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It’s natural for hoof-care professionals to focus primarily on a horse’s lower limbs as they work, but a general knowledge of equine anatomy and conformation is also important. This knowledge becomes more critical for those who work on performance horses. The higher the level of performance, the more critical that knowledge becomes.
That presents a challenge to those just starting their hoof-care careers. When already faced with learning and honing the skills and techniques needed to shoe any horse, as well as developing a client list to build a practice, it can be difficult to find the time to study the finer points of conformation and what they might mean as to how a horse performs in a particular discipline.
We talked with several veteran farriers about some of the conformation-performance issues they’ve encountered over the years, and also asked them to share their advice for increasing your skills in this important area.