Registered User Login


Forgot your password?
Haven't Registered?

My Zimbio

Not Always easy being a Farrier / today was one of those days
Friday 1st of April 2011 03:05 AM

Hello and hope everyone's getting ready for some great riding.

No pictures today , just a short ( i hope ) story.

One of my clients called me last nite , says a horse he recently got ( borrowed ) is lame and wanted to know if i could come out almost immediately, i said yes tomorrow. Last time i shod the horse it had abscesses in both front feet , that was 8 weeks ago so everything should be fine by now.

Now's where the fun starts : I meet my client and he's a BIG guy 6'3" 260 lbs. He starts in " so and so at this ranch says the toes are too long ( like it's my fault ) so and so at this ranch says the shoes are too small for the horse ( again as though it's my fault )  And look the foot's overgrowing the shoe , and there's no heel support - and the horse is lame , and he's probably sore in the bulbs , and the attitude is it's all my fault.  Oh and , it's like this horse hasn't been shod for 12 weeks the feet are so long ( my fault again ).

So i look at the horse , the feet aren't unnecessarily long for 8 weeks in fact don't really show that the feet have grown all that much , and i mentioned that to my client standing right there next to me. The Response " So and so says the feet are long way too long " and he's looking at me like he's dead sure it's all my fault and whatever this other "So and So" has been telling him is fact !  I couldn't control myself , i told him in almost these exact words " I'm so F'ing sick of other peoples attitudes about my shoeing , they don't know what the "F" they're talking about"!  And he's still sure everything's my fault.

Now this "So and So" happens to be on the ranch , and he's kinda checking things out while i'm right there having to defend myself and my reputation - let me speak on my reputation here with you for a second or two .  My Reputation is for the past 20 years that i've been shoeing horses i've not had one single lame horse from the methods i use. I happen to think 20 years is enough time to pretty much validate my methods of shoeing work. In fact it's really unquestionable in my mind at this point , that's how much confidence i have in what i'm doing.

It's so funny ! Now i have two guys - the one BIG guy and the other guy that i have to defend myself with. Remember there's a lame horse here and it's my fault you see " LOL " .... Oh boy.  I take the shoes off the front feet and the second foot i notice that the horse has yet another abscess , making for a total of 3 since my last visit with the horse.  Well that takes some pressure off me because now there's a reason for the lameness, but the accusations of everything else is still heavy in the air.  The toes are long the toes are long - you get the idea. So i clean the foot as normal and see there's very little hoof wall to cut off. Now i have bonafide proof the feet aren't long in fact the horse is a slow grower of hoof , so that makes another hurdle overcome.

Now as i go into explanations with the BIG guy he's asking questions of me as though he's deliberately working on CATCHING me in some wrong doing or in some kind of MISTAKE i'm making , it's like this guy's on a witch hunt and i'm the suspect !!

So i give an explanation and he immediately looks away from me to look at the other guy standing there looking for verification of what i'm saying. The Big guy looks at me - he looks at the other guy - then looks back and me then back at the other guy - you getting the idea ?   This is INSANE !!!

The horse has no heels - well i answer " that's because the horse was brought to me two shoeings ago with Bozo the Clown feet and as a result the horse has sheered heels now. Well his toes are too far out in front - my response is "Yes that's the way you brought him to me and that takes time to fix - it doesn't happen in one or two shoeings many times " ...  He looks at the other guy !! the other guy nods in approval of my response.

So i point out - "You see the hoofwall at the toe and how it's growing straighter up and down" - he's like "yes i see that" - i say " that's because i've been moving the shoe to the rear of the hoof and the hairline of the hoof is now growing new hoof in response , when it's done growing out ( one year ) the hoof will be much better and much more balanced".  BIG guy's like " yes i can see that - OH i get it now "..  whew !!! another hurdle conquered ....

But there's still some explaning as my method of shoeing unfolde right before their eyes . Every move i made i gave an explanation ( the method to the madness )...  And every time i did so the BIG guy looks to the other guy for approval , my reputation still on the line right before my eyes .... OMG !!!  

So try as he may to catch me in some kind of wrong doing he failed !  thankfully ! And i got to walk away holding my head high.  You know the problem i had was i just was alittle put off by the BIG guys attitude - i was guilty as charged  - it was ATTITUDE !  Being a farrier , at least for me , my reputation is important to me , it's not like farriers just want to say " ah screw this and screw you i'm out of here think what ever you want about my shoeing ". That doesn't go over too well because now there's a former client running around possibly saying negative things about me .  It's the compulsion to address all the negatives and defend oneself . LOL ..... It just wasn't easy !

What if the "other" dude has different methods that he believed in for shoeing - there are other methods out there besides mine. Can you see the conflict that could have erupted !! The BIG guy looking at the other guy who's not quite agreeing with me . It would have been a freeking nightmare !  I've been there done that.

As it turned out today after the smoke cleared i felt hammered on pretty seriously and merclessly - the good part was it all worked itself out for everyone , including the horse.  When the job was finished and everyone stood back and looked at the result of the work that had been done everyone was in agreement and the many complex processes needed to accomplish the desired result were obvious - and that was because of ME ! I'm the one who did the work it was all my responsibility my doing . 

You see in a situation like that when everything i was doing was being questioned i had to TAKE CHARGE !! i had to sieze the moment and be the leader . I had to pull it ALL up by the bootstraps and lay everything out . If i would have taken a more layed back role and had i let the others to take control it all would have come across like i was just doing what i was being told which would have not proven my credibility , they would have looked at me like THEY were the ones running the show and the only reason the horse was done right was because they told me how to do the work. That wouldn't have been good. I would have still been suspect of not knowing what the hell i'm doing.

Today was a good day !  Wasn't an easy day but it was a good day (-:   Haha !   The challenges of everyday life right ?   What challenges are you facing , i'd like to hear , really i would !  please responses very welcome here.

as usual happy and safe riding.

