One of the problems when a basic flat hospital plate is added to an open-heeled shoe is the gaping space between the heels where packing can escape (see photo below). If you expect the plate to be on for a short time, the easiest way to deal with this is t tape up the back of the foot with duct tape or Elasticon to keep the packing in. For longer-term use, other options may be explored.
If you need access to the frog or caudal area of the foot, a good solution is to turn up the rear of the plate.
From the back of the uncut plate, measure 1-inch forward and make a line. Set the shoe on the plate and, at the 1-inch line, mark the plate at the outside ends of the heels. Cut the corner pieces off and place the plate in the forge. Bring it up to temperate to bend, but not melt. Be sure to have tongs that are set to the correct width or use vise grips to hold the plate.
Gently bend the turn up, using the back edge of your anvil, bench vise or foot vise. If you use the anvil, be sure to wear hearing protection because bending the plate is deafening.
Make the bend to almost 90 degrees and let cool. Prepare the plate as you would a basic plate, making sure that the turn up is tight against the heels.
Another solution to the void at the rear of the shoe is using a pre-made bar shoe or welding a piece of stock between the heels.
Read more about hospital plates in the December issue of American Farriers Journal.
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