The heart-bar horseshoe regained a foothold in farriery in the mid-1980s after Burney Chapman and Dr. George Platt reintroduced it for shoeing foundered and laminitic horses. When applied correctly, the heart bar has proven effective for various hoof-care issues. But it’s not a silver bullet for every pathology. So, when Jay Tovey only needs to engage half the frog, he turns to the half heart bar.
“Do I use them every day?” Tovey asks International Hoof-Care Summit — 2021 Virtual Clinic Series attendees rhetorically. “No, it’s not really my go-to shoe. It’s a useful shoe.”
Tovey’s “The Uses of the Half Heart-Bar Shoe” came about while preparing for the Worshipful Company of Farriers’ associates exam. International Horseshoeing Hall of Famer Jim Ferrie was the examiner and told students he wanted a full half heart-bar shoe to engage the full frog for a horse with a collapsed lateral heel.
“There was fear in that room,” recalls Tovey, who has since earned his fellowship with the Worshipful Company of Farriers. “People had prepared by making bar shoes, but there aren’t many people who have mad this type of shoe to put on a foot. It’s a hard shoer to make and even harder to fit.”
Controversy ensued as students were failing the exam because of the shoe. Complaints were lodged with the Worshipful Company of Farriers about its inclusion. It turns out that there was confusion about the shoe in many circles.
“The problem with some guys was they thought a half heart-bar shoe would be a partial frog support shoe and that was their definition for it,” he says. “If a full frog plate was needed, then actually the shoe of choice is the full heart-bar shoe.”
It prompted Tovey to look into the shoe further. First, the half heart-bar shoe must be defined.
“That’s easier said than done, to be honest with you,” he says. “I did a lot of research looking for definitions. Martin Deacon’s book ‘No Foot, No Horse’ [defines] it as a unilateral heel support shoe to assist in dispersing weight from an affected side.”
Gain more insight from Tovey on comparing and contrasting the half heart bar with the full heart bar, as well as the advantages, disadvantages and uses, watch his International Hoof-Care Summit — 2021 Virtual Clinic Series presentation “Uses of the Half Heart-Bar Shoe.”
If you’re not registered for the International Hoof-Care Summit — 2021 Virtual Clinic Series and would like to watch Tovey’s presentation or the 17 other informative Therapeutic Shoeing sessions in February, you can do so here. Each month, the IHCS will tackle a different hoof-care theme. Register today to access February’s sessions, as well as those that follow through September. In addition, you will be automatically signed up to attend live online panel discussions, as well as live question-and-answer sessions.