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During more than 30 years of horseshoeing, Martin Kenny has become convinced that traditional ways of looking at feet do not fit all horses.
“We haven’t developed a consistent standard for how and what we’re looking at,” he says. “We haven’t developed the ability to look at different sections of the hoof and to understand the role each section plays in the total picture.”
As he’s worked with more and more horses with “bad” feet, he’s come to believe that the problems are often due to stress factors caused by uneven loading. He admits the thought is hardly new, but believes his approach to dealing with it is.
He likes to show clients a diagram that shows “proper conformation and stance of the horse,” emphasizing the location of the hoof capsule and heel to the limb. He then points out that the diagram probably doesn’t look anything like the conformation and stance of the client’s horse. And in many such cases, Kenny believes what he calls a “goat on a rock” stance isn’t because the horse has bad conformation — it’s because the horse is consciously or unconsciously adjusting its stance to deal with hoof discomfort resulting from stress problems that are caused by uneven loading.
He says that the goal of what he calls his “symmetrical horseshoeing” is to bring the horse as near as possible to a proper stance.
Kenny maintains that when hooves are out of balance, stress makes horn tubules bend and grow…