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FROM THE HOOFCARE & LAMENESS ARCHIVES
The Science of Hoof Trimming
"Don't cut it
off for the dogs, leave it for the horse!" Ric Redden admonished
farriers who, he feels, sometimes overtrim the sole. Speaking as host
lecturer at his Bluegrass Laminitis Symposium, Redden said that a
less-trimmed sole is less likely to succumb to a "gravel".
"Leave the wall to protect the sole in case a horse is prone to
seedy toe or gravel," he advised during a lecture on puncture
Tendon repair pioneer Dr. Larry Bramlage had little hope for any role that trimming may have in preventing bowed tendons. "The deep digital flexor tendon never bows, it's always the superficial," he lectured. "We must answer the question how to reduce strain on the superficial. If you raise the heel, that drops the fetlock back. You really can't change the strain on the superficial flexor tendon. Looking at a leg in ultrasound, a raised heel on a superficial looks better than a lowered one. But it you want to shorten the distance the bowed tendon has to travel, protect it by lowering the heel."
treating sheared heels, Oregon farrier Rod Harney suggested at the AFA
Convention that farriers evaluate the whole horse. A broad-chested
horse may put more stress on one side, pushing one heel up or perhaps
shoving the other side down. "Do not trim unlevel," he
warned. "The foot must be level. Reduce the outside flare to
shift support back toward the center line. Consider the orientation of
the hoof to the ground. If shortened, that heel would be shoved up
to a similar case, British farrier Cecil Swan suggested putting a half
wedge pad under the medial side as the heel drops down quickly.
of hoof angles and underrun heels continue to rage across the United
States. Some of the latest statements include the fact that we can
measure the angle of the underrun heels to monitor therapy (suggested
by veterinarian Bruce Chase of Massachusetts) and that underrun heels
are growing too quickly. An article by California farrier Andy Juell
in the February 28 Chronicle of the Horse, "The Odd Thing About
Angles", is an excellent synopsis.
According to Andy, underrun heels cause the toe to actually have a steeper angle than normal, although it looks low. "The heel is in the wrong place," Andy says. "The only solution is to lower the heels and replace that height with support by extending the (egg bar) shoe far enough back to alleviate the discrepancy."
farrier/lecturer Alan Bailey AWCF reminded his audience of farriers,
"Every time you change the angle of the hoof-pastern axis, you
change the circulation to the foot."
This article originally appeared in Hoofcare & Lameness: The Journal of Equine Foot Science and is available for your personal use only. Re-publication is prohibited without the express written permission of Hoofcare & Lameness.
Detailed information on this and many other hoofcare topics can be found in Hoofcare & Lameness publisher Fran Jurga's award-winning guide to hoofcare, "Understanding the Equine Foot".
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