Defining What Is And Isn’t Natural Balance

British farrier David Nicholls gives a history of how Natural Balance led to a more definitive system of hoof mapping

Farrier Takeaways

  • Yes the Natural Balance is a product, but no longer a viable technique.
  • Hoof mapping as defined by the Equine Lameness Prevention Organization uses a standard grading system so all educated practitioners are on the same page.
  • ELPO’s guidelines we built on research that succeeded Natural Balance.

There are misconceptions regarding Natural Balance, according British farrier David Nicholls. Chiefly, that it is a fad, having been around since 1993. It isn’t simply a square-toed shoe. And it isn’t an indiscriminate placement of a shoe onto the foot. Nicholls, who helped introduce the concept to the United Kingdom years ago, addressed these misconceptions during his lecture at the 2017 British Equine Veterinary Association Farrier Day. His goal was to give his farrier and veterinary colleagues a clearer understanding of the theory and hopefully avoid future misinformation.

Nicholls says that the Natural Balance technique has evolved into a communication method to tackle specific issues. First, it is a way to address distortions and determine how to control or remove them. Next, it is a method of shoe selection and design, that if fitted correctly, will benefit the horse’s biomechanics.

“Unfortunately, because it can affect this, if it is incorrectly fitted, it can have a detrimental effect,” he says. “People who tell me that it doesn’t work, when I look at those cases, there’s always been a fault in the hoof mapping, foot trimming and shoe placement. So like any other technique, if applied incorrectly, you will fail.”

Brief History Of

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Jeremy mcgovern

Jeremy McGovern

Jeremy McGovern has been a journalist for nearly 20 years. He has been a member of the American Farriers Journal staff for 7 years and serves as the Executive Editor/Publisher. A native of Indiana, he also is a member of the board of directors for the American Horse Publications organization of equine media.

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