John "TheFootDoctor" Silveira

follow me on Twitter - username -->  Care4Horsescom

Please come to my facebook page :



How to Qualify your Farrier
Qualifying your Farrier
Wednesday 30th of June 2010 10:44 PM

Hello. Hope things are going well and riding season is in full swing .

     You know we've all heard the "How to treat your farrier" stuff right ? Make sure you're there while the shoeing is being done - Catch the horse - Teach your horse to stand quietly - Offer your farrier something to drink , etc etc etc. Right ?    Well what about you ?  How can you protect yourself from a poor job or poor workmanship , Poor shoeing. If you don't know horseshoeing inside and out there's a strong chance your farrier is putting your horse at risk of lameness. So instead of what you can do for your farrier lets see how you can do "For You" and your horse. 

     Ready ?    (-:      Here's a list of questions to ask your farrier - if he can't give you the answers or gives you the wrong answers you should have some red flags popping. You can either educate himself if your skill and experience / knowledge is high enough or you can find another farrier who can answer the questions correctly.

1- Ask : Should horse's feet point straight ahead ? is that considered perfect conformation ?  If he answers yes - start paying attention , because that's a red flag for me.

       You see in my 19 years experience i've yet to see horse's with knees that point straight ahead - if you go to my personal blog Http:// you'll notice all the photos there are taken of the horse's front legs while the camera is OFF TO ONE SIDE and NOT straight ahead of the horse. The reason is i line the camera shot up with where the knee of the horse points. Since 99-9/10ths horse's knees point outward then that's where my photos are taken from. If / Your horse's knees point outward , where your horse's knee points is where the foot should point. Every and i say that with a capital E - Every horse has a wear pattern on it's foot - that wear pattern is dictated exactly by where the knee points . Without Fail. Correct balance can only be achieved when the foot is in line with the breakover ( where the knee points ) ...  So if your farrier is saying anything like "Yes i trim the feet of the horse so the feet point straight ahead BE CAREFUL....

2- Ask: Do you shorten one side of the foot or the other to make the foot point straight ahead - OR - Do you correct a pigeon toed horse by shortening the inside(Medial) side of the foot ?  Conversely - do you correct a toed out horse by shortening the hoofwall on the lateral (outside) of the foot ?  If the answers are yes or anything remotely related to the above BE CAREFUL !!

     Joints of the horse are not designed to be rotated to correct toeing issues. The bones/joint , coffin/navicular joint in particular don't tolerate anything but a "LEVEL" balance to the joint. When the farrier shortens one side of the foot more than the other to correct toeing problems he'll be FORCING the joint into positions that put much too much stress on the horse.  

     I've written a book explaining all these things in detail - in layman terms , i recommend you get it - Just email me at and request it. This way you'll know exactly what i'm talking about here. All this article is the abbreviated version and i don't expect you to grasp the deeper understanding of it all in just this short post.

3- Ask: When you put the shoe on are you lineing up the toe of the shoe with the tip of the frog ? if the answer is yes BE CAREFUL !!!   The frog has nothing to do with breakover / center of balance and putting the shoe on in line with the frog 97% of the time will be encouraging the foot to grow pigeon toed. Remember breakover and center of breakover is absolutely DICTATED by where the knee points - where the frog points is completely irrevelant. There's a proper way to locate the center of breakover ( nothing to do with the frog ) and the toe of the shoe should be in line with the center of breakover. 

4- Ask: When you trim the horse's feet are you using the Hairline or Coronary band ( both one and the same ) to level the foot correctly ?  If the answer is yes BE CAREFUL - RED FLAG !!! The coronary band is not fixed with steel cables so is capable of movement. The only true way to LEVEL a foot is to go to the source The Bones , particularly the coffin/navicular bones JOINT !  I've trimmed feet using the bones as the guide and have the hairline be far from level , but anything else will be ruining the integrity of the joint.  The hairline method is simply just not accurate.  On my blog i've posted videos of how to correctly level a joint by using the bones as the guide. Let me just say this : if the hairline is used and the foot is trimmed so the hairline is horizontal and parallel to the ground while the horse stands on it the chances your horse's JOINTS are twisted is very very high. That's a risk you don't want to take.

5- Ask: Are you familiar with the "Even Sole Pressure" method of shoeing and if he uses it. If he says yes then you should - you guessed it - BE CAREFUL.   Even sole pressure is a recent idea in horseshoeing - the whole basis of the concept is that the hoof wall be trimmed so the hoof wall is the same distance from the sole of the foot all the way around the foot.  Trimming the hoof wall correctly as far as length medial to lateral is very important and relates to the above "LEVEL" foot .  Triming for even sole pressure ignores how to trim the foot/hoof wall so the bones are level as stated previously. Just by using only the sole as the rule is putting the horse at risk. Many many horse's have a condition what i call "Hanging" the outside of the foot. In that case the outside of the foot needs to be rasped until ( again ) the bones in the foot , particularly the coffin/navicular bones are in their most healthy position - if they're NOT it's a risk.

     On a side note to the above - it's assumed that using the even sole pressure method puts the coffin bone ANGLE ( from toe to heel ) in the correct position. Again that leaves out and ignores "LEVEL" - using even sole pressure concept is an incomplete practice - it helps with getting the coffin bone ANGLE close to correct - but really there's another way .  

6- Ask: Do you use hoof guages to set up the pastern coffin bone angles. You got it !!  BE CAREFUL.... I haven't used a hoof guage for 19 years. I take each foot as an individual condition - I use the hoof wall itself as a guide for setting up angles - i look directly from the side of the hoof - i use MID POINT between toe and heel and i look at the grain ( natural lines ) in the hoof and i trim the foot so those lines line up with the pastern angles. Any time i've had vets look at my work being done that way it's always the same response " Who's doing your work - i like what he's doing - it's correct " - i've even had X-Rays that show the results.  Plenty of pictures on my personal blog depicting how i set up angles. 

