Farriers' Rountable

Q: What’s the best way to improve heel angles?

A: It would depend on the general condition of the foot and whether we’re talking about a specific, abnormal condition like underrun heels or a club foot.

In general, I’d start by making sure the foot was trimmed properly. I’d take the foot to the stand and back up the toe so the foot goes under the bony column the way it’s supposed to.

But if we’re talking about underrun heels, I would cut off the heel. I wouldn’t use a wedge pad in a case like this. It would just crush the heel, and then we’d be back where we started.

If I look at the foot and see that we need to build a heel, I’d use an epoxy like Super Fast mixed with fiberglass and apply it to the heel. I’ve seen that work really well, and it promotes hoof growth.

In cases of long pasterns and low-angle feet, where the foot is in front of the bony column, usually nothing can be done.

Every horse is different, so you really have to take a close look at each case. Most of the time, it comes down to basic trimming, creating balance and form to fit function. You want to get the angle of the foot so that the weight of the horse is on the hoof capsule. That will lead to a good, healthy foot.

—Greg Burdette, Enumclaw, Wash.

A: It depends on whether the horse has…

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