When you sight a front foot for conformational purposes, how do you pick it up?
“This is one of my many pet peeves,” Mark Silverman told attendees at the Northeast Association of Equine Practitioners Symposium last month in Norfolk, Va. “I don’t know how some people have the ability to pull a leg to the side and sight it with the precision that we need. It provides little insight into the conformation of the horse’s joints.”
Many hoof-care practitioners actually are putting the leg in a place that’s more comfortable for them, rather than the horse.
“By pulling it out to the side, I’m stressing the joints, putting tension on the soft tissues — I’m realigning everything,” says the farrier and equine veterinarian at Sporthorse Veterinary Services in San Marcos, Calif. “I need to put the leg where it needs to be comfortable.”
So how should a hoof-care professional sight in a front limb?
“When I sight a leg, and everyone has their own interpretation of this, I bend over and stick my head in the horse’s armpit,” Silverman says. “I get my head down as the leg flows through its the range of motion.”
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Mark Silverman, a farrier and equine veterinarian at Sporthorse Veterinary Services in San Marcos, Calif., places his head in the horse’s armpit when sighting in the front feet. This method offers a hoof-care practitioner a more accurate ability to assess conformation.