Indiana farrier Mark Oâ??Brien works with the horse owner and a vet to determine the best course of action for a club foot, as shown on one of his horses here.

Hoof-Care Email Q&A

Q: What percentage of the horses you provide hoof care for have club feet? How do you decide if a club foot can be “fixed” vs. one that can at best be managed?

A: I’d say only 1 to 2% of the horses I see have clubbed feet. Whether to fix them or not is between the owner and a veterinarian. The only involvement I have is recommending the owner talk to a vet to discuss options.

— Mark O’Brien, Indianapolis, Ind.

A: Less than 5% of the horses I shoe have club feet. For those that do, I just lower the heels on each trim.

— Mark Eberts, Deputy, Ind.

A: One horse I recently worked on had club feet, pinched heels and a 6-degree rotation. I called the vet and we informed the owner of our diagnosis, telling her it was a long, collective process.

We dropped the heels slowly, but also opened the heels to push them outward. It took 1 year to get the horse to where the angle stays, but it did work.

This horse also had a prolapsed foot on the opposite side. I raised the angle and brought the breakover back and the horse is fully functional now.

— Ken Alliet, Thamesville, Ontario

A: Probably 15% of the horses I shoe have club feet. I’ve never seen a club foot “fixed,” but more likely managed. I believe that young horses with club feet are more successfully managed when the check ligament is “cut”…

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