The bars of the equine foot have gone through something of an ebb and flow in the minds of many farriers.
In years past, it wasn’t uncommon for farriers to remove a good portion or all of the bars. As it became apparent that they play a crucial role in the integrity of the foot, it’s swinging to the other extreme, says Azle, Texas, farrier Tab Pigg.
“In my travels around the country and around the world, I see it as a growing problem,” the Vettec clinician told attendees at the 20th annual Monetta Farrier’s Spring Fling. “It didn’t used to be a big deal to take that bar and make it smooth with the sole, and that’s not what I’m saying we should do. But, we’ve kind of turned that corner and we’re leaving a lot more bar now.
“We have to find the happy medium. We can leave too much or take too much.”
According to the American Association of Equine Practitioners, the bars are the inflexion of the hoof wall that lies between the crura of the sole and paracuneal sulcus.
“The bars are keratin, just like the hoof wall,” Pigg says. “It’s part of the hoof wall and tends to move and change with it. It can grow and meld. The bars can lie on top of the sole or become embedded in the sole. It does a lot of things.”
Since the bars essentially are an extension of the hoof wall, they also have many…