Stumbling — Not Always An Easy Fix

Most of the time, it’s not even a shoeing problem

Most of the time, it’s not even a shoeing problem

Farriers often hear clients say, “My horse stumbled, so my trainer said to tell you to rocker the toes.”

Unfortunately, many trainers and horse owners are convinced a rolled or rocker toe is all that is needed to correct stumbling. However, the “just speed up the breakover and the horse will stop stumbling” response may cause you to overlook potential problems.

Don’t accept the requested treatment until you identify the cause. Once you say, “Sure I’ll rocker the toes,” the trainer or owner attaches the responsibility to you for correcting the problem.

If the horse continues to stumble, the client will assume the stumbling is a result of your inability to properly build and apply a rocker-toe shoe. As a result, you’ll lose a bit of your reputation and probably a client.

If the horse’s feet are dressed correctly, trimmed to the proper angles and length, shod with the appropriate shoe and the horse still stumbles, rockering the toe will do little to nothing to prevent stumbling.

Before you accept responsibility for fixing stumbling with a rocker toe, you need to evaluate the cause. Following are some examples of causes that should be considered prior to any shoeing modification for stumbling.

So, the next time your client’s trainer tells you that the horse stumbled because it didn’t have rocker toes, check out all of the possibilities described here before deciding that a quick fix is the answer.

Bob Smith…

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Bob Smith

Bob Smith is a Hall Of Fame farrier and owner of the Pacific Coast Horseshoeing School in Plymouth, Calif.

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