite. Apply green rouge to the groove edge and face of the wheel (photo 9). Use the same method as on the Scotchbrite so you can maintain the bevel angle and make as many passes as necessary to polish the edge (photos 10, 11).

Once you have achieved sharpness with the felt wheel the edge should last a long time, assuming you are using your knife carefully and cleaning the hoof. When your knife becomes the least bit dull, touch it up on the felt wheel. You should not have to go through all these steps again until the bevel gets too large. When it does just repeat these steps.

Many of the suppliers carry the various wheels, tools and materials you need for sharpening knives. If your supplier doesn’t carry them have them contact Bloom Forge or FPD for info on where to get them.

This article is from The Natural Angle Volume 5, Issue 4 – written by Roy Bloom, CJF APF-I . For more Natural Angle articles and tips, click here.


Roy Bloom, CJF APF-I

PhotoELF Edits: 2013:10:30 --- Saved as: 24-Bit JPEG (EXIF) Format 98 % --- batch crop --- cropRoy Bloom has been shoeing horses since 1973. He has been a member of the American Farrier’s Team on two different occasions and for many years served as the manager of the team. Roy has always been willing to share the extensive knowledge he’s gained over the years with members of the farrier industry. In addition to his farrier background, he developed a strong interest in blacksmithing and tool making and for many years has been manufacturing a broad range of farrier and blacksmith tools. He also has a fully equipped shop and the ability to do a wide variety of ornamental and artistic work. Roy’s work as a clinician has earned him the Educator of the Year Award from the AFA and a position in the Horseshoer’s Hall of Fame.

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Basic Shoeing: Shoeing The Roping Horse

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by Mike Chance, CJF

There are as many ways to shoe roping horses as there are horses. Each one is unique, with its own strengths and weaknesses.

A sound horse with good conformation, in a desirable environment, would do well barefoot. Yet this scenario is rare. Their riders each have their own set of priorities, skill levels, and schedules to factor in. Because of all these variables, each horse should be assessed as a unique individual. Communication and observation skills are essential in determining how best to shoe each horse in order that he may perform at his peak within his environment. For instance, you would not put sliders on a calf horse that chased cur dogs and wild cows during the week. You wouldn’t square a toe and dub his hind foot if he were weak in his stop. These are all factors you must learn through communication with rider/trainer and or using your observation skills. You should have a good understanding of the horse’s job description.

The average age of the rope horses you see at the top end of the game is 15-18 years old. Many of these horses reach the peak of their career with existing maladies and management of soundness is the key factor of these horses. These horses will work temporarily, regardless of what we do to them, as seen in Photo 2.

The most common concern of cowboys is shoe pulling. Rarely does a horse of sound mind and body pull a shoe, if the foot is properly balanced and supported. Photo 3 (same horse as Photo 2 after shoeing) In fact, it is less likely under normal circumstances. I choose not to cheat any horse of the advantages of proper shoeing because of occasional lost shoes.

Chronic shoe pulling is most often caused by bad management, such as turning them out in hazardous environments, such as deep mud, fencing on the ground and so on. This is not your fault, unless you don’t point it out and show customers their roles and responsibilities. The management of the equine athlete is a team effort.

Lameness is a common cause of gait faults. Veterinarians play a key role and can make life less stressful, provided you’re fortunate enough to have a good relationship with the good doctors in your area. It’s amazing how a chronic shoe puller is miraculously cured by a simple hock lubrication. Calf horses, like reiners are notoriously hard on their hocks. It comes with the job.

Over the years of practice and study, I’ve developed a picture in my mind of a balanced and functional foot. Good basic hoof prep with a little extra attention to details will solve most problems and keep a horse sound under normal circumstances. (Photo 4) This is my approach to what some refer to as corrective shoeing. In general, I simply trim away the parts that do not fit the balanced picture. I take away all the excess hoof, but avoid excessive trimming and rasping. Your goal should be to preserve as much hoof mass as possible. Trim heels to the tallest, widest aspect of the trimmed frog. The frog should be somewhat parallel to the ground. While dressing the outside of the hoof, keep your goals in mind.

Fit a shoe that compliments what is trimmed. I often choose a shoe based on the hoof’s condition, allowing me to use a smaller nail, for example. I prefer a shoe that is punched coarse. This allows me to nail in the white line, yet still fits the outside perimeter. Hoof walls will become thicker and of better quality if we allow them to. Rasping on the outside of the foot serves no practical function. Your shoe fit and its placement is what does the work (Photo 5).

A horse is a horse. It makes no difference what his job is: dressage, walker, or ropers, they need the same trimming principles. The center of the foot is the same respectively. The posterior portion of the foot must balance the anterior regardless of the length of toe and/or hoof conformation (Photo 6). Enhanced break over is very important, yet it’s only part of AP balance. Posterior support is the other half of the equation and must be addressed to achieve AP balance. Think about the posterior portion of the foot, the portion that bears the weight and does the work (Photo 7).

