By Jeff Cota, Associate Editor
Mitch Taylor and Scott Lampert teamed up for a discussion on proportional hoof balance and anatomy Friday at Eddy Strommen’s farrier clinic in Evansville, Wis.
Proportional hoof balance uses the golden ratio in measuring landmarks on the outside of the foot to determine several factors that will aid in the balancing, trimming and shoeing of the equine foot.
“I’m not telling you this is the way you have to shoe every single horse,” says the Lake Elmo, Minn., farrier. “This is just another technique that might help you understand where and what the affects might be if you manipulate something or change something with a foot.”
The golden ratio is found everywhere in nature and its value is recognized as 1.618. When measuring various anatomical structures within the equine foot, one finds that many are 1.618 inches from one another — creating harmonious proportions.
“I call it proportional balance,” he explains, “because it’s the relationship or a ratio between two parts.”
Using the proportional hoof balance, Lampert demonstrated how attendees can identify coffin bone position, enrollment zones, toe and heel length, safe nail zones and proper shoe length.
“I never shoe every horse one way,” he says. “There’s always minor and small details that we need to adjust because horseshoeing has so many different components to not just standing there looking at what you have in front of you but how it got there.
“I think a lot of time when we’re looking at horses’ feet, we’re looking at them too late. If we’re standing there looking at a horse and we think it’s toeing in, well, it might not toe in at all. It might have an issue. It might be pulling itself inward because its chest or neck hurts.”
After the Lampert completed his presentation, Taylor and Lampert led a dissection of cadaver limbs using the proportional hoof balance technique. They drilled holes to mark where they believed the tip and wings of the coffin bone was located. Once the holes were drilled, they were filled with opaque and X-rayed.
The radiographs confirmed that the technique successfully located the outline of the coffin bone.
“The better education we have of the process of the structure, the better we can make decisions,” says Taylor, who is the owner and director of Kentucky Horseshoeing School. “Sometimes we have a tendency to overthink things and avoid the obvious.”
The clinic was Eddy Strommen’s foray into hosting a formal educational event and placed a premium on the content.
“If we were going to do anatomy,” the Evansville farrier says, “I wanted both Scott and Mitch here. I told them to work out their schedules and we’ll do it together.”