7- Ask: How long do you let the toe grow out - as in FORWARD ( like bozo the clown feet ) i call it Long toe syndrome. Really what you want to ask is " Do you rasp the extra hoof wall at the toe back " , if the answer is something like "It's not a good practice to rasp that extra hoof wall " or "i'm alittle bit afraid to rasp that hoof wall" there's another red flag. 

8- Ask: What do you feel about moving the shoe to the rear of the foot to ease or balance the breakover and rasping Xtra toe back ....   If there's reluctance to move the shoe rearward and rasping that extra toe off - the chances of ending up with long toe syndrome and stressed and possible ruined joints is high. Setting the shoe back is one of the most important practices along with foot being level.  Make sure the farrier is on top of that one too.

9- Ask: if the farrier believes in heel support. Many times farriers while leaving the toe grow forward encourage a condition called sheered heels. Sheered heels by themselves are not beneficial to relieving stress to the navicular joint/bone. The heels sink or are too low and stretch the deep flexor tendon which wraps right over the navicular bone over stressing the joint.  Not only is the sheered heel a negative but combined with the long toe makes things even worse. The long toe prevents breakover and with the heels slammed down to the ground the stretch on that deep flexor tendon is exaggerated yet again.

     What happens or what causes the sheered heels us predominantly this : when the toe grows forward or is allowed to grow forward the growth actually stretches the whole hoof wall forward with it - in essence pulling the heels forward as the toe grows out of control hence the sheered heel. Sheered heels happen to be one of the hardest conditions to fix when it comes to hoof wall generation and correction. 

10- Ask: ------- Finally , for now , there are other things to discuss of course but Ask: if your farrier removes sole while shoeing , a certain amount of sole in the majority of cases is necessary to trim hoof. In the past decade of shoeing/trimming the "Barefoot Movement" came about. Many of these proponents suggest the horse should stand on it's sole mostly , as a result they don't advocate taking any sole out of the foot. And these people hemm and haww and scream bloody murder if you violate this rule.  I just have to stand back for a minute and say to myself - "Horse's SHED their soles" "They shed their soles for a reason" "Nature doesn't want the horse standing on it's sole"....  Why else do they shed for heaven sake.  Not only does the sole shed but so does the frog - It's a continual natural process of a healthy foot to shed and replenish itself. Triming sole away carefully to trim the hoof wall to the correct length is one of those necessary processes.

    I could go on and on and on. These are BASICS. I've been shoeing for just about 20 years now. I've poured my mind and brain into every move i make while shoeing horse's - i analyze things from the inside out over and over and over again - i talk with other farriers - vets - clients . Believe me i've checked this stuff out. I've had clients tell me their trainer for a specific horse that i started shoeing for the client had come back after a couple years and ask "What did you do to Rosie - she's tracking so even and true" - the clients response to the trainer was "I changed farriers"...  I've not had a horse come up lame from these methods for 19 years now.

     The discussions about shoeing go round and round and some of these farriers won't be argued with - you can tell by their attitude they won't listen to you.  i was talking to a farrier a couple months ago who uses the Even sole pressure method - he explained things to me - and he was talking so fast and never really giving me a chance to add my input as he went from one thing to another - i grasped what he said completely but his manner of speaking was like a smoke screen ( Throw so many concepts at you and talk fast to overwhelm the person ).... But i've been around this business for quite a while now - and i found the flaws in what he was saying. What i've talked about here is BASICS -  but there's much more to this shoeing puzzle.  I mean i've talked about 1/5 maybe , or maybe less than that. Can you imagine how long this post would be if i just kept going and going - Soooooo - sigh - it's all in book form.  In fact it's a free ebook.   It's not transcribed into the right format yet but it's written -   If you want a copy - just email me - and ask for it. Easy !

      In the mean time - yes i still have time for free consultation . I admit i'm damn busy and free consultation isn't something i'll be able to continue forever - so - i don't know - i guess time's runnin out on the opportunity.

So - i gotta go - it's been a pleasure as usual - really.  I know horse's need help - i hear too many horror stories - and i'm just happy i can help get this out for the benefit of all....

Thank you for being here.

John "TheFootDoctor" Silveira  ---------------> and follow me on Twitter by my name @Care4Horsescom    see you there

Clodhopper feet.
clodhopper feet , do you need em?
Friday 30th of April 2010 11:08 PM

Hello .

Wow are we finally getting some weather or what ? supposto be almost 80* in Woodside California Sunday 2nd of May.

Clodhopper feet right ? Pretty self explanatory, very large heavy feet on your horse. Is that what you'd want for your horse , the pros and cons. The following is my opinion after 19 years shoeing horses.

For the most part i don't want my horse's having big heavy feet , if the shoeing is done correctly and your horse's feet are balanced there's really no need for the big feet. Ask yourself if you'd like to run a marathon in Army combat boots - i know i don't want to even run a marathon in the first place ( haha ). Think of this for a minute , your horse's leg is quite long from shoulder to foot , if you imagine standing with a broom stick in your hand with your arm outstretched holding the stick parallel to the ground and someone were to add just a few ounces at the end of the stick the weight would be quite noticable. That little bit of weight at the end adds up quickly. Imagine adding that extra weight to your horse's foot and then asking those feet to move very quickly as your horse is running and extra weight could be a hassle.

Maybe big feet is ok if you had a Clydesdale right , but for most other horses i'm not in favor of clodhoppers. When you look at shoeing Saddlebreds or National Show horses , Fox Trotters , Morgan's for showing adding weight to their feet is done to deliberately gain and accentuate a certain type of gait . Weight typically will cause the feet to travel farther forward for those type of gaits in those show circuits. If that's what you're doing with your horse then the extra weight is required . For that type of shoeing lead weights are actually screwed into the pads on the feet getting just the desired amount of extra weight so the horse's legs fly just as wanted. You would even add the weight after having a custom shoe made that can be 3 maybe 4 times as heavy as a normal shoe.

