The Consequences of Bad Shoeing

Hoof-care errors often result in losing a client, but there can also be costs to horse owners, trainers and the horse

It’s time for all of us who shoe horses to take the time to ask ourselves an important question about how we do our job.

I shod horses for 41 years. The last 20 were spent as the resident farrier at Loomis Basin Equine Medical Center in Northern California. After retiring in 2004, I started a consulting practice working with veterinarians, owners and farriers to assist in treating lameness issues in horses.

The case that I am presenting is not unusual nor rare. That’s what prompted me to write about it. The issues that caused the injury to this horse very easily could have been prevented with proper shoeing.

I’m not talking about a degree or two of misalignment of the hoof/pastern axis, or a hoof that went 4 or 5 days past 6 weeks. I’m not talking about a shoe that was fit a little too tight.

I’m talking about a 1,400-pound American warmblood, with a natural pastern angle of 56 degrees that was trimmed to 50 degrees. I’m talking about a horse that, when trimmed to its proper angle, wears a No. 5 shoe, but was shod instead in a No. 3 shoe.

I decided to write this article because I want everyone who reads it to understand the ramifications of this shoeing.

The Case 

Figure 1. Location of the tear in the right front suspensory ligament.

The owner bought this gelding in January of 2011. She put the horse in training and started taking dressage lessons with…

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