Bringing Horses Back In Balance

Medial and lateral balance is the first step, but don't forget to look for anterior and posterior balance

MY MAIN shoeing interest is extending the useful life of the performance horse. The theories found here work on most of the horses I shoe.

Balancing the hoof and bony column is influenced by the structure and conformation of the horse. The farrier should be familiar with the breed and use of the horse.

A Thoroughbred is not shod the same way as a Warmblood, as the different structure and conformation results in a different carriage. The differences in muscle mass and distribution affect the way a horse moves. All these factors can be influenced and enhanced with foot balance.

Why Balance?

Let’s take a look at the hind end of a Thoroughbred. The muscle size and distribution allows the hock to move freely, without jamming it. There should be no shortening of the stride. The motion of the hind hoof as it leaves the ground is center to center—outside the hoof.

Since the Warmblood has a flatter croup with a heavier muscle mass over the hips, the hoof flight is center to center—inside the hoof. Many Warmbloods are base-narrow and may wring the hocks, especially in deep footing.

A longer toe on the hind end of either breed places undue stress on the lower back and pelvic region. When the hock and stifle have a straighter angle, the horse will be unable to move as efficiently which puts more stress on the hock and stifle.

The reason is the hind end doesn’t come underneath the horse where it belongs…

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