Hoof Trim has Varied Effects on the Equine Forelimb

Demonstrations and real-life examples challenge farriers to think about their approach to solving foot problems

Pictured Above: Wet lab demonstration of the functioning of the forelimb reciprocating apparatus.

Farrier Takeaways

  • Almost all tensional changes in the forelimb reciprocating apparatus are brought to bear through the caudal half of the system.
  • The farrier must not rely on frequency as a measure of normalcy. Common does not equate to normal.
  • The optimum hoof angle is whatever angle it takes to create tensional balance in the cranial vs. caudal halves of the forelimb reciprocating system.

Throughout this series, I have illustrated the concept of systems anatomy. Veterinary education and that of traditional farriers are based on regional anatomy, which studies regions and the anatomical components of each. The perspective of systems anatomy is that bodies are organized hierarchically, i.e. building up from small functional units (for example, cells or single tissues) to subsystems (for example, organs), which work together to make up a major system such as the nervous, circulatory or musculoskeletal system.

As I explained earlier in this series, I was not trained as a veterinarian, but as a biologist specializing in vertebrate paleontology. The anatomy training I received in graduate school was systems-oriented and it covered a much broader array of animals than are studied by any veterinarian, even one who intends to specialize in treating zoo animals, birds, or exotics.

In this article, I present a lab demonstration, a fun example of therapeutically useful horse-training, and several real-life examples meant to stimulate your thinking. When one part of the forelimb reciprocating apparatus is rendered nonfunctional…

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Dr deb bennett

Deb Bennett

Dr. Deb Bennett has studied classification, evolution, anatomy and biomechanics of the horse. She worked at the Smithsonian Institution, until founding the Equine Studies Institute. She is an author who has published four books on horse-related topics, in addition to articles in most major equine magazines in North America.

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