Then looking at race horses you find they're all shod for the race with aluminum shoes which are the lightest shoe mostly available and there's a reason for going light - "It's performance enhancing". Your horse's legs are simply going to have less trouble overcoming extra weight on it's feet and that translates into more freedom of movement for your horse. And if you actually have a horse that can go barefoot congratulations . So i think you can see how big heavy feet ( clodhopper ) feet might be a drag on your animal. Not cleaning out the sole of your horse's feet will add weight - letting the feet get longer and longer adds weight - getting the long toe syndrome (bozo the clown feet) adds weight - and having way too much flares to the hoofwall and it all adds up and before you know it your horse is laboring unnecessarily.

On the other hand there is one benefit to a big foot . Not to get too technical here but if your horse is out of balance a big foot can compensate for poor shoeing .. So quickly here's the jist of it - if you've been following this blog you've already read that nearly 100% of horse's knees point outward. Forget about what the textbooks or artist drawings conceptions look like on "Perfect Conformation feet point straight ahead" , you'll just not achieve that . Since 100% of the horse's i've seen have knees point outward you're going to want your horse's feet to point where the knees do. The reason for this is wherever the knees point is where the foot is going to break over. So if the knee points outward as 99-9/10ths of horse's do to achieve basic balance the feet should point the same direction so the foot breaks over dead center in a balanced way.

When looking at the above facts ( knees point outward ) you'll notice most horse's feet just don't point outward to match the knee. By the way - there's always a wear pattern on your horse's feet which is dictated by where the knee points - you'll find a wear pattern on the shoe where the metal will be worn down and it will line up exactly with where the knee points - and the same holds true for barefoot horses - the hoof wall will wear exactly where the knee points. What this means is most host horse's are inherently Pigeon toed , which means the horse is breaking over the outside of it's foot and balance is lost and risk of lameness is present along with traveling problems associated with pigeon toed horses. I almost forgot , add to this the fact that most farriers are using "Old School" methods to correct the issues above which puts more stress on joints and ligaments and you're asking for problems.  I won't go into all the nuances of proper shoeing at this point as it's a much too lengthy discussion - the reason i've written a book on the subject " Inside Horseshoeing Secrets of Lameness Prevention". You can take a quick look at or visit my personal blog as well at the following address. .

So to back up one more time here and put this all together , basically most farriers will put the shoes on the horse's they're working on directly in line with the frog of the foot , which also points pigeon toed , so most shoers are going to be encouraging the foot to be more pigeon toed. Again , there's ways to do things differently that encourage balance , but here's the point on wide feet here - the one benefit as i see it. If your farrier falls into the catagory of one of those who doesn't quite get this whole balance / pigeon toed / level foot thing yet then having a big wide foot is a good thing. It's good from the standpoint that since pigeon toed horse's break over the outside of their foot ( that side of the foot is usually too small - as most horse's are and have pigeon toed flares running toward the inside of the foot - the medial side )......   Having that wide foot , that BIG WIDE FOOT is going to give your horse some support to that outside of it's foot , the support means less twisting of the joints and less stress on the ligaments and muscle tissue. You'll sacrafice a little performance with those big clodhopper feet but at least you're reducing risk of lameness. If your farrier doesn't quite know what he's doing then at least big feet is a plus. 

I end up trodding on touchy ground when i talk about these things with regard to "Other Shoers". I try to tread this ground lightly , but the facts are there's a huge percentage of farriers that just "DON'T GET IT", balance is still a mystery to them. They don't trim feet level so the joint is being stressed , medial flare is being allowed to grow pulling the foot out of balance because they're putting the shoe on inline with the frog ( a NO NO ) , they're letting toes get way too far forward which pulls the heels into a sheared state ( Navicular risk ) , and it's just not good. Horse's are coming up lame all the time. If you're one of the lucky ones that have not experienced lameness good for you. I always say "It only takes ONCE to have a permanently lame horse".

So without beating up the farriers here that's about all of what i wanted to say this time. If you have any questions please feel free to email me personally at i'm happy to respond. And while you're at it you'll be put on my priority list to be notified as soon as my book comes out "The Horseshoeing Secrets" as it's first in a series of two and guess what , it's FREE , so just leave me your email address requesting it and you'll be good to go.

Thank you. Have fun out there . Great riding's on it's way.

John  "TheFootDoctor" Silveira

as usual , happy and safe riding and always remember to

Rings on the Hoof / Founder Rings? What Kind of Rings ?
Thursday 1st of April 2010 03:01 AM


     Well hello there and how are you ?    What a winter it's been right ?  Here in the Bay Area Ca. we're coming out of a very wet winter and actually starting to do some riding again. We've had weeks and weeks of rain , and that's not to overlook those of you that have been having weeks and weeks of snow , i know it's been tough. So today i want to look at the rings , the rings on the hoof and what could be the meaning of these rings and how it can help you understand your horse's feet.

     19 years ago when i started shoeing horses i quickly discovered there are some misconceptions in the shoeing industry. The one in particular that really threw me for a loop i coined the "Original Sin" when it comes to what is being taught about foot conformation. What nearly everyone tells you about horses feet is " Perfect conformation is feet pointing straight ahead " and if you believe in that statement i'm sorry to say you're whole understanding regarding shoeing , balance and your horse's feet is incorrect . You will have built your foundation of understanding on a error and will forever be in conflict and confusion when it comes to your horses feet and legs. Here's why . follow along as best you can and pay close attention to the photo below .

