Step-By-Step System for Using Radiographs to Affect Shoeing

Presented at the 2018 Northeast Association of Equine Practitioners Seminar, Stefan Wehrli shares his protocol for transferring what he sees in X-rays to his shoeing

As a farrier, how do you utilize the information delivered from a radiograph? How does the position of the coffin bone guide your decision? No doubt, radiographs are helpful tools for farriers to develop a shoeing strategy — if used correctly. (Read the article on common radiograph mistakes.)

Swiss farrier Stefan Wehrli finds radiographs to be an essential tool when evaluating a horse. During the 2018 Northeast Association of Equine Practitioners Symposium in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., Wehrli explained his system for evaluation of the horse (A Thorough Plan for Evaluating Each Horse,”).

Wehrli uses radiographs to aid in his shoeing of performance horse. With the emphasis on performance and therapeutic work, the tool is essential for his practice. Wehrli uses the guidelines illustrated in Figure 1 (above). While some may disagree with the exact criteria, he finds it is important to have a protocol to follow:


aily radiographs are not realistic for most farriers. Read Stefan Wehrli’s method for finding the position of the coffin bone without an X-ray at americanfarriers.com/0319

  • Dorsal-palmar hoof balance (red). A 50/50 split intersected by the center of rotation.
  • Breakover (purple). The point of break-over under the tip of the coffin bone.
  • Palmar/plantar angles (green). Should always be positive.
  • Heels (yellow left). Rasped back to the widest part of the frog.
  • Sole depth (blue). At least the same width as the horn-laminae zone.
  • Medial-lateral balance (yellow right). Joint spacing is the same on medial and lateral sides.

This article showcases how…

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Jeremy mcgovern

Jeremy McGovern

Jeremy McGovern is the former Executive Editor/Publisher. A native of Indiana, he also is president of American Horse Publications.

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