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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What is it Like Shoeing a Million Dollar Horse?

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Guest Blog by Rob Logsdon, FPD, Inc.

Lexington, Kentucky is largely considered the “Horse Capital of the World” because of the numerous horse farms, Keeneland Racecourse and Keeneland Association Thoroughbred Auctions. From September 10 to 23, Keeneland is hosting their September Yearling Sale, recognized as the top horse sale in the world. To date, the 2018 September Yearling Sale has sold 26 horses for $1,000,000 or more. The 2018 sale topper was a $2.4 million yearling shod by Brandon Coats, CJF for Hill ‘n’ Dale Sales Agency.

Sale yearlings awaiting Kerckhaert DR 15×7 shoes.

Brandon Coats, CJF fitting Kerckhaert Kings Plate.

I recently visited with Brandon and farrier Mick Maynard while they were working at Stonereath Stud. The yearlings they were shoeing with various Kerckhaert horseshoes (DR 15×7 and Kings Aluminum) are to be sold this weekend at the Keeneland sales. Brandon explained that the majority of his work is for breeding farms, specific to selling horses and that he typically begins when the yearlings are babies. The farrier is the first line of defense in regards to a horse’s conformation and for the first two months these babies are evaluated and trimmed every 8 to 14 days. After two months the farm manager, farrier and vet review the farrier’s notes and devise a plan for the horse.

When a horse is a yearling, their trimming schedule typically is extended to every three weeks until they are sold. The ultimate goal is to sell these yearlings for the highest price possible. There is a saying in Lexington, “breed the best to the best and hope for the best.” There is a lot of work, time and luck involved with these million-dollar babies. The farrier is instrumental and invaluable for these horses to reach their full potential in the sales arena.

Most of the yearlings sold are fitted with the Kerckhaert DR 15×7 steel shoes. The shape, fit and nail punching make this the preferred horseshoe for sale yearlings. The Kerckhaert Kings Plate Aluminum will be used if the yearling needs a lighter and wider web horseshoe.

Watch a video of Brandon Coats, CJF and Mick Maynard Getting Ready for Keeneland Yearling Sale on FPD’s Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/FarrierProductDistribution/videos/259740484678735/

To learn more about the Keeneland Sales, visit http://keeneland.com/sales.

Kerckhaert is the shoe of choice.

 

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Basic Shoeing: 12 Points of Reference for Evaluating Limb Balance

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By Dave Farley and Roy Bloom

We have developed a list of reference points that have helped us in evaluating limb balance and developing a plan for trimming the hoof to maintain or enhance the balance. The following list and images give a good overview of those points and will hopefully give you food for thought in your daily work.

 

 

10. From the same farrier’s position (FP) find the medial/lateral center of the frog (approximately 3/8” back from the point of the frog). Measure from that point to the widest part of the quarters, both medial and lateral and compare measurements.

 

12a. With hoof on the foot stand, sight over the coronary band to compare the shape of the hoof edge to the coronary band’s shape. A contour gauge can be very helpful in comparing coronary band shape to the toe.

12b. With hoof on the foot stand, sight over the coronary band to compare the shape of the hoof edge to the coronary band’s shape. A contour gauge can be very helpful in comparing coronary band shape to the toe.

The challenge you face in establishing good hoof and limb balance is lessened when you develop your overall perspective of the limb. These reference points are a good guide to help with that effort. It’s nearly impossible to accomplish your goal of achieving good balance when looking only at the hoof when in working position. We’ve found these points of reference to be invaluable in our everyday work. We look forward to going into more detail on the variations we see in these reference points in the video series and future articles.

This article is from The Natural Angle Volume 11, Issue 4 – written by Dave Farley, CF APF-I and Roy Bloom, CJF 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.


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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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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