     #1 and a key point is , in the thousands of horses i've worked on i don't think i've ever seen ONE horse with perfect conformation as the textbooks and artist conceptions paint it out to be. Look closely at your horse and any horse , forget about the feet for a minute , the first thing i want you to look at and notice is "Where are your horse's knees pointing" !!!  This is soooo important. Because where your horse's knees point is also where the feet should point.  Look Closer !  You'll find as i mentioned briefly above almost EVERY horse i've ever seen has knees that point outward !!  What that means is if the feet should line up with the knee then basically according to the textbooks your horse would be toed out - you following me ? Almost EVERY horse has knees that point outward .  It's just the fact.

     #2 Where the knee points DICTATES where the foot will break over.  Do you understand breakover ? It's the precise point where the foot finally has the heels leave the ground and the pressure on the foot is on the toe area until the foot finally comes off the ground.  Breakover is HUGE , it's another KEY in your understanding of feet. If your horse has been wearing shoes for any length of time and you look at the shoe you'll see a wear pattern on the metal shoe - the metal shoe will be worn down at the toe area in the precise spot that the knee points to. If your horse was one in ten thousand and has ONE KNEE that points straight ahead then the foot will break over straight ahead. But since all horses knees point outward ( and you've looked yourself to see for yourself ) then the foot will breakover slightly to the outside as well and the shoe on your horse will prove it.

     I realize this is somewhat a long lead in to the discussion of the rings on your horse's hoof but those rings are tied into just about every change that happens to your horse - the way the shoe is placed for one - changing the shape of the foot - changing where flares on the foot are - diet - weather - founder all have an effect on the hoof wall and creat the rings you'll see so frequently .

     In the photo below , particularly the right foot you'll see some very distinct rings reflecting some significant changes happening to the foot. In this case it's an IMPORTANT change.  You see since most people have been fed the LIE that perfect conformation is feet pointing straight ahead many many farriers try to grow feet that point straight ahead when doing so is to ignore where the knee points thereby throwing the balance and load on the foot all out of wack so to speak.

     Look at that upper inch and a half or so of that right front foot. Do you see how different it is from the rest of the foot - there's a reason for that and if i can get you to understand this you'll make a quantum leap in understanding proper balance in your horse and also take a huge step in the right direction when it comes to lameness prevention - you don't want your horse to come up lame right ? ( stupid question i know ) OF COURSE you don't - lameness is the very LAST thing you EVER want to happen to your horse. So back to looking at this foot below.

     The reason that upper part of the foot is growing so differently than the lower part is due to shoe placement. You see the lower part of the foot has been growing straight ahead or forward which does NOT line up with the knee that points outward ?   you getting this ?   That upper part of the foot is now being stimulated to grow in the direction (outward ) where the knee points on 99-9/10ths of all horses. You want the foot to line up with the knee remember ?  just think about your own feet - if your knee points outward alittle bit would you want your foot pointing toward your other foot ( pigeon toed ) ??  of course not. So in the case below , that RING around the foot is showing you where and when and how a CHANGE has been made to the shoeing and how the hairline or coronary band is making adjustments to grow new foot in accordance to the change of shoeing ....  KINDA AMAZING isn't it ?

     This horse below had extremely long toes as well so even moving the shoe to the rear of the foot and rasping that extra toe off would cause a ring to appear on the hoof at the time the change was made.  OK ?

     These kind of rings are the type i'm most concerned with when it comes to shoeing for balance and lameness prevention. Because the rings tell you what's going on .  In the photo below when that new foot finally grows out after about a full year that whole new foot will be pointing in the direction of the knee which will mean the foot will break over dead center like it should and the loads and balances to the foot will be much improved all of which reduces risk of lameness. All that foot growing in the wrong direction that you see will eventually be removed and the leverages and stresses put on the coffin bone joint and pastern joints will be much improved - that's VERY important to achieve.

     So the kind of rings you're seeing in the photo are the kind that tell me that changes being made to achieve balance are actually happening - that's encouraging - enlightening , ah and oh so good for your horse - believe me the horses FEEL and KNOW the difference when balance is being restored . Of course i've brought horse's from the brink of going lame and obviously in pain to happy and willing confident partners.


     Now of course there are other causes of rings , they will look very similar to what you're looking at above. For example , and i hope you never have to experience "Founder Rings".  Also rings that show up simply from a change in feeding habbits or actual change in feed.  All of a sudden feeding your horse more grain regularly can cause a distinct ring in the foot to show. Perhaps your horse became somewhat sick or was on a type of medication for a few weeks similarly would produce a ring in the foot. The weather changes can and will cause rings. Bringing your horse to a new barn ( changing his/her home ) will cause stress perhaps again resulting in a ring in the foot. So all the rings reflect something and have a meaning.

     For the most part the little changes and different rings in the foot are nothing to be alarmed about . Really not a big deal. Keep in mind though and notice those changes above are pretty severe ( but in a good way ) as they show really how much effect shoeing can have on your horses feet and how much shoeing in general can have such impact.  You see though , in this case above , to my eye i see and recognize GOOD changes - i understand this as PROGRESS but it also EXPOSES to me how INCORRECTLY this horse has been being shod in the past and it's that incorrect shoeing/trimming that scares the hell out of me because as i always say " IT ONLY TAKES ONE TIME TO HAVE A PERMANENTLY LAME HORSE " - if i can help you understand this i've made a difference and that's a good thing...

     Thank you very much for being a part of this blog.  If you have any questions or would like me to analyze your horse for you please feel free to email me personally at  The consultation is F.R.E.E !!!

     You may also want to visit my personal blog at Http:// as there's a wealth of info there with many photos as well.

     Once again , thank you so much , happy and safe riding and always remember to

  John "TheFootDoctor" Silveira 


Do you shoe differently during the winter ? I DO !
Sunday 31st of January 2010 11:57 PM

Hello Reader.   Nice to see you again - here in 2010 .                         Jan 31, 2010

        So the question is "Do you shoe differently during the winter" and my answer is "Yes - i do" for the following reasons.  This will be a rather easy discussion.

