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As farriers, we know that when making shoeing choices for the horse, managing leverage — adding or subtracting leverage biomechanically — is part of that decision making process. We have many appliance options available to achieve our goals. Any material, metal or composite, can help you; however, many choices have limitations due to their construction. Adhesives can add another layer of dynamic options for your toolbox. And when it comes to leverage management, the more tools you have, the more likely your chances for success. By understanding how to approach these cases and employing composite materials to affect leverage, you will be better prepared when the opportunity arises.
In many cases, you will be working with a veterinarian because there is a problem that requires diagnostics and veterinary support. Remember, do no harm. Always consider the information provided by the vet. You don’t want to go into the situation and provide mechanical adjustment without appreciating the biomechanical and medical considerations.
Applying leverage management requires understanding forces and torque. A presentation by Michigan State University Researcher Dr. Hillary Clayton really captured this for me. In it, she explained how when there is excess leverage, the soft tissue around the joint will take the excess force created by the torque. In the presentation, Clayton explained that if the ground reaction force vector does not pass through the center of rotation of the joint, it creates a torque around the joint that soft tissue has to oppose. The coffin joint…