Can a Conformational Deformity be Corrected or Maintained?

The answer lies in whether the conformational problem will return or worsen if regular farrier visits end

Pictured Above: When a farrier is asked whether a foot-related problem can be corrected, often a better question is, would the problem return or worsen when the farrier stopped regular visits?

Farrier Takeaways

  • It’s important for farriers to recognize the conformational limits that a horse might have and explain the realistic expectations its owner should have as to the horse’s level of performance.
  • A farrier should diplomatically set expectations with the client on the level of regular hoof care when taking on a new client.
  • It’s important for farriers to explain to their hoof-care clients that a longer foot can increase stress and strain on a horse and limit its performance, as well as the owner’s investment.

Do we correct or maintain a conformational deformity? Farriers do a little of both, depending on the age of the horse. As part of the correction process, a problem continues and needs to be maintained. Farriers develop the practical skill to manage conformational problems. They also have to develop the skill to communicate and explain what they are doing for the best chance of success.

What is the difference between correction and maintenance? We define correction as the amount of influence of what we can and cannot correct as farriers before the horse’s growth plates close.

Farriers have more influence on conformation and bone structure before this point.

After the growth plates close, farriers manage and maintain conformational deformities to help and keep a horse comfortable through regular hoof care.

Often farriers are…

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Jacob Butler CJF, AWCF

Jacob Butler is a certified journeyman farrier and an associate of the Worshipful Company of Farriers. He is the Director and an instructor at Butler Professional Farrier School LLC, located near Chadron, Neb. For more information, visit his website, call (308) 665-1510 or email at

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