          1. Normally when shoeing i leave plenty of heel length to the shoe for heel support. By that i mean many horse's have had their toes left too long out in front ( what i call bozo feet ) and with that you're going to find some sheering of the heels ( the heel of the hoof is no longer to the rear of the foot but rather has been shoved forward toward the toe , in a severe case the horse can actually be rocking back on it's feet even just while standing - so something needs to be done to stop the foot from rocking back , i usually do this by lengthening the shoe toward the rear. 

          There is an inherent problem with lengthening the heels of the shoe - a necessary evil if you will. With the lengthening of shoe at the heel there comes the increased chance the rear foot will reach forward and hook that longer back part of the shoe and pull that shoe right off. Obviously this is a bigger risk on the front feet as there's no feet behind the back feet to hook the long shoe. Not only can a rear foot come forward to yank a shoe off but during the winter it's obviously going to be easier for the horse to be sliging around on it's feet and actually even one of the front feet can easily slide into the opposite foot and the same problem - hooking that opposite longer heel area of shoe and pulling shoes off becomes a problem.

          To back up for a minute , i've mentioned in the past that sheered heels allow the heel of the foot to sink into the ground stretching the deep flexor tendon which can also crank the point of the coffin bone downward ( rotation of coffin bone ) providing the heel support with the longer shoe prevents those two risks of lameness , which is the reason for the longer shoe in the first place.

          Being winter and wet and slippery just increases the chance of pulling shoes and we're going to want to help prevent that.  It's a simple solution.

          During winter months if i have a horse that becomes a chronic shoe puller then for starters i'll just start to shorten the shoe back up in the heel area. If the horse pulls two shoes on me during winter that's when i'll start the shortening process. I don't like having to come back to replace shoes any more than the owner of the horse likes having to call me to do so.

          Having horse's pull shoes in winter isn't what i would call a regular occurance which should tell you leaving the shoes longer in the heel really isn't so risky in the first place. I shoe almost all the horse's with longer heels and i still rarely have horse's pulling shoes anyway. So feel free to give your horse heel support - they love it. Here's one of the rules of thumb that i support - "when it comes to leaving the heel of the shoe longer do not let the shoe be so long as to surpass the bulbs of the foot - that's as far as you want to go. There are occasions to extend shoes longer than that ( For lameness treatment or some specific issue ) but not as a general shoeing practice.

          So you'll go temporarily to a shorter heel during winter only if the horse is starting to have a problem keeping shoes on. That's it !  Simple. 

          There is an exception to going back to the shorter shoe and that is - if the horse is severely sheered and at strong risk of lameness ( which you really have a hard time being sure about in sheered heel cases ) then even during winter i'll keep the heels of the shoe long and try to survive winter that way / Perhaps some stall time during the winter wet months in order to keep the shoe on - if i'm really worried about it and there's no stall available i'll duct tape around the foot to help the foot be protected from the other feet yanking the shoe off.      That's about it !  Basic stuff.

          I told you this would be an easy discussion when we started right  (-:

          When things start drying up in spring everything will be back on track. I'll revisit sheered heels thoroughly in a future discussion until then as usual Happy and Safe riding and always remember to 

i also maintain a personal blog at

Please keep in mind i continue to give consultation at no cost - that's a freebie to you. Just get ahold of me personally like so many others have at my following email address.


take care .

 John "TheFootDoctor" Silveira


Zeus's comeback Trail , Quarter Cracks
Quarter Cracks
Thursday 31st of December 2009 07:19 PM

Hey - Happy New year. 

Got a quick story .

    About 2 years ago i got a call from a girl "Bridget" with a horse with a chronic quarter crack. This is an idea of what it looked like. Let me explain: Sometimes quarter cracks will mend just by notching the whole rear part of the hoof wall from the quarter crack all the way to the rear so the hoof doesn't touch the shoe. In this case there was nearly 3/8 of an inch notch. It wasn't enough for Zeus's quarter crack to start mending at the hairline/coronary band and so in this case i needed to go to the next step and take more agressive action mending the crack which as you can see is quite wide. But notice how long the toe is still on this front foot and this is after i had already taken a whole lot of that toe to the rear. The long toe puts improper stress on the hoof wall and POP there you go , a quarter crack develops.

                    quarter crack Zeus

        This crack had been there for 2 years and story was several farriers tried to fix this unsucessfully.

         Now there are some really fancy methods of lacing quarter cracks farriers are doing out there : Dremel tools used to section the hoof wall all the way down to the lamina , then drilling holes and using metal sutures to pull the crack back together and finally a plastic reconstruction/rebuilding of the hoofwall where it was sectioned. i'm going to approximate ( out here in the bay area California ) work like that will cost you 250-300$ for one foot. If the money is no issue and you have no problem with that then great you'll see some really fancy quarter crack repair for your horse and it will work and very well. The bottom line is getting your horse out of trouble and repairing the crack.

     I've dealt with quarter cracks and have always used conventional methods and have always been able to repair the problems but for the longest time i've always felt if there were some way i could use a hose clamp it would be a perfect method to squeeze a quarter crack together and that's what i'm going to show you here.

     You can notice here in the below picture Zeus's foot was very out of balance which is also why he popped the crack in the first place.  

                 Out of balance

     So here is where i went ahead and used the hose clamp. It was quite easy / worked Perfectly and i didn't have to use plactic fillers and since i had so much control of applying a squeeze to the crack with the clamp i didn't have to do any sectioning with a dremel tool - all adds up to keeping the cost down to the client.   Next Photo Please.

