Taking On Club Feet And High-Low Syndrome

New Jersey farrier says understanding cause and effect is key to treating these conditions in adult horses


CAUSE AND EFFECT. New Jersey farrier Bob Pethick says it’s important to understand cause-and-effect issues when shoeing horses who have high-low syndrome. He says this condition is often a diagonal one.

Finding a successful way to treat club feet, as well as high-low syndrome, in your clients’ horses can be a never-ending adventure. With so many schools of thought within the horseshoeing business, it’s difficult to separate what will and won’t work.

Bob Pethick, a farrier from Califon, N.J., has had a lot of success tackling these conditions in adult horses in his shoeing business. He explains that his technique is nothing fancy. It just requires the shoer to understand cause-and-effect relationships between what’s done to the horse’s feet and how it affects the animal’s health and comfort.

Determining How Much Heel To Take Off

Pethick points out that his method for dealing with the club feet of adult horses is much different than what he would do with a younger animal. He says by the time a horse is an adult, gaining any length in the deep flexor tendon isn’t a realistic goal. Some people may be able to work the muscle and gain a very small amount of length, but Pethick says it won’t be anything substantial. So with that out of reach, the farrier instead must concentrate on what to do with the heels to enhance the horse’s health and comfort.

“No one knows how far to take the heels down,” he says about the uncertainty of…

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