Advertise Follow Us
The heart-bar shoe is arguably one of the most used and recognized therapeutic shoes used in modern farriery. The late Burney Chapman popularized the use of the heart bar. The Lubbock, Texas, farrier reintroduced the shoe to the farrier industry, most notably at the 1984 American Association of Equine Practitioners Convention with fellow legend Dr. George Platt. The shoe is not a modern concept, but has been used for over 100 years, although the functions of the shoe may be different than it was back then. One of the first written accounts of the shoe is in Dollar and Wheatley’s Handbook of Horseshoeing in 1898 (Figure 1 top of page).
Since then, many excellent machine-made shoes are available to all farriers regardless of forging skills. Simply put, the heart-bar shoe can be made with a single piece of bar stock or purchased from the rack at a supply shop (Figure 2).
Example of frog plate inserts.
Today, the heart bar is used in a variety of ways for both the treatment of foot pathologies and to aid in sport on penetrable surfaces. But like any shoeing solution, the shoe should never be used without knowledge of anatomy and physiology. My goal in writing this isn’t to provide instruction for use. Instead, my goal is to identify some considerations and challenges encountered by the farrier when using this specific device. The use of a heart-bar shoe is not a simple application and should only be used by a farrier…