Robin M. Dabareiner, a veterinarian at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, offered some advice on shoeing team roping horses during the Northeast Association of Equine Practitioners “Invitation of Excellence Symposium” held at Foxwood Resort in Connecticut during September.
Dabareiner, an experienced Western Performance rider, says she’s found heading horses are 20% more likely to be lame in the right front foot, while heeling horses are 15% more likely to be lame in the left front.
She noted that both heading and heeling horses need good traction to leave the box and quickly reach maximum speed. She said because sore feet are common in team roping horses, they also need good caudal heel support and ease of breakover.
“I like rim shoes on the front feet of team roping horses for the added traction,” she said, “But it’s important — especially with heading horses — to fit the inside of the left front branch close to the hoof wall or bevel the top of the medial branch of the left front foot. Another thing you could do is enhance the breakover on the lateral aspect of the left front foot.”
Stopping is especially important for heeling horses, she said, suggesting that the heels of shoes for the hinds be extended about 1/2 centimeter caudal to the widest part of the frog.
“This gives the hind limbs a springboard effect when they stop in the arena,” she said. “This seems to decrease the drop of the heels into the dirt and may reduce stress on the soft tissues and hocks.”