Ian McKinlay

Softening The Blow

Ian McKinlay’s unusual shoe-rim pad combination targets problem of heel concussion


Ian McKinlay says heel concussion is one of the biggest and toughest problems he’s faced in his career as a racetrack blacksmith.

During his career as a racetrack blacksmith, Ian McKinlay of South Amboy, N.J., had little doubt of what was his biggest enemy — concussion; particularly heel concussion.

“I’ve seen it and I’m not the only one,” says McKinlay, whose primary focus is dealing with lameness issues at racetracks throughout New Jersey and New York. “When you have footsore horses, the back third of the hoof is the problem with 85% of them.”

McKinlay says heel concussion can lead to very serious hoof problems.

“A horse starts getting sore heels and he changes his gait. Eventually, he develops an abscess in the sole. It can work its way up to the coronary band, then blows out the whole heel.”

Beginning Of An Idea

About 4 years ago, McKinlay dealt with a particularly troublesome case.

“I had a horse called Redskin Warrior,” he says. “He was a 2-year-old and his owner was hoping to get him into the Kentucky Derby. But his feet bugged him.”

Time was of the essence, so resting the horse to let his feet recover was not an option.

McKinlay first tried glue-on shoes. The horse did fine for 5 days, but eventually the problems returned.

Ian McKinlay

Ian McKinlay demonstrates how the heels of his Yasha Shoe flex to absorb concussion at the Tenderhoof Solutions booth at the 2008 International Hoof-Care Summit in Cincinnati, Ohio.

“It was…

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Pat_tearney

Pat Tearney

Pat Tearney is a long-term newspaper and magazine veteran writer and editor. Before retiring, he served for a number of years on the American Farriers Journal staff and continues to share his writing talents with our readers.

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