Articles by Heather Smith Thomas

Dealing with Sheared Heels

The causes of this common problem may be more complex than they appear on the surface
Among many of the challenges a farrier must deal with are sheared heels. Scott Morrison, the veterinarian and farrier who leads the Podiatry Department at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital, Lexington, Ky., says this problem is usually the result of less than ideal conformation. Usually the horse toes in or out, putting more stress on one side of the hoof wall (and heel) than the other. When a horse develops sheared heels, the stressed heel becomes jammed upward, the hoof symmetry is distorted and one heel is bearing most of the weight.
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Advice for Dealing with Underrun Heels in Western Peformance Horses

A pair of Texas farriers share how they deal with this all-too-common problem
Many horses tend to have underrun heels, in which the main support for the foot grows out from under them. The toe is often too long and the hoof angle broken backward, putting too much weight on the heels, which tend to become low and squashed.
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Cutting Back on Shoe Loss on Hard-Working Western Horses

Farriers share tips for keeping shoes in place while still supplying proper support for horses working in arenas and ranches
On occasion almost any horse will experience the loss of a shoe catching it on a gate or fence while pawing and jerking it off, or scrambling in deep mud and stepping it off, or some other abnormal situation. Some horses, however, routinely pull their shoes off due to the way they travel and overreach. In these cases, careful measures must be taken to eliminate foot contact.
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Dealing With Thrush And White Line Disease

Combining topical treatments with good hoof care will help you keep these common problems under control
Among the most common problems farriers deal with are thrush and white line disease. Thrush, affecting the sulci of the frog and sometime deeper tissues, is generally caused by bacteria. The most common culprit is fusobacterium necrophorum, which causes a variety of diseases, including navel ill/joint ill in foals, diphtheria in calves and foot rot in cattle.
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Insect Control for Horse and Farrier Protection

With fly season on the way, now is the time to brush up on advice you can share with your clients on how to battle these pests
Biting flies and other insects can be a tremendous irritation to horses and humans alike, especially for someone trying to handle or shoe a horse that is more concerned about ridding himself of these pests than standing still or allowing his foot to be held.
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