Give the Frog Proper Attention

Illinois farrier spends a lot of time examining and trimming the frog, and for good reason

What consideration do you give to trimming the frog?

“I think we overlook it,” Danville, Ill., farrier Steve Sermersheim told attendees at the D.L. Schwartz Farrier Supply clinic in October. “I used to overlook it. I would just trim the frog and go on.”

It occurred to him, though, that humans have a tendency to first look at the middle of an object.

“We have binocular vision,” says the owner and director of Midwest Horseshoeing School in Divernon, Ill. “When you see a stop sign, they don’t have ‘Stop’ way up in the right-hand corner. It’s in the middle. The logos that are on most of our hats are right in the middle. It’s purposeful. Your eyes go right in to the middle of everything.”

The equine foot is no exception.

“The first thing we see with our eyes is straight in the middle of the foot,” Sermersheim says. “What’s straight in the middle of the foot? The frog.”

Farrier Takeaways

A healthy frog can help farriers balance the foot.

Trimming the frog to match the smooth dermal frog will improve function.

A thick, big-bellied knife gets closer to sensitive structures and can cause hemorrhaging.

Clean out the frog, but be conservative and avoid over trimming.

Since the frog is in the middle of the foot, that means there are two halves on either side. A farrier can use the healthy frog as a guide in his or her work.

“The frog,” Sermersheim says, “can help us balance the foot.”

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Jeff cota 2023

Jeff Cota

Jeff Cota has been a writer, photographer and editor with newspapers and magazines for 30 years. A native of Maine, he is the Lead Content Editor of American Farriers Journal.

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