Lameness Causes Often Man-Made

Excessive trimming of the horny frog, sole and hoof wall are the major concerns

Dave Ferguson

THINK TRIMMING. David Ferguson says trimming is done in too many instances with little understanding of anatomy and the horny corresponding sensitive counterparts.

In my shoeing work, I see a variety of diseases and injuries that can be attributed to lameness conditions. However, one of the primary causes of lameness is man-made, and in most instances it is due to excessive trimming of the horny frog, sole and hoof wall. In many cases, as little as 50 percent of the available weight-bearing surface of the hoof is clearly visible from the solar surface.

Keep Normal Wall Thickness

The hoof will maintain a better shape and keep its normal proportions, split less, have fewer cracks and be much easier to nail if you maintain a normal thickness of hoof wall. The practice of backing up the hoof wall at the toe clearly weakens this area, results in further collapse of the hoof and diminishes the possibility of restoring sound hoof angles or proportions to the hoof.

The sole is another area that’s often over trimmed. It is difficult enough to maintain sound sole thickness among sport horses of any discipline due to abrasive surfaces where they live, train and compete. Sole thickness is essential for maintaining soundness and longevity in competing horses. It is the primary source of abscesses, bruising and deterioration in the third phalanx. In fact, it’s become common to find abnormal radiographic changes of the third phalanx in the majority of active sport horses.

Finally, the frog is…

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