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How to Make an Open Toe Heart-Bar Shoe

Ohio farrier-veterinarian offers an option to support an acutely lame horse

Farriers have a variety of shoeing options to consider when providing mechanical support to an acutely lame horse. Depending on the horse’s specific circumstances and the farrier’s particular skill set, a hand-forged heart-bar shoe or modified keg shoe may offer a solution. Ohio certified journeyman farrier and equine veterinarian Adam Pendleton has found open toe heart-bar shoes can be a useful application in certain cases.

One scenario in which Pendleton would use the application is with a low-heeled horse where the heels are collapsed and run forward heel.

Pendleton offered a step-by-step demonstration of how to make an open toe heart-bar shoe for acute laminitis using a cadaver limb when he welcomed the Mid-Eastern Farriers Association to his new practice, HandforgedVet Equine Clinic, in Marblehead, Ohio.

“The heels are rolled under and both bars are fractured as well. This would not surprise me if it had some caudal heel pain,” Pendleton says of the cadaver. “Given the heel conformation this would be a good candidate for an open toe shoe.”

This demonstration is geared toward building a plastic W shoe from a farrier’s perspective. For the scope of this article, there are medical and mechanical considerations that won’t be discussed but are not being ignored.


Step-By-Step

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Kristen Kubisiak

Kristen Kubisiak has been a writer and photographer with newspapers and magazines for 15 years. A native of Wisconsin, she is the Managing Editor of American Farriers Journal.

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