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Farriers can greatly enhance their value to their clients by learning to read shoe wear and how to differentiate between gait faults that are due to conformation defects, and those that might be related to a lameness issue.
Sometimes a horse may be a little lame or slightly off in his gait, or sore, especially after being ridden. The rider wonders whether it’s a structural lameness — pain caused by a problem in a foot or leg — or due to saddle fit, rider balance or other factors. This can often be a difficult issue to figure out — and the first person likely to be asked about it is the farrier.
Paul Goodness, the senior member of Forging Ahead, a group-farriery practice based in Round Hill, Va., says horse owners will often ask a farrier to take a look at the horse to see if there is a foot issue.
“The horse may not seem quite right or may be a little off in his usual performance, or may even be a little lame, and the horseman wants the farrier to help sort through this,” says Goodness.
Goodness says it’s important to stick to farriery and pass the case on to a veterinarian when that is appropriate, but adds there are certain things that a farrier…