Briefings

Farrier Selection Is More Critical Than Hoof Shape

An owner’s choice of a farrier can have a significant impact not only on hoof shape, but also on a horse’s soundness and athletic ability as well, indicates a Switzerland researcher. Martin Kummer found significant differences in trimming in the work of six farriers over a year’s time on 40 dressage and show jumping horses.

In an evaluation of 15 variable hoof parameters, 14 differed significantly among the farriers, says the equine veterinarian at Switzerland’s University of Zurich. Measurements included dorsal wall length, hoof angle, sole thickness, distance from the cannon bone to the toe and wall and other lengths and angles that were evaluated in both front and side views. Kummer did note that since hoof researchers rely on advanced techniques and specialized equipment to make accurate measurements in a university setting, an owner can’t rely on “do-it-yourself” measurements for evaluating a farrier’s trimming abilities.

Collateral Desmitis Often Misdiagnosed

While collateral desmitis of the coffin joint has long been considered to be among the most serious equine foot injuries, Wayne McIlwraith says researchers have suspected it’s being over diagnosed. The equine veterinarian at Colorado State University says several recent research studies with magnetic resonance imaging techniques indicate improper placement of the foot can lead to an inaccurate injury diagnosis. He maintains it is critical to be sure the horse is standing squarely on all four limbs prior to starting the MRI and to minimize leaning during the imaging.

First, Track Those

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