                      Hose clamp

      That's the clamping method. It was simple: Drill a hole or two in the rear of the hoof wall to fasten a length of the clamp slotted band. Fasten the screw mechanism of the clamp to the front of the hoof wall in the same drill/screw manner , insert slotted band into mechanism and tighten up with screwdriver and just watch it pull that crack all the way back together as far as it can go. And That's It !!!   I did wrap the foot with some vet wrap just to keep the clamp from being ripped off by anything .

     That photo you're looking at above is already showing mended hoof wall at the coronary band. I did not even have to notch the rear section of the hoof to keep it off the shoe.

     Below is what Zeus's foot looks like today - Quarter Crack repaired and much of the balance restored.

     To get balance restored sometimes takes a couple years. Since it takes approximately a full year for the hoof wall to grow a completely new hoof only so much correction and balance can be restored during the first year "Cycle" then the next cycle starts and more adjustments made to shoeing resulting in more balance. This was the case for Zeus.  By the way - if any confusion the foot is the right front.


     There was one setback with Zeus. Last year his feet had gotten very wet during the winter and the hoof wall actually drifted out of place , the whole hoof wall shifted position and was not under the leg correctly . 

      Winter can be extremely hard on your horse's feet . Hoof wall gets soft if there's alot of wet ground and if your horse has a habbit of standing on not so flat terrain that hoof wall is going stretch and bend out of shape.  That's a recipe for disaster. It takes so long to generate new hoof wall and make corrections and all it can take to ruin it all is one week of wet weather and the slanted hill your horse stands on or something similar and months of work is Lost.  So that was my round and about way of saying to keep special attention to your horse's feet during winter months , barefoot or shod it's not a good idea to let hoof wall drift when it gets soft. 

     So that's it for this time.  

     Any Questions ?  just feel free to email me directly :  it's consultation at no cost to you.    

     As usual Happy and Safe riding and always remember to

      Oh !  you may also want to take a peek into my personal horseshoeing blog at :



   John "TheFootDoctor" Silveira signing out   - take care.

A Case of Contraction
Monday 30th of November 2009 05:06 PM


Hey !  Happy Holidays.

     There's been times when i've mentioned the following when it comes to shoeing - "One thing leads to another to another and to another".  It's a serious statement and the very reason i personally take shoeing as seriously as i do and urge you to do the same.

     There's one area in particular where the above statement really holds true " Long Toe Syndrome ". If you've been following this blog at all you'll see me mention the long toe syndrome quite a bit , it's one of the real common problems that i see everywhere i go , Long toe stretches tendons , rotates coffin bones , and can bow a deep flexor tendon quite easily , and so right there you can see the connection one thing leading to another and i haven't even gotten to what i want to talk about today which is Contraction and Contracted Heels.

     When i mentioned long toe syndrome and the problems it causes i left out the following : Long Toe leads to sheered heels and then to the topic today which is Contracted Heels or Contraction and when combining all of what's already been mentioned here the real problem with the contraction is the stress it places on the Navicular Coffin Bone Joint which leads to Navicular Disease.

     What is Contracted Heels ?  Basically it's the narrowing of the heel area of the foot. Contraction isn't necessarily just a symptom of the long toe but in it's severe cases horse's can be born with it and that would be a genetic problem.

     What's the problem with the Contracted Heels ?  Not only does wider heels help support the foot in the heel area while the horse travels but that navicular bone should be the focus here. While the narrow heels in and of itself is not such a problem when thinking of how your horse travels it is a problem to the navicular bone especially if the contraction happening where before it was not.  That navicular bone needs some room to breathe inside the horses foot. Since it rests nicely against the coffin bone and that particular joint ( navicular/coffin joint ) is subject to quite a bit of abuse you'll not be wanting to put a squeeze on the navicular bone by the narrowing and Contracting heels.

     i don't have a visual example of how the process of letting your horse get longer toes actually causes the contraction so you'll need to use your imagination alittle bit here. A quick demonstration of the mechinics involved during contraction would be if you put a rubber band on the table in front of you - one that forms a complete circle nicely as it just lies there on it's side - now - put your left forefinger in one side of the rubber band and your right forefinger directly opposite on the other inside edge of the rubber band - now just very slowly pull your hands wider apart while your forefingers are there - you'll immediately notice how the width of the circle keeps narrowing.

     Below is a contracted foot - this horse was put down due to extreme contraction - it was genetic and the horse was born with the condition.  As you see at the top of the hoof (Top most part of actual Hoof) there is virtually no space between the left and right bulb of the foot - and the frog severely sunken . That's contraction.


     Now remember - this is Long Toe Syndrome in the photo below . The red lines should line up "Parallel" - the hoof angle needs to change to match up with the pastern angle depicted by the more verticle red line. 

                             Long Toe Syndrome

      And this photo below is the more desired result . I wasn't able to get the horse perfect but it's a great start and a good guide to follow.   You can see a little bit of hoof wall at the front of the foot ( long toe ) labeled "Excess Hoof". This is a marked improvement over the photo above.

                    More Correct

           So keep those toes back - if your horse has long toe you'll need to set the shoe on the foot more to the rear of the foot and actually "RASP" the excess toe OFF. You'll safely be able to move the shoe as far as the white line as long as your finished result is all in line with the pastern bone angles -  I'll cover more on Angles in another posting.

                                   KEEP THE TOES BACK .

 Happy Holidays

as usual Happy and Safe riding and always remember to

John "TheFootDoctor" Silveira

Put yourself on the mailing list early notification for the F-R-E-E eBook that's coming soon " Inside Horseshoeing Secrets of Lameness Prevention " and you'll be the first to recieve - email me at and you're good to go !  

Have Fun.



Response 1
Thursday 24th of December 2009 12:57:31 AM
Submitted by: tori abb
I appreaciated the info I do my trims myself an have a pro do the job 1 time a year to check my angle and keep me straight. I take any chance I can to learn and save a dollar. I worked for a blacksmith for a while .It isnt as easy as you guys make it look!! RIDE ON!!

