Farriers' Roundtable

Q: How do I know if I need to use an egg bar, a straight bar or a heart bar for a particular situation? 

A:  Experience! After seeing thousands of horses over the last 42 years, I use a straight bar for horses that have a sheared heel, an overreaching or forging problem.

An egg bar should be used for a horse that needs a lot of support for correcting a low heel syndrome or a tendon problem. A bell boot will help keep the horse from tearing it off.

I use heart bars on foundered horses. These help prevent the P3 from rotating and support the foot while the horse is recovering from a hoof wall resection.

Bar shoes should be used as a therapeutic shoe in most cases, not as an every day shoe.

— Steve Eastman, Kenwood, Calif.

A: Bar shoes are used whenever additional stability of the hoof capsule or related structures is needed. They also provide support to the limb by adding floatation to the posterior of the hoof. The question then becomes, which application is best?

For hoof cracks or fractured coffin bones, a straight bar works well.

To support the ligaments or tendons, an egg bar may be your best choice. However, I use fewer egg bars on horses with weak heels, as leverage becomes an issue and the problem can be exacerbated by crushing the heels. A straight bar with a good frog plate will provide as much floatation for the limb…

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