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ACHIEVING BALANCE. Dave Ferguson, the farrier from Cambridge, Md., lectured on trimming at this winter’s International Hoof-Care Summit.
For the majority of the first half of my shoeing career, I educated clients — and farriers — about conformation and the proper way to balance a foot. Our primary responsibility as farriers is to maintain balance in a horse’s foot.
That’s often easier said than done. Not only do we have to maintain soundness in horses, but we must apply shoes that are suitable to the horse’s occupation and job, while at the same time trying to maintain an appropriate shoeing schedule that allows us to run a profitable business.
Farriers have got to remain educated on trimming techniques so that we may have intelligent discussions with horse owners and vets, as well as to keep professional working relationships with other farriers in our area.
As an instructor and as a clinician, I find myself continually going over anatomy when discussing trims and other shoeing techniques. Then I’ll come across that special horse that throws everything I’ve ever learned — or thought I knew — out the window.
If farriers could just hang a hoof in mid-air, in a non-weight-bearing state, and shoe it, our job would be a lot easier. Shoers not only have to understand anatomy, but physiology, the dynamics of how the hoof works under load and unloading, as well as other factors such as how the ground surfaces change these factors, the…