Shoeing Collateral Ligament Injuries

Reducing tension on the injured soft tissue is vital in rehabilitation

Shane Westman rarely sees healthy feet anymore, and he wouldn’t have it any other way.

It’s been 2 years since the Bow, Wash., native joined the William R. Pritchard Veterinary Teaching Hospital on the University of California, Davis campus, and his enthusiasm for helping horses has never been higher. Maribelle’s case is a good example.

Lameness Evaluation

The 11-year-old Haflinger mare was presented to veterinarians at the UC Davis Equine Surgery and Lameness Service on Nov. 21, 2017, for a lameness evaluation. Maribelle became acutely lame after a 3-hour hilly trail ride 5½ weeks earlier.

Farrier Takeaways

  • The height of the heels and the dorsal length should be the same foot to foot, which provides a starting point when a farrier is faced with distorted feet.
  • Putting load under the medial aspect of the foot and reducing the lateral lever arm will reduce tension of the medial collateral ligament.
  • An asymmetrical shoe with a wider medial branch and a beveled outside branch will help achieve the reduction of tension on the medial collateral ligament.

During the initial lameness exam, the mare’s left front was graded as a 2-out-of-5 on the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) lameness scale and 3-out-of-5 on a circle. She was worse to the left than the right.

Like humans, all horses react or compensate for lameness differently.

“Experienced riders may detect minor alterations in gait before they are apparent to an observer,” according to the AAEP. “Lameness may appear as a subtle shortening of the…

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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 editor of American Farriers Journal.

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