OUT OF BALANCE. This is the right front foot of a Morgan horse that Gordon Haight started shoeing early last summer. The horse was badly out of balance and the farrier embarked on a gradual program to correct those issues. Note the sheared heels and how non-symmetrical the foot is. THE OTHER SIDE. The left front foot of the horse was not as badly out of balance as the right, but was slightly non-symmetrical and the heels were somewhat sheared.
Hoof growth is directly related to stimulation of the blood supply through concussion and movement. A properly balanced hoof that strikes the ground flat will maintain a balanced state with adequate growth and flexibility to stay healthy and strong. Conversely, a hoof that is not balanced will be exceptionally strong in the area of stimulation from concussion, and weak, or of poor strength in the area of little or no stimulation.
Because of this the hoof will grow unevenly, resulting in distortions such as flares, dishes, weak underrun heels and jammed or sheared heels. If the foot is out of balance and does not hit the ground flat, it will continue to grow out of balance as long as there is a shoe to prevent the foot from wearing itself back into balance. Once you have balanced the foot, it may take several shoeings to finally reach a point where the hoof capsule will be equally stimulated to be able to maintain that balanced state.
As long as…