Heart Bar Vs. Z-Bar: All Shoes Are Not Created Equal

Both are used in treating hoof avulsions, but an Iowa shoeing veteran says they don’t deliver the same benefits

The heart bar shoe, left, and the Z-bar shoe are often used to treat avulsions. But the heart bar will deliver more of the benefits that the horse actually needs.

Unfortunately, there are times when horses get hurt and farriers are called upon to aid them.

The type and severity of the injury will dictate whether we are providing service for a rehabilitation period — or for the duration of the horse’s life.

At some point in our careers, most of us will be presented with a hoof avulsion. We’re asked to help a horse that has damaged a heel or may even have a large portion of a foot missing. In such a case, what should we do and why?

Shoes For A Goal

When presented with an avulsion, we first think about disengaging the area or floating that portion of the foot. Often the Z-bar shoe comes to mind.

But let’s take a moment to stop and think about the Z-bar shoe. Consider what it does and what it does not do for the horse.


A horse with a hoof avulsion. A large chunk of the foot is gone and the area needs protection and flotation.

With an avulsion, the horse is missing a part of the foot that it should have — and would have, if the injury hadn’t happened.

It is important to cover this injured and missing area with a shoe for support and protection. This is when a heart bar shoe should come…

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