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While the D bar is another form of an egg bar shoe, it doesn’t increase the amount of bony column support since it is normally the same length as a regular open shoe. However, it does increase flotation, which makes it a very valuable shoe.
When a foot is shod, the natural flotation of the foot is lost due to the thickness of the shoe. Since nature intended for the sole and frog to bear some of the horse’s weight, adding a shoe lessens the amount of weight that is supported by the frog due to the thickness of the shoe. This reduction in supporting weight is not necessarily bad as it can be used to correct many causes of lameness.
Some horses benefit from increasing the amount of flotation in the heel area to correct or prevent lameness and also as a means of improving the animal’s performance.
Long-pasterned horses are candidates for increasing the amount of flotation and support with an egg bar shoe. Yet one drawback is the likelihood that the egg bar shoe will be easily pulled off. As a result, horses with short, upright pasterns often do as well or better from wearing a D bar rather than an egg bar shoe.
D bar shoes are also used to add rigidity to a shoe. This may be helpful if a foot has sheared heels or the horse tends to spread or spring a shoe.