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Many farriers view the annual Calgary Mail-in Shoe Exercise as an opportunity to develop their skills in producing a challenging shoe. One might also consider the production of the fishtail shoe as an exercise in problem solving, and in today’s world of hoof care there is almost always another method of achieving a desired mechanical result for the horse.
My goal is to illustrate an alternative method of shoe fabrication and application from the previously detailed account (Fabrication of the fishtail shoe, Chris Gregory, Pages 95 to 101 American Farriers Journal March, 2007) as well as to evoke thought and discussion of different methods.
The skills required to forge this shoe from a straight piece of bar stock are well discussed. The skills required to produce the following version are not routinely recognized in the farrier community (contests, for example), but can produce effective results.
The fishtail shoe can be prescribed for many different types of pathology, as extended heels have been advocated for injuries to structures such as the superficial digital flexor tendon, deep digital flexor tendon,or the suspensory ligament. There are several reasons why alternatives to the steel fishtail shoe might be considered for an individual horse, including:
A poor quality foot, which might be insufficient to support the increased forces created by a long extension.
Less weight, as applying a lighter weight version of the same shoe might reduce some of the forces on the damaged structures.
The inability to work on the foot…