Dealing With A Laminitic, Low-Heeled, Long-Toed, Flat-Soled Horse

Q: I have a horse I’ve worked on for some time who has shelly walls, no heel, a long toe, dead-flat soles and chronic laminitis. I’ve tried several things, including a Myron McLane full support pad, which didn’t seem to work due to the amount of frog pressure.

What I finally settled on was a 3-degree bar wedge pad used with a Natural Balance shoe for the wide web along with a rolled toe to move the toe back. It seemed to do the job and kept things in check. The owner called 6 months ago and said her vet wanted to use his farrier to try something different. This turned out to be trying to move the foot up to the next shoe size.

I got a call a couple days ago and she wants me to shoe her horse again. The horse’s feet are a total mess and now have flares. She said the new farrier couldn’t get the nails to hold.

I’m considering using a 3-degree bar wedge on a wide web shoe (St. Croix Xtra EZ with a rocker or an Eventer shoe). Will this work?

—Jim Goede

A: Horseshoes do not hold a hoof together, but good nutrition does. So, I’d try to find out what and how this horse is being fed, including any pasture.

Since I suspect the horse is on a high-carbohydrate diet, try to get the owner to switch to a low-carbohydrate diet to avoid fighting a losing battle. A product…

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