Wedged Heel Horse Shoe sideview

An example of a wedged heel shoe.

Considerations Before Raising the Hoof Angle with an Appliance

When discussing the issue with a veterinarian, explain the pros and cons of each method before addressing

Farrier Takeaways

  • Help veterinarians understand that as a farrier, you have a skill set and knowledge to apply a variety of solutions that each may accomplish the same hoof-care goal.
  • Don’t overlook the frequency of care of the low-angled foot.
  • Your management strategy can’t overlook the trim.

If you work with a veterinary practice, you may find cases in which the veterinarian wishes for higher hoof angles for the horses. If collaborating, the team may deal with caudal heel pain, navicular syndrome on a low-heeled horse or an injury to the deep digital flexor tendon, so raising the hoof angle can become an absolute necessity.

Reading through a few older textbooks, a popular veterinary conclusion was to simply request the farrier to apply a wedge pad or a pair of egg bars as a go-to solution. These are simple and have been proven to be effective. However, the qualifier to the effectiveness is “under certain circumstances.” No solution is a silver bullet in every case. If you’ve prescribed these enough, you’ve likely found that they not only don’t work for all horses, but sometimes result in disastrous consequences. Luckily for the equine practitioner today, recent research has focused not only on whether shoeing modalities raise the palmar angle of the coffin bone, but also on possible unintended consequences, giving us a broader picture to enable intelligent, educated shoe selection.

As farriers, we have a wide selection of tools available for raising hoof angles, from mild methods for the horse that…

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Heather beauchemin 0720

Heather Beauchemin

Heather Beauchemin, CJF (TE), has been shoeing horses full-time at MVP’s Farrier Service Inc. since 2014. She is also the American Farrier’s Association communication chair.

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