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Paying special attention to the conformation of a horse’s foot is particularly important, maintains Susan Dyson, an equine veterinarian and the head of clinical orthopedics at the Animal Health Trust in Newmarket, England. The recent International Equine Veterinarians Hall Of Fame inductee says a horse with front feet that are not symmetrical is a prime candidate for having lameness problems. She says this can be somewhat controlled with breeding since foot asymmetry is hereditary to some extent. She says asymmetry in lame horses becomes more obvious with age and can lead to shorter athletic careers.
Because racing plates are designed to be fit cold, Joe Ludford says the weight of the shaping hammer you use is important. The veteran shoer from Baltimore, Md., says most farriers use a 2- or a 2 1/2-pound shaping hammer. “It is the weight of the hammer that should be used to perform the heavy work in shaping the racing plate and not your arm,” he says.
Ludford urges farriers to select a comfortable hammer weight and position the hands correctly on the handle. “For power strokes, the hand should be placed lower on the handle to get the full benefits of the hammer’s weight,” he says. “For finesse strikes, choke up on the handle for more control.”
Research conducted at Ontario’s University of Guelph indicates horses are actually calmer around stressed…