The quest to define the ideal foot and ideal balance has been the Holy Grail of horseshoeing since the late 1800s when William Russell first coined the term “balance” in the context of footcare. The dilemma facing all books on the horse’s foot has been the concept of what is a “normal” foot. Without a full, accurate, scientific definition of normal it is really just a matter of conjecture as to what is abnormal about a horse’s foot. You have to know what normal is to define something as abnormal.
Russell did an exhaustive study of measurements of the external structures of the foot in his attempt to define normal. David Duckett gave us landmarks to determine a proper trim and shoeing. From Dr. Doug Butler to the late Dr. James Rooney to Dr. Mark Caldwell, all and others have attempted to put science to balance.
Pete Healey has written an excellent book, Evaluating Radiographs for Equine Foot Management. He has taken the principles of physics and applied those to the equine foot in a series of radiographic images and measurements. Healey is using the biomechanics of physics to tackle trimming and shoeing to achieve that Holy Grail of farriery, balance.
Healey has spent the past 16 years as the farrier at Alamo Pintado Equine Medical Center in Los Olivos, Calif. Over the past 10 years, he has been able to review more than 4,000 MRI images and countless radiographic images. Through his observations, Healey…