Farriers' Roundtable

Q: Would a flexible frog pad be as good as a heart bar shoe for treating founder? Why or why not?

A: No. My first choice for a founder case would be a rigid heart bar with a hoof pack soft pour from the point of the heart bar to the rear of the shoe.

I think the heart bar stabilizes the coffin bone inside the hoof capsule and minimizes the micro movement that pulls the laminae apart and crushes the tiny vascular vessels between the coffin bone and the sole.

The argument can be made for the flexible frog pad that when the horse lays down, the pressure is released. But when he stands up, more pressure may be applied than desirable, causing coffin bone movement.

I am all for experimenting, but on this one, my first choice is a rigid heart bar.

— Red Renchin, Mequon, Wis.

A: Whether a flexible frog pad would be as good as a heart bar shoe for treating founder is a really tough question that is not easily answered. It may very well depend on each horse and its condition, environment and progress or level of unsoundness.

Through the years, the heart bar shoe has certainly been an asset for many horses, but like anything else, it does not work for every case. It often has failed from poor mechanics or workmanship, but mainly from a lack of understanding of internal damage.

I am sure I am not the only one who…

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