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Tackling High-Low Syndrome From The High Side

Pennsylvania farrier finds focusing on getting upright hoof under control first helps bring the feet into closer symmetry

Todd Allen believes aggressively addressing the high foot is the key to bringing high-low feet more into alignment. This horse’s feet are coming closer to matching following their third shoeing cycle.

Anyone who shoes has to deal with plenty of horses that have high-low syndrome feet. Some have it only in front; many have it on the opposite hinds. I will try to simply explain the reasons I believe they have it, along with what can be done to alleviate it.

To begin, high-low syndrome (HLS) is when we have one hoof that generally runs at a much lower angle than the opposite, higher-angled hoof. The angle of the toe and heel is much lower than the angle of the toe and the heel of the more upright hoof.

We must understand that this syndrome will be present in many variants or forms. We must also remember that the hoof capsule will distort on either type of hoof, so it is imperative to realize the position of the underlying bones and what is, or could be taking place with the soft tissues within the lower leg. The most obvious issues to note are:

  1. The angle and position of the coffin bone of the upright hoof.
  2. The difference of the angles of each pastern.
  3. The function of the deep and superficial flexor tendons and their effect on the three lower phalanges.
  4. Know that the deep and superficial tendons attach to the corresponding muscles above.
  5. Know that bones remodel, hoof capsules constantly…
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