Farriers' Roundtable

Q: How concerned should a farrier be about hoof distortions?

—North Dakota farrier

A: If I had been working on the horse all the time, I would be really concerned because I’m doing something wrong if the hoof is becoming distorted. First, I would want to correct that horse’s foot. If you let it go, it’s just going to get even worse and cause problems.

Second, I’d want to figure what it was that I was doing wrong. What did I do that led to the hoof distortion?

I’ve been shoeing for about 40 years, and I can say that hoof distortions can almost always be traced to an injury or an imbalance in the hoof. Farriers can’t prevent every injury, but we can try to be sure the hoof is balanced when we work on the foot.

As for the solution to the distortion, that will depend on the scenario for each horse. The answer can vary from horse to horse. You can’t give distortion solutions until you see the foot.

—Reggie Kester, CJF, Owner, Oklahoma Horseshoeing School Ardmore, Okla.

A: One must first determine the cause of the hoof distortion. Was it caused by a conformational fault, or is it a result of improper balance of the foot?

If the distortion is a result of faulty conformation, we must not attempt to make the hoof as we think it should be.

Undue stress and trauma to tendons, ligaments, soft tissue and joint surfaces may be the result of…

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