— Michigan Farrier
A: So much of what we talk about is balance, yet it seems we can’t talk about it enough. In this situation, we need to convey to the client the importance of balancing the stress forces on the flexor tendons and suspensory ligaments to optimize function and minimize injury.
Raising the heel will decrease tension on the deep flexor tendon and increase tension on the suspensory ligament, as well as the superficial flexor tendon. There is a particular risk in raising the heel angle of a younger horse because decreasing the tension on the deep digital flexor tendon would likely cause a contracture of the subcarpal check ligament. This sets the stage for club feet in addition to predisposing them to a variety of other pathologies related to the excess strain applied to the suspensory ligament, superficial flexor tendon and the sesamoidean ligaments.
Furthermore, some of the epiphyseal plates have not yet closed at this stage of yearling development. I have no personal experience with the effects that changing the anterior/posterior balance would have on them, but I believe it would be less than desirable.
These conversations with clients will happen from time to time and it behooves us (no pun intended), to educate ourselves about our profession to ensure that the outcomes…