The problem with Club feet
Lets go clubbing/The club footed horse
Saturday 31st of October 2009 07:02 AM


     Hello my friends. Would like to thank everyone who comments on these articles, i'm glad to hear they make a difference in your comprehension of your horse's feet.

     Today i want to touch on Club feet / the club footed horse.  It's quite common to see clubby feet , can't say i've ever seen rear feet with the condition so it's pretty safe to say club feet occur on the front feet as a rule.  Though extreme clubby feet can cause problems the good news is i've shod quite a few club footed horses that i've never had a problem with at all and that is with the horse being used nearly every day.

     So what is a club foot? In my experience it's either completely a genetic condition where the bones of the foot have just developed and grown this way , particularly the coffin bone , or the horse has a short deep flexor tendon which demands the foot grow more heel to relieve the stretch being placed on that tendon , the later is the least severe of the two.

     Let's look at a couple photos , one picture is worth a thousand words. Below is a left foot quite clubby , to a point it concerns me while the right foot is completely normal ( long and due for a trim but normal ). 

       fairly clubby foot   

      This is a example of another club foot . If you want to start to notice you'll see in clubby feet it's almost without fail the bones ( pastern bones and in severe cases even the coffin bone ) are stuffed and pressed toward the front of the horse's hoof wall, It's just Packed right up against the hoof wall . As the horse needs to walk during the forward motion those bones are being pressed even further against the front of the hoof wall. 

     You'll also notice in nearly every case the bulbs of the foot are very large , in this case you can see that because the bones ( pastern bones ) are so forward the bulbs become extra large ( the rear of the coronary band )

       more clubby feet

     In this severe case below you can also see the horse is forced to stand on the tip of the coffin bone, not only are the bones smack against the coronary band but that poor coffin bone is straight up and down , and you'll usually see all that Dish Shape to the hoof wall at the toe. look at the length of the heel as well which is quite long, With that coffin bone already pointing straight into the ground you'd not want to shorten that heel because the deep flexor tendon attached to the rear of the coffin bone is going to be forced to stretch more than it already is in turn driving that already rotated coffin bone more straight into the ground, that coffin bone can only take so much twist before it starts to rip through sensitive tissue within the foot causing internal bleeding of the foot as it rips through blood vessels.


       Having a club footed horse becomes an exercise in judgement when it comes to shoeing or trimming to maintain the soundness of the horse unfortunate to have the problem. There's no way to really assess just how exactly to trim the foot / feet for optimal foot care. Finding the happy medium is somewhat a trial and error method if you will.  Since you'll not want your horse standing on the tip of the coffin bone it's usually a good idea to shorten the heels but just how much becomes the question - remember we don't want to drive that tip of the coffin bone further downward. Use caution when trimming - Don't take off too much heel all at once.

     I've seen quite severe club footed horse's have the heels over time shortened all the way back to normal through constant trimming down in that area but i wasn't sure it was the best thing to do to the horse. The result ( i wish i had the photo ) was the foot looked more like a parrot beak to use the only analogy i can think of  and i'm sure the deep flexor tendon was stretched to the max.

     What i usually do is leave a little bit of the flare at the toe there to balance the timing of breakover with the more normal foot so the horse is more balanced in the way it's trotts off and some kind of middle path when it comes to heel length.

     For your information you should also know clubby feet are talked about/rated on a scale from one to ten - one being the least amount of clubbiness and ten being the most severe. i might say up to a 5 is workable and achieving some balance between the feet is possible but from 5 through 10 you're going to have some serious considerations with your horse when it comes to lameness prevention/ exercise extreme caution with what kind of work the horse is being asked to do. Know that with proper carea club footed horse can be managed and have a long and healthy life.

     This has just been a bare bones basic explanation. If you have any further questions please feel free to ask . Direct your questions to me personally -

     Don't forget to leave your name and email addy so you can recieve the free ebook as well.
                   "Inside Horseshoeing Secrets of Lameness Prevention"
     In it i discuss things that are not taught in the schools and textbooks so you can recognize
     issues that put your horse at risk of lameness and do something about it before problems develop.  Don't miss it.

 Thanks again for showing up. It's alwaya a pleasure.
 As usual happy and safe riding and always remember to

John Silveira 


Does your horse have soul - opps i mean "SOLE".
your horses sole - yes his foot sole .
Saturday 29th of August 2009 09:01 AM


Hello,       is everyone surviving the heat.   Just had a 100* day in San Mateo Ca. and i'm glad i didn't have to be shoeing in it ..

     I've talked a bit about sole ( your horses sole of it's foot ) a few times before but not in any great detail.  I get questions/emails from people asking for advice on what to do with the bottom of their horses foot - the sole. It finally occured to me just how touchy an area/topic "The Sole" really is. After all if your horse is going to come up sore footed after a routine trim or shoeing it's usually going to have something to do with the sole - unless it's also a HOT nail or some type of real lameness - but for the most part the sole is the first place to suspect.  So let's just jump right in here.

     I just recieved the photo below by email and the owner of the horse is having some serious problems with the horse - she's also paying 500$ for 2 front shoes . So let's take a look see.

     Any time i'm either shoeing or just trimming a foot the very first place i look to is the sole of the foot. It's right there that i'm able to establish parameters of how much sole might i be able to remove in order for me to expose hoof wall that needs to be cut off. Without doing so / without seeing if there's sole to remove and hoof wall to cut off obviously i'll just be guessing how much hoof to cut or i might not even be cutting any hoof at all out of confusion - Point is we need to find out what the condition of the sole is in the process of trimming/shoeing. If i just ignore the sole and don't take any out 9 out of 10 times the foot will grow too long and that will increase the risk of permanent lameness - and that's the last thing i want.

     What i evaluate when i'm adressing sole issues is - is this horse thin or thick soled , can i tell if this horse is "Thick Skinned" and not going to feel