No Bells And Whistles, Just Keep It Simple

Kentucky farrier eases heel problems and keeps performance horses in the show ring

Pictured Above: Bobby Menker stresses the need to get the center of the hoof capsule underneath the center of the leg.

Shoeing performance horses don’t require bells and whistles. Quite the contrary, says Lexington, Ky., farrier Bobby Menker.

“Just keep it simple,” he told attendees at the Wisconsin Equine Clinic & Hospital in Ocon­omowoc, Wis. “We start at the coronary band and then try to build a base all the way down. This is what I like to build for.”

It’s the shoeing philosophy that he follows each day, regardless of the horse’s experience or value. Menker shared some cases involving heel problems during the mid-February clinic.

Farrier Takeaways

  • Consider whether the horse is sound and when it will compete before deciding to make significant changes to the foot.
  • Use caution when trimming sole. Using a wire brush to brighten the sole and conservative knife work will benefit the horse.
  • It’s important to relieve heel stack because it creates more pressure on the suspensory.
  • Providing a thumb’s width between the apex of the frog and the inside of the shoe’s toe is a good, general guide.

Heel Relief

Menker and his son Austin were intro­duced to a horse that is just weeks away from the All-American Quarter Horse Congress, which takes place much of October.

“There’s a lot of pressure going on in the back half of this left front foot (Figures 1a and 1b),” says the elder Menker, noting the horse had on rail shoes before Austin pulled…

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Jeff cota 2023

Jeff Cota

Jeff Cota has been a writer, photographer and editor with newspapers and magazines for 30 years. A native of Maine, he is the Lead Content Editor of American Farriers Journal.

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