Your Number 1 Job: Balance the Horse

Forget the bells and whistles and concentrate on trimming the foot appropriately

When scrolling through his social media timeline, Jim Quick can’t help but notice the increasing reliance on gadgets and gimmicks in hoof care. The result is farriers are unnecessarily complicating horseshoeing and straying from their most important job — balancing the horse.

“I have a fair number of lame horses that are brought to my shop a week after they’ve been shod,” says the Niwot, Colo., farrier. “Most of them have bells and whistles on their feet. When I tear all of that off, I find that the horse is out of balance. Nine out of 10 of these horses can be balanced and shod with a plain set of horseshoes and they leave a lot sounder than when they arrived. Farriers would do well to keep it simple and stick to the basics.”

Reflecting on his introduction to farriery, Quick remembers how easy it is to lose focus of the importance of the basics.

Farrier Takeaways

  • When removing flares and distortion from the hoof wall, Jim Quick tries to match the projection of the coronary band and make a straight line.
  • The widest part of the foot is not necessarily perpendicular to the
    centerline of the foot; however, it’s always perpendicular to the
    horse’s spine.
  • Pushing mismatched quarters to fit a symmetrical shoe might look good in the short-term, but it will lead to an unbalanced foot, an ill-fitting shoe and potentially an uncomfortable horse at the end of a 6-week shoeing cycle.

“When I first saw how to…

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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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