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Hoof balance is one of those topics that many footcare professionals want to learn more about, but don’t necessarily want to lead the discussion.
“Hoof balance are two words that we learn not to use as much as possible,” equine veterinarian and farrier Mark Silverman told attendees at the 2016 International Hoof-Care Summit in Cincinnati, Ohio. “It’s almost impossible to come up with a consensus on how to go about addressing this issue.”
While it might be futile to arrive at a consensus, Silverman presented the evaluation approach he uses and explains why it works for him.
“The biggest part of this is trying to come up with a systematic approach to doing this that can be repeatable,” says the owner of Sporthorse Veterinary Services in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. “If you can use this kind of approach, you can do a modification of the foot, assess what it does and know where you’re going from there, as opposed to just doing it randomly or based on a gut feeling.”
That’s not to say that you should discount your gut feeling, though.
“A lot of times we’re thrown things that we look at and we have a feeling for what we should do,” Silverman says. “But, it’s nice to be able to put a metric to it so you can follow through with it.”
Balance is achieved when the structures of the distal limb function harmoniously.
Static assessment is a good starting point, but it’s limited.