Keep The Horse Going
by Dave Farley

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Too often we are asked as farriers to shoe a horse that has an obvious problem but the trainer or owner insists that we don’t change much because the horse is doing well. That was the case with this horse . The crack was unloaded a couple of shoeings before by simply rasping (grooving) the wall about a half inch below the coronary. A groove like this should never be deep enough to reach sensitive tissue. I would have preferred to apply a heartbar shoe that was a size larger and also unload the wall behind the crack but was asked not to change the shoe. You can see that the crack is well below the coronary band now.

This is how I handled the foot in this shoeing. After the first cut, I measured the bottom of the foot using a handy brass “hoof balance” ruler made by farrierproducts™. Notice the foot is wider on the right side as you look at this picture. Also notice that the heels are still too high. They are folding forward, collapsing the bars and compromising the foot.

You can also see a flare on the medial side of the foot, (left side when looking at the foot from the front). This is the source of the extra width you see from the bottom. This flare is secondary to a conformation fault, in this case is an offset cannon bone (offset to the outside).

After the trim is finished notice the heels are back to the highest and widest area of the frog. You can also see the bruising and stretching of the white line in the toe area. This is always a sign to me that the toe length is creating undue stress in this area.

I widened the shoe and put a new leather rim pad on, with rivets in the heel area. The shoe and leather is soaked in water for a couple of minutes. The wet leather pad will allow the hoof wall to sink into the pad and secure it when clinched. The area of the pad just behind the clip is ground lower to allow the crack itself to be non-weight bearing.

Notice that the shoe and leather have been slightly backed up from the toe to address the stretched, bruised white line. I think the combination of the shoe fit and position and relief of the crack area will help keep this horse sound enough to continue through the show season.

This horse is a sound Show Hunter. He showed the entire winter season without missing a day. The trainer, rider and owners are happy with the results – meeting one of the goals I have in my everyday work. Keep in mind that you won’t always get to do exactly what you want with every shoeing job, but by working through it you can still improve the situation.

Lateral view of left front before shoeing.
Medial flare a result of
conformation problem.
Bottom of foot before trim
Checking medial/lateral balance.
Lateral view after trim.
Completed trim with heels
back to widest part of frog.
Checking fit.
One more look before nailing.
On to the next foot.

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