Farriers can play an important role in the rehabilitation of injured horses — even when that injury is located far above the hoof and foot of the horse.
Julie Bullock, an equine veterinarian from Mt. Sidney, Va., says that the veterinarian-farrier team is important because rehab for any kind of injury usually requires the farrier to help with the necessary trimming and shoeing prescription.
"There is no specific recipe for how these things need to be done. They must be figured out on a case-by-case basis. Even hoof injuries such as avulsions often need something like a bar shoe or heart bar shoe," she says.
"Superficial and deep flexor tendon lacerations are examples in which the shoe needs to be jacked up, and this is where farriers make a huge difference," says Bullock. "Their ability to work with metal to make specific shoes for that individual horse can greatly enhance the rehabilitation. You have to be able to do something with the foot to help protect the soft tissues higher up."
We'll have more on the topic of the farrier's role in rehabilitating traumantic injuries in the September/October issue of American Farriers Journal.