In the sport horse world, certainly at higher levels, problems with the suspensory apparatus have grown. Through his conversations with equine veterinarians, farrier Dave Farley says that they estimate about 80% of the sport horse lameness issues they encounter are somehow related to the suspensory.
“Everyone wants one shoe to help or fix horses with a suspensory problem to get it through to the next week and beyond,” he says. “The problem is that there is no education or real baseline on this shoe.”
Farley says that lack of understanding forces the farrier to go by the veterinary diagnosis and prescription, which may be determined from a limited knowledge of what’s available based on an anecdotal experience. This may result in a farrier forging a suspensory shoe that is inappropriate for the horse. For example, horses that have a longer hoof pastern axis can have difficulty with a suspensory shoe that is heavier in the toe.
“Bottom line: be careful in making these shoes too heavy,”…