Pinpointing P-3 During The Shoeing Cycle

California farrier says his scoring system provides valuable information for balance and breakover management

Breakover is a function of the equine foot. A chronic problem that we see in the clinic where I work is that the breakover of the hoof capsule is out of balance with the coffin bone at a given point in the shoeing cycle. This added leverage can be associated with toe cracks, flat soles, pedal osteitis, underrun heels, quarter cracks, navicular disease and tendon problems. It can be detrimental in cases of laminitis.

Our industry has no set standards for breakover placement or a scoring system that tells the veterinarian or farrier where the hoof capsule is in relation to the coffin bone at a point in time during the shoeing cycle. We might say that the horse has a “long toe.” This is vague and does not offer a useable prescription that can get the horse back on track.

Normal working conditions in the field don’t allow us to radiograph each foot to trim or evaluate it. We need a procedure that can give us an accurate assessment of the inside of the hoof. I have developed a system that I believe does this. It can help the veterinarian diagnose and prescribe a treatment for lameness. It can help the farrier trim and shoe the foot to optimize functional balance. It gives the owner something they can understand and use in the management of their horse.

First we will examine how breakover affects the function of the foot and how we view a properly functioning foot. Then

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Pete Healey

Pete Healey has been shoeing for 20 years and works as the resident farrier at the Alamo Pintado Equine Medical Center in Los Olivos, Calif.

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