Hoof-Care Consultation as a Learning Opportunity

Veteran farrier finds many seemingly therapeutic cases are actually conformational in nature

As a hoof-care consultant, I run into some truly unusual cases now and then, but on a whole, the cases I see usually involve the same problems — deep thrush, quarter cracks, white line disease, chronic abscessing and sore heels.

These are the same problems that I encountered daily at Loomis Basin Equine Medical Clinic in Northern California, where I was the resident farrier for 20 years before retiring.

Oft-Seen Problems

These photos are an example of something I see regularly. This is a high-end jumper that has had a case of thrush for the past 12 to 18 months. In FIGURE 1, notice how short the shoe is on the right front hoof. Note the pressure rings in the heels.

FIGURE 2 shows the lateral heel of the right-front hoof collapsed and run under. The frog is not in contact with the ground.

FIGURE 3 shows the left-front heel being much higher or longer than the heel on the right-front hoof.

FIGURE 4 shows a deep crevasse in the central sulcus of the frog. Again, the frog is not in contact with the ground.

I was called out on this horse that was diagnosed as having sore heels. In FIGURES 5 and 6, look at how the coronet bands are raised at the heels on both hooves. This comes from short shoes. Each one of the lines at the heels tells the history of being shod too short.

Figure 1-3
Figure 4-6

The horse in FIGURE 7 has a peculiar conformation. He is…

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