When a horse that suffers an acute soft tissue injury is prescribed stall rest, some farriers and veterinarians alike question the need for shoes. Should farriers shoe a horse that’s on stall rest?
“Why not?” Steve Sermersheim asked attendees at the 12th annual International Hoof-Care Summit in Cincinnati, Ohio. “It’s just good, preventative care for when they come out.”
As many farriers and vets know, owners don’t always follow the advice and prescriptions they are given — particularly when the horse is getting antsy in the stall.
“I’ll tell you what, if a horse needs to be on 2 weeks stall rest, its owners will be dying to get them out,” says Sermersheim, the owner and director of Midwest Horseshoeing School in Divernon, Ill. “They might just get him out to clean the stall. Then what does the horse do? It’s down the hallway and out the door. Have that shoe on there just in case.”
Owners often misread how healthy the horse really is. In the late stages, the injury is repairing and remodeling. When soft tissue remodels, he says, it doesn’t have as much elasticity.
“Some people think the soft tissue must be stronger,” Sermersheim says. “It might be stronger in that area, but right above it or below it is as weak or weaker. If it doesn’t stretch, another tear can be caused right above it or below it.”
He suggests making sure that you protect and aid the injury for what will surely come.
“We really have to pay attention at this phase, because this is when they’re going to start hand walking them,” Sermersheim says. “Guess what happens when an owner hand walks their horse? It’s gone. Or, the owner thinks, well, it’s sound. We’ll just longe him a little bit to get the energy off it because it’s kicking the stall down.”
Read more tips about shoeing soft tissue injuries by picking up the March issue of American Farriers Journal.
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