Effects of Wedges and Mechanical Support on the Sole and Frog

Summary of three shoeing modalities by farrier remind that many variables influence a farrier’s approach to trimming and shoeing

Tab Pigg isn’t shy to say he’s impressed by a study by a fellow farrier. The Azle, Texas, farrier and Vettec clinician found the work by Jason Maki, Texas A&M University’s resident farrier, so beneficial to how he thinks about his own work that he presented a condensed version of Maki’s study at the 2013 International Hoof-Care Summit.

Although the time allotted didn’t provide Pigg with enough time to thoroughly detail Maki’s observations, the documentation should provide food for thought to other farriers.

The study involves a horse presented to Maki with a broken back hoof-pastern axis (HPA) (Figures 1 and 2). The starting alignment was 22 degrees at the short pastern, 158 degrees at the coffin bone. Farriers have many tools at their disposal to address this, including wedged heels, bar wedges and heart bar shoe with a wedge.

In this case, Maki used a 3-degree wedge, which changed the alignment to 12 degrees and 108 degrees at the coffin bone (Figures 3 and 4).

While these effects likely aren’t surprising for most horseshoers, Maki’s posterior documentation of the foot following application is a fresh perspective some farriers may not have considered. After finishing the foot (Figure 5), the frog is parallel to the level of the wedge. Three minutes later, the frog begins to descend below that level (Figure 6). Maki continued to document the descent in intervals at every 3 minutes until 15 minutes (Figure 7).

“For about 15 to 20…

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Jeremy mcgovern

Jeremy McGovern

Jeremy McGovern is the former Executive Editor/Publisher. A native of Indiana, he also is president of American Horse Publications.

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