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[RC] pulled shoe - Ridecamp Guest

Please Reply to: ti tivers@xxxxxxx or ridecamp@xxxxxxxxxxxxx

A few questions I'd thought I'd ask since we're on the topic:

How exactly does a shoer incorporate the angles and toe lengths of a particular 
horse into his shoeing technique for that horse? Are X-rays necessary to 
measure the angle and toe length?

I'm a relative newbie and my horse has a bit of a clubby foot so the difference 
in angles of the front feet noticeably affects his way of going. I imagine that 
careful shoeing is important in maintaining soundness over miles and miles of 



The club foot on this horse probably indicates a lameness that is undiagnosed 
and untreated in that leg--the horse isn't using it. Sounds like a horse that 
cowgirl ed might have shod.

With a given healthy horse, it is probably a good idea to start with hoof 
xrays--but not absolutely necessary. Ideally, you want the horse to carry the 
same angles and toe lengths in both front feet and in both back feet. Front 
angles should probably be between 52 and 54 degrees with toe lengths somewhere 
in the neighborhood of a little over 3 inches. But you're shoeing for efficient 
gait with no interference--so these numbers are somewhat flexible in moving 
toward that goal.

The basic gameplan is to grow as much hoof mass as you can while keeping the 
hoof balanced--front to back and laterally. In general, the hoof will grow to 
where you put the shoe--shoe full and the feet will gain mass; shoe short and 
the feet will lose mass. Most horses are short-shod for the convenience of the 
farrier--a too small shoe is put on and then the hoof is rasped down to fit 
it--"horseing the shoe".

A large percentage of lamenesses originate in poor shoeing and are actually 
located, first, in the feet. If you shoe too long and low, you're going to have 
heel and quarter problems. If you shoe too high and short, you'll have toe 
problems. If the hoof is unbalanced laterally, another half dozen problems show 
up, including injuries higher up the leg.

By building hoof mass you're not only giving the horse proper support and 
stressor resistance, but also giving a good farrier an opportunity to work with 
something when it comes to balancing the horse's gait.

The very best shoers are those who shoe Standardbred trotters, where a balanced 
gait is "everything". The very worst shoers are those with one shoeing religion 
or another who, like cowgirl ed, make the same mistakes time after time after 
time--and who can talk for hours about their theories but cannot get your horse 
properly balanced.

Virtually every shoer you meet will have something nasty to say about the last 
guy who shod your horse. That is, they are professional liars. Find a farrier 
who pays a lot of attention to the way a horse moves, one who takes and records 
accurate measurements, and doesn't horse the shoe to make his work look 
pretty--and doesn't really have a lot of time for chatter. Finding one who will 
work with a talented veterinarian is even better--but the vet had better know 
what he's talking about or you'll have two fools at work wrecking your horse.

Again, Get Rooney's The Lame Horse. Once you've fully digested that, move on to 
the BIG BOOK--Stashak's (Adams') Lameness in Horses. When you've digested both 
books, you'll know something--something you are responsible for knowing.


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