A fullered horseshoe with a frog plate made from 1 x ½-inch metal featured in Dollar and Wheatley’s Handbook of Horseshoeing in 1898.

Applying the Heart-Bar Horseshoe

Therapeutic shoe can be a helpful solution in certain hoof-care cases, but a detriment if incorrectly applied

Farrier Takeaways

  • The heart-bar shoe should only be used by a farrier who understands its design, relationship to the mechanics of the foot and has had experience using it.
  • The farrier must possess the skills to properly trim the foot when undertaking an application such as the heart bar.
  • The general heart-bar shoe design mimics the solar surface of the foot, adding extra support to the digital apparatus and helps prevent the foot from collapsing, establishing a more stable platform and adding an option to transfer loading from a damaged structure, such as a quarter crack to the frog for a period of time.

The heart-bar shoe is arguably one of the most used and recognized therapeutic shoes 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).

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Example of frog plate inserts.

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…

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Wayne Preece

Wayne Preece has been a farrier for 3 decades and is a fellow of the Worshipful Company of Farriers.

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