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A: There are several things that make the need for extra frog support obvious to me, including the frog atrophying and the heel contracting.
One thing everybody in this business seems to agree on is that if the frog doesn’t get sufficient support, there won’t be enough circulation in the foot. That leads to atrophy of the frog, and when the mass of the frog gets smaller, the heel contracts inward to fill the space.
So I like to add frog support to provide the stimulation it needs for proper circulation. This has to be done along with appropriate trimming of the heel to bring the hoof back to where it should be.
Another obvious indication of the need for frog support is the lack of support from the hoof wall. If a horse has low heels or the quality of the horn at the heels is compromised, having the frog support the weight of the horse allows attachment of the shoe and growth of healthy horn.
I would also add extra frog support if the hoof has a shallow sole, or if there is an indication that the bony column needs more support.
Then the question becomes, how much support do you need to add? Do you need only a soft pad or is a heart bar shoe needed? I like to try a pad first and see if there is any improvement, then go to…