Farrier Discussion of High-Low Syndrome

Farriers share insight on high-low horses by looking at a case prior to trimming.


Horses presenting high-low syndrome is a common management issue for farriers. And as with other challenges in farriery, there is no one-size-fits-all solution in addressing the problem. Particularly with this syndrome, there are many variants or forms, and the farrier must also factor in many other variables beyond what is presented in the feet to improve the outcome for the horse.

In a roundtable discussion at the 2019 Northeast Association of Equine Practitioners Symposium in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., a group of farriers discussed mismatched feet. By looking at a single case, each shared thoughts on addressing the issue.

Basic Principles of Farriery Must be Addressed

Moderating this discussion, Stuart Muir, a farrier at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Ky., presented a recent mild case of high-low syndrome. Figures 1a-1g show the case through images and radiographs before he addressed anything with the feet. The horse was a 17-year-old crossbreed without any information on when it was last shod or notes from the previous farrier. No lameness was reported or observed.

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In terms of encountering a horse like this for the first time, Wellington, Fla., farrier Curtis Burns advocates a conservative approach.

“With the right front, I will try to clean it up and back it up a bit and see if it can start to develop more heel,” he says. “I would also consider the mechanics. The goal is a good, tidy shoeing and see where we go. I don’t want to be aggressive the first time around…

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Jeremy mcgovern

Jeremy McGovern

Jeremy McGovern has been a journalist for nearly 20 years. He has been a member of the American Farriers Journal staff for 7 years and serves as the Executive Editor/Publisher. A native of Indiana, he also is a member of the board of directors for the American Horse Publications organization of equine media.

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