Farriers' Roundtable

How do you correct a horse that’s pigeon-toed on the front end? How would you shoe that particular horse so after a certain amount of time, it will have an ideal position?

Q. How do you correct a horse that’s pigeon-toed on the front end? How would you shoe that particular horse so after a certain amount of time, it will have an ideal position?

A: This is a tough question to answer without seeing the horse. First, you must understand the growth plates of a horse and when they close:

  1. The coffin bone, P3, at birth.
  2. Short pastern bone, P2, at 3 months.
  3. Long pastern bone, P1, at 6 months.
  4. Cannon bone, M3, at 9 months.
  5. Tibia at 18 months.
  6. Radius at 24 months.
  7. Femur at 30 months.
  8. Humerus at 36 months.

There are various types of pigeon toes: base-narrow toed in, base-wide toed in, fetlock various toed in and bowed-legged toed in. When dealing with any of these categories pertaining to the correction of the pigeon-toed horse, you must do it within the time frame of the plates closing. Otherwise, all you are doing is stressing and destroying the joints of the horse. 

Within the first 6 months, the veterinarian and farrier need to work hand-in-hand on this problem. The growth plate that is out of balance is pie shaped, meaning one side grows faster than the other side. A veterinarian can scrape the slow side to help speed up the growth to match the other side, or staple the fast side to help slow it down.

The farrier must make sure the foot is flat and level — the toes are not run forward or the heels too high…

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