Medial-Lateral Balance vs. Parallel Coronet

Q: I have a question concerning medial-lateral (M-L) balance that’s been bugging me for 10 years. We all try to trim and shoe a foot for balance, both in M-L balance and dorso­palmar balance. But in Europe (at least in the Netherlands anyway), we prefer to refer to dynamic M-L balance as: “making sure the horse lands and loads with its feet flat on the ground.”

In some cases it almost seems as if a horse has a built-in tendency to get away from M-L balance. In most of these cases, the horse will be broken in at the pastern with the lateral side of its foot situated much higher than the medial side.

This causes the pastern to get a broken-in appearance and causes the foot to rotate outward. This can sometimes be corrected by trimming the lateral side. When brought back to a correct M-L balance, the horse stays that way.

In other cases, however, the lateral side needs to be repeatedly trimmed low to re-establish M-L balance. When the horse is due for shoeing, you’ll find that the lateral side is again high and that you can hardly take away anything from the medial side without making it impossible to restore M-L balance by just trimming the lateral side.

These are horses that are straight legged and do not suffer from any visible medical problem that cause the foot to grow broken in. When trimmed correctly and viewed dorsally, the horse’s leg appears straight, until it grows…

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