Farriers' Roundtable

Q. How do you know which type of therapeutic shoe to use in any particular case? 

A: Are you dealing with a problem or a potential problem? Are there radiographic changes or undesirable angles seen on a radiograph? Either way, selecting the correct shoe for any application is a paramount part of shoeing. Your goal should be the same as your everyday shoeing — develop a plan. Gather as much accurate information as you need to make the most appropriate decision while still considering the obvious.

A horse living outside with mud up to its fetlock probably won’t keep on a lengthy bar shoe; but you might maintain similar support with a pad, pour or widening the branches of an open shoe. A horse that has thin or weak walls probably shouldn’t have a heavy shoe, but one made of aluminum may provide the same amount of ground surface or protection.

Getting a proper diagnosis is the key component to therapeutic shoeing. It is not uncommon that an impar or collateral ligament strain is misdiagnosed as a navicular bone or a coffin joint issue. A basic rule of thumb for selecting therapeutic shoes is as follows: in issues involving joint pain and/or associated attachments (coffin joint, fetlocks, stifles, hocks, etc.), concentrate on reducing leverage by logically increasing breakover. Be careful! You must still support the toe and pillars.

Ligament, soft tissue and/or conformation concerns (suspensory, impar or collateral ligament issues, DDFT, broken back axis, low heels, conformational challenges, etc.) need…

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