Some common problems of the hind limb involve the foot and fall in the realm of farriery. In this age of specialization, some of these problems are breed or discipline specific.One common issue is forging.

Forging occurs when the hind foot comes forward and makes contact with the bottom of a front shoe, making a distinctive click of metal on metal; hence the term forging. 

The number one cause of forging I see is low heels and a long toe in both the front and hind feet. This is easily corrected by standing the horse up, adding heel support and blunting the toes of the shoes on the rear feet and setting them back. 

Every good shoeing job starts with well-prepared feet. In my opinion, that means a trim where the wings of the coffin bone are horizontal to the ground and the pitch of the distal edge of the coffin bone is 3 to 7 degrees from the horizontal, depending on the conformation of the individual horse.

You can only be absolutely certain of this with radiographs. This is a procedure that is rarely done with hind feet. I am constantly amazed at the number of negative palmar angles I have seen in radiographs of hind feet that outwardly looked ideal. 

Another cause is “Lazy Rider” syndrome. Complacent riders often cause a horse to forge by allowing it to “go to sleep” while being ridden. A rider who keeps the horse engaged and moving forward can help solve the problem. 

Read more about more common issues with the hinds in the January/February 2014 edition of American Farriers Journal.