Tips From the Racetrack

Veteran Thoroughbred farrier shares challenges and solutions

1. Long Toes. This results in an elongated hoof and a stretched white line. A square-toed shoe placed at the coffin bone can ease stress on the toe. Rounding the toe area also helps.

2. Sheared Heels. Since the typical racehorse toes out, this often leads to a medial sheared heel with serious bruising. A Z-bar shoe can correct this situation while reducing pain.

3. Quarter Cracks. During training, I often use a Z-bar shoe to unload the heel and offer quarter-crack relief. A full shoe or a three-quarter racing plate is nailed or glued on the morning of a race, The Z-bar shoe is placed back after the race.

4. No Heels. We don’t see many of these situations, as most racing Thoroughbreds have too much heel. But when the heel moves forward, it tends to get crushed. I’ve found that an onion shoe can help this problem.

5. Glue-On Shoes. This is another excellent option for track farriers, especially with thin-walled horses.

6. Traction Devices. While these are needed with some horses and certain conditions, my experience shows a comfortable horse will normally outrun one that needs traction devices.

7. Mushroom Shoes. I haven’t used many of these on racing Thoroughbreds. This shoe tends to place too much pressure on the frog.

8. Shoe Options. While 99% of the shoes used…

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Frank lessiter

Frank Lessiter

Frank Lessiter has spent more than 50 years in the agricultural and equine publishing business. The sixth generation member to live on the family’s Centennial farm in Michigan, he is the Editor/Publisher of American Farriers Journal.

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