Farriers' Roundtable

Q. How would you shoe a hoof to spread the heels? - Arkansas Farrier

A: First, I would evaluate the hoof. I look for total hoof balance, and especially heel balance. Then I would lower the heels almost to the widest part of the frog to give full heel support.

Then I fit the shoe about 1/4-inch wider than the perimeter of the hoof. If you fit the shoe too wide, the horse might pull the shoe. Leave out the heel nails, which I usually do on every foot. I use the toe nail, the second nail and the third nail on each side.

I might also use a spring-loaded clip shown to me by (Kentucky equine veterinarian) Scott Morrison. It fits on the outside part of the frog and it pushes the heels apart.

If the horse is a little heel sore or if the heels are continually getting narrower, I might use a full egg bar shoe with a wide fit. If you’re worried about the shoe pulling off, just bevel the edges so the horse can’t grab the shoe. The egg bar goes back beyond the heel. That extension gives more support to the end of the heel, and the horse is more comfortable when it has more support on the whole foot. Full support helps the entire hoof grow.

Years ago when I worked with Saddlebreds, I used to put a pad on the foot, then slide a wedge under the pad and above the frog…

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