Proper hoof prep and shoeing of the hind feet is just as important as the front. If not, a sore or dysfunctional hind can dump extra work to the front and set you up to fail. In order for a horse to stop properly, the hind foot must slide. If the foot is excessively dubbed or pushed back, it won’t function properly. On the other hand, excessive toe length isn’t   necessary and can cause undo stress on the limbs. Somewhere in the middle is where I find works well (Photo 8). One quarter inch to 3/8” longer than the fronts is a good place to start. There should be enough toe and or shoe in front of the center of the foot to allow it to stay on top of the ground going in. The heels of the hind shoe must be of sufficient length to slide on once it’s under the horse. It is sometimes necessary to sweeten or taper the branches of a hind shoe to enable the heel of the foot to fall while the toe stays on top of the ground. The opposite drives the toe straight in, therefore you don’t get the slide you want. Anything you do to facilitate the sliding stop makes it easier on the horse as well as the ropers ability to step off (Photo 9).

A hind shoe of adequate length also helps keep them off the front shoes. The extra length causes the hind to plant a little sooner. A horse that spreads excessively in the stop can’t stay in it. Check medial/lateral hoof balance and make sure your shoe is pointed straight with the frog (Photo 10). It’s sometimes necessary to lower the medial heel and build a shoe with a little extra length in the medial branch (Photo 11, 12).

 

The more educated we are the more confidence we have. We are more able to communicate with confidence, what we do and why we do it. Education and experience is the key to success but also helps you to know your limitations. Nothing is more frustrating than giving your all to a customer with unrealistic expectations. If you learn to listen well and observe, you can pick out the things on which you can have an impact and alleviate complications and disappointment. Education gives you the confidence and skill to handle this aspect of your job well and to your advantage.

This article is from The Natural Angle Volume 7, Issue 1 – written by Mike Chance, CJF. For more Natural Angle articles and tips, click here.


Mike Chance, CJF

Mike is living in Tioga, TX and has been shoeing full time since 1985. He has always been active in participating and promoting educational opportunities. He has served as President of the Oklahoma Farriers Association as well as serving on the Board of the AFA. He continues to work with the AFA certification program to help farriers working to improve their skills.

While Mike’s work is now divided between Cutting, Western Pleasure and halter horses, over the years he has worked in many other disciplines, as well. His presentation focuses on a common sense approach to everyday work and maintaining soundness in performance horses.

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Tool Corner: Hoof Tester

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by Dave Farley, CF APF-I

Most seasoned farriers will agree that a good hoof tester is a must in your shoeing tool collection. When used properly you can determine an area where a hoof has pain. The key thing here is to know how to use them correctly. Assuming that we have chosen the foot that is affected, the first thing to do is clean up the feet. I almost always start with the sound foot first. This allows me to get the feel of a normal squeeze for that horse. Before picking up the foot take a good look at the outside. Make sure the wall is free of mud, manure or hard dirt that will hinder the hoof tester from working properly. Is there any sign of hoof wall cracks or an inflamed coronary band? If not pick up the foot and clean the bottom.

It is very important to have a routine when using hoof testers. If you have never used a hoof tester before I think you should practice first on a small ball. Tennis balls are great for this. A tennis ball will give a little just like a hoof. Squeeze the ball until you have the ability to apply the same pressure each time your hands close the handles. I still do this occasionally just so my hands are familiar with that feel.

I start on the outside of the foot just behind the bar and squeeze. Move from that area forward about an inch squeezing with the same amount of pressure. Continue around the foot ending up just behind the bar on the inside of the foot. If you find an area that the horse reacts to don’t stay in that area and continue to squeeze. Continue around the foot then start over to see if you get the same response in the same area. If you are sure this is the spot you have to determine if it is your job or the vet’s to continue. If I feel it is a hot nail I pull the nail and let the caretaker of that horse know what to do. Even if I am sure what is causing the sensitivity, I suggest that the vet be called and informed of the problem. I do not start digging on the bottom of a hoof. This could be a very negative thing to do. If I do not get a reaction on the sole then I squeeze each side of the frog and across both heels. One point I would like for every one to remember is that the side of the hoof tester you don’t see is also working and applying pressure to the outside of the foot with every squeeze. For this reason I like to keep that side no higher than about one-third the height of the foot or where our nails should be. If you get higher than that (especially on a thin walled horse) the horse may show pain in the outside and you may mistake it for sole pain.

As with every horse I feel if we observe the horse while being led from the stall, working and or just standing before we start to work on it we may be able to determine where the problem is. Look close, pay attention, and develop your eyes and ears. Practice using your hoof testers on a tennis ball before using them on a horse and you will be more successful finding the sore spot on a hoof.

 

This article is from The Natural Angle Volume 6, Issue 2 – 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: Shaping for Symmetry

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by Dave Farley, CF APF-I

One of the constant struggles in shoeing horses is the effort to establish and maintain good hoof shape.

It is not unusual to have a horse come to you that has been fit to the perimeter, a method many of us used to think was good horseshoeing. But as time goes on we often find that we have problems when we shoe using this principle. You will often see a long toe as well as excessive flares. A hoof that has flares and dishes will often have flatter soles and uneven growth patterns. You can see this in the rings on the outside of the hoof. A well-balanced hoof has a good blood flow and will grow more evenly. If you don’t change this shape problem you will also have more difficulty shaping shoes and getting a good strong nail pattern.

There are a few ideas that I use when determining how to trim and fit, especially when faced with first time jobs. I start with a couple thoughts in mind:

  1. Front feet should be more symmetrical than hind feet
  2. Hind feet have straighter toe quarters
  3. Hoof wall thickness should be consistent from one side to the other
  4. Flares are not supposed to be there

The photos in this article show feet that have been perimeter fit, resulting in an imbalance from my perspective. I try to trim and shape the foot so that the freshly trimmed frog is in the center of the hoof capsule. This is a goal but remember that you can’t always do everything in the first shoeing. This often means there are flares that need to be removed. I generally start this with the foot up on the stand and rough it in when I remove the shoes. This gives me a good view of the shape of the coronary, which is also a very good guide for what the hoof shape should be.

With the foot in trimming position, I can now gauge the thickness of the wall and the balance from inside to outside- again using the frog as my center. I will even up the wall thickness as much as possible now. This provides a guide for me when I take the foot forward again and work to remove more flare. You have to use some discretion in taking flares off. You don’t want to take so much that the wall will be weak and you will have difficulty getting strong nails in place. Even in the toe area you should use caution. It’s better to set the shoe back than to take all the horn away.

If you work to achieve more symmetry in the trim you will find your horses come back to you in much better shape.

You are encouraging good hoof growth as you develop your eye for trimming this way. You will find your work getting easier each shoeing. Shoe fit becomes much less of a struggle. In my work I have found that using front and hind pattern Kerckhaert shoes has fit with these shaping principles very nicely. It is apparent that Kerckhaert has put a lot of effort in developing the shapes of their shoes to match what the shape of a well-balanced foot should be.

This article is from The Natural Angle Volume 5, Issue 2 – 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: Options for Break Over in Everyday Work

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By Doug Workman, CJF APF

There are many thoughts on the subject of break over as it pertains to the horse’s foot and limb function. I would like to discuss some of the options we have using modifications to keg shoes, as well as shoes manufactured with modifications built-in by the manufacturer. This is my opinion only but I do not like to set shoes back off the toe in most situations. I prefer to fit the foot and modify the shoe to alter break over of the foot. There are many variations that we can use and it can be like putting a puzzle together, every time we add a piece the picture becomes more visible. There are many things to consider when determining type of modification or shoe we use for each horse, but my starting point is conformation, age, job or discipline, and type of footing the horse is working in. The three basic modifications I use most are rolled toe, rocker toe and half round or roller type shoe.

The rolled toe is a simple modification that can be achieved with your hammer, rasp, grinder or manufactured shoe. The foot surface of the shoe remains flat and the ground surface of the toe is beveled to reduce leverage or purchase of the toe. I find this modification helpful with horses being worked on synthetic footing. Synthetic footing for the most part does not allow the foot to slide or slip at all and by reducing the purchase of the toe the horses seem to move better and stay sounder. For the most part, I roll the toe of my shoe with my grinder on keg shoes. And, I also like the Kerckhaert Comfort shoe in steel and aluminum because the toe is already rolled.

The rocker toe is a more aggressive modification achieved by breaking the plane of the foot at the toe on the shoe and foot. This modification allows you to move the break over point farther back than the rolled toe while still maintaining weight bearing on the toe wall. I like this modification on many of my older horses. I think it gives them a little help dealing with those old joints. I will also rocker the toes for some horses on synthetic surfaces for the same reasons I mentioned above.
Roller or Half round shoes have the entire outside and inside edge of the shoe beveled or rounded from heel to heel. These are great shoes for that conformational challenge you may encounter. The design of the shoe allows you to shoe the foot without creating corners the horse will need to compensate for while moving. I like this shoe on horses that are working on a firmer surface, it gets in the ground a little bit and its rolled design can compensate for some conformation issues, such as angular deviations causing slight toe-in or toe-out. I like the Kerckhaert SX Roller in smaller sizes up to 1 and the Classic Roller for larger feet.

I do not believe that all horses need to have enhanced break over. I think horses need all the purchase they can physically use but that is different in all horses. Do not be afraid to experiment. What you experience on your own, you will never forget, especially the things that don’t go your way.


This article is from The Natural Angle Volume 14, Issue 1 – written by Doug Workman, CJF APF . For more Natural Angle articles and tips, click here.

 


Doug Workman, CJF APF

Doug started shoeing horses full time in 1989. He completed his AFA certified level in 1992 and the Certified Journeyman certification in 1994. He has been a member of the Georgia Professional Farriers Association since 1992 and has served as President. He became an approved tester for the AFA certification in 1998. Doug is currently a board member for the newly formed American Association of Professional Farriers. Doug’s practice is concentrated on shoeing Hunter/Jumpers and Dressage horses. His passion is helping others achieve their goals in the farrier trade as his many mentors have helped him to do. He has been working as a clinician with FPD for the past few years and has received positive response to his common sense approach to shoeing.

 

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Tool Corner: Tool Tips

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By Roy Bloom, CJF APF-I

  1. Always wear your safety glasses. You are striking steel against steel and working with hot material. Anything can happen, so be safe.
  2. Always strike the tool in the center of the striking surface. Striking off center or on the edge will cause breakage and possible injury.
  3. Always strike the tool with the round face of your hammer. Striking with the flat face causes deflection off the rounded surface of the tool. The round face of your hammer produces a solid hit.
  4. Always pritchel at a black heat. This allows you to shear the material and avoid heat buildup in the pritchel. You will get much longer life from your pritchel and better nail holes.
  5. Always maintain your tools. If your tool should mushroom on the struck end, grind off the mushroomed area. If the working end should deform for any reason, regrind to the proper size and shape. Do not overheat.
  6. Never let the working end of your tool get too hot. Allowing your tools to remain in hot material too long will create a heat buildup in the working end of the tool that will destroy the heat treat and hardness of the tool. The result will be deformed working ends. This is especially critical with the forepunch and drift.
  7. Never put the tools in the fire to adjust. Excessive heat will destroy the heat treating and render the tool useless. Excessive heat will also destroy the weld on some tools and cause the weld to crack. (An exception would be tong adjustment and pritchels which can take some heat).
  8. Never quench your tools in water. If your tools get hot they should be allowed to air cool. In normal work we recommend that you dip your tools in a hoof packing formula to provide cooling and lubrication.
  9. Never quench your tongs in water. If you make adjustments to your tongs do not quench them. Allow them to air cool before you use them. In normal work, you can quench them in water provided there is no color in the tong.

This Tool Corner is from The Natural Angle Volume 3, Issue 2 – written by Roy Bloom, CJF APF-I . For more Natural Angle articles and tips, click here.


Roy Bloom, CJF APF-I

PhotoELF Edits: 2013:10:30 --- Saved as: 24-Bit JPEG (EXIF) Format 98 % --- batch crop --- cropRoy Bloom has been shoeing horses since 1973. He has been a member of the American Farrier’s Team on two different occasions and for many years served as the manager of the team. Roy has always been willing to share the extensive knowledge he’s gained over the years with members of the farrier industry. In addition to his farrier background, he developed a strong interest in blacksmithing and tool making and for many years has been manufacturing a broad range of farrier and blacksmith tools. He also has a fully equipped shop and the ability to do a wide variety of ornamental and artistic work. Roy’s work as a clinician has earned him the Educator of the Year Award from the AFA and a position in the Horseshoer’s Hall of Fame.

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Basic Shoeing: Foot Finish

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By Dave Farley

Your customers may never lift the foot to check your work but you can be sure they take a good look at the hoof as the horse is standing in front of them. A few minutes spent on a good finish will go a long way in keeping your customers happy.

We start our finish work when we pull the shoes. This work, as with most of the finish work, is done on the foot stand. This allows us to take a good look at the hoof and get some of the finish work done as a part of pulling the shoes. After cutting the clinches, we use the file side of the rasp to clean up the wall and begin to shape the hoof. We like to use the Bellota rasp which doesn’t have a real coarse file side.

On foot stand, use file side to begin clean up.

One thing we want to avoid are deep marks in the wall. Doing this work now also keeps us from having to worry about rasping around the clinches (or clips) after nailing the shoes on.

At this point we pull the shoes, using a crease nail puller to avoid any wall damage. After pulling the shoes be sure to clean the wall all the way to the end of the heels. It’s sometimes difficult to get to this area when the shoe is on.

 

After nailing, we bring the foot back to the stand and use the undercut before clinching to avoid marking the wall. Once we’ve clinched we lightly file the foot if needed. By using the undercut we can often bypass this step and go right to the sanding block. A good run with the sanding block should remove any file marks.

Our final step is to apply a sealant like the Diamond Hoof Defender. This can help with maintenance of the hoof. It only takes a minute and the customers appreciate the extra touch. Remember what they see when you’re finished.


This article is from The Natural Angle Volume 2, Issue 2 – 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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