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Wouldn’t it be great if all horses had correct, perfect or nearly perfect conformation? Then hooves could be easily shod and balanced, the horses would be sound and their owners would be pleased. Unfortunately, Mother Nature has spoiled this farrier dream. In the real world of horseshoeing, neither horses nor their hooves are perfect.
Some problems are genetic and some result from poor conformation. Others arise from environmental factors, disease, injury and — of course — poor hoof care. Hoof quality also generally varies from breed to breed.
Several problems in particular arise from imbalance, such as long toes —crushed heels, toe and quarter cracks, hoof-wall flares, hoof-capsule distortions, contracted heels, heel pain, sheared heels and medial-lateral imbalance.
In order to properly address the problems associated with imbalance, it is imperative that the anatomy and the function of the hoof are understood. Before starting to work on the horse, you need to develop a strategy for shoeing.
You need to observe the horse: Watch it walk and trot, paying special attention to the landing and any abnormalities in its stride. Look at the horse’s movement, its hoof angles, growth rings and its overall conformation. Note the correct aspects and qualities of the horse as well as the ones that require your help.
ON THE RISE. A lateral view of a TracMe roller motion shoe on a hoof. The gradual, rising slope of the shoe is designed to place breakover in a vertical line with the coronary…