Farriers have differing means, steps, milestones and criteria by which the horseâ??s feet are evaluated before, during and after the trim and shoeing. While opinions and methods differ among horseshoers, the universal objective should be to preserve the horseâ??s best interest and maintain or achieve soundness as it pertains to that horse.

Understanding What You See Before, During and After

You can’t deliver hoof care without building a thorough and consistent system of evaluating horses’ feet

There is a joke that if you ask a group of 10 farriers about the right way to trim a foot, you’ll get 10 different answers.

There are dozens of variations to this joke, from the number of farriers, what they can’t agree on and how many responses you’ll get. And while there is some truth to this, as farriers can be equally varied and stalwart in their beliefs, there is something that often gets lost in this joke. Just because there is disagreement doesn’t mean any of those 10 farriers are wrong.

Evaluating the hoof is one of those topics that leads farriers into long conversations with differing opinions. But much like the joke, although they may disagree, diverse practices of evaluating the hoof still result in the same goal: sound horses.

Understanding what you are seeing with a foot — from when you get to the barn through when you watch the horse go back to the stall — guides a farrier in how to deliver hoof care. While this is a necessary duty with every horse you work with, it also can be incorrectly and insufficiently applied. Variations are part of the equation. You are dealing with animals with diverse conformation, duties, histories, that live in different conditions in different environments, among other variables. Not to mention the foot is at rest when you trim or apply a shoe, but it sees more influence by your work while in motion.

Develop Consistent Criteria

Bob Smith, owner of…

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Jeremy mcgovern

Jeremy McGovern

Jeremy McGovern has been a journalist for nearly 20 years. He has been a member of the American Farriers Journal staff for 7 years and serves as the Executive Editor/Publisher. A native of Indiana, he also is a member of the board of directors for the American Horse Publications organization of equine media.

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