Farriers' Roundtable

Q: When dealing with a flat-footed horse, is it advisable to pare out sole to give the foot some cup? What are the possible negative consequences from doing that?

—Iowa farrier

A: I feel dealing with horses who have no depth in the soles of their hooves is a shoeing, not a trimming situation.

Many — though not all — of this type of horse are big animals to begin with, having a wide and flat type of hoof that needs all the sole protection (thickness) that they can get.

Paring out more sole to “create more cup” in the bottom of this type of hoof thins the sole the horse has — or had — and can have disastrous consequences.

In these situations, I prefer to help the horse with shoes. A wide and thick shoe with plenty of sole relief can do wonders for those tender feet. A horseshoer can get that sole relief by forging it out of the hoof surface of the shoe. You can also do a nice job with the small wheel on a Multi-Tool belt sander.

The key is to be very aware of how the shoe meets the hoof at the inner perimeter of the branches, especially from the heel nail forward around to the opposite heel nail.

Another type of flat-footed horse is the one who just hasn’t had any sole at all trimmed out over a long period of time. You can easily recognize the difference between these two types…

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