Farriers' Roundtable

Q:  “What common hoof distortions do you see that most concern you?”

      —Alabama farrier

A: Minor distortions do not alarm me or cause me concern, as they can easily be addressed and usually can be corrected in a single trim.

When a hoof is badly out of medial/lateral balance to the point that the hoof capsule is distorted, then I get concerned. If this hoof distortion has not already caused sheared heels or a quarter crack, it soon will.

I treat this type of distortion with a very proactive approach rather than waiting for the horse to become lame. If the medial heels are jammed up, I’ll apply a heart bar shoe and float the medial heel area, allowing the jammed-up area to settle and re-establish the integrity of the hoof.

Another hoof distortion that I watch for and am very concerned about in young horses is a dished appearance in the dorsal wall. This may be the first sign that a young horse is developing a club foot.

If you recognize this type of distortion early, you can encourage your client to seek assistance from a veterinarian. It is then the owner’s decision to pursue an inferior check ligament desmotomy if that is recommended.

Recognizing this situation early will not only be appreciated by your client, but it drastically improves the odds of the horse having a more normal hoof

—Jeff Ridley, Leighton, Iowa

A: The most important distortion I see is the loss of medial/lateral balance. This is…

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