Evaluating conformation can be a tricky business, particularly when dealing with a slight imbalance.

Burnsville, N.C., farrier Jeff Pauley finds that a wedge pad and zeroing in on the fetlock works for him.

"I focus a lot on fetlocks," he says. "Are they leaning in or out? If you ever have a question, take a pad out of your truck and slide it under the foot. When the horse stands on it, if the fetlock centers itself and no longer leans, the horse stands comfortably and takes the weight off the other foot, that's the direction you want to go in."

It's critical that this is done before trimming the foot.

"If you trim the horse before evaluating the conformation, now you're out of room," Pauley says. "You have to put something back with plastic or whatever and that doesn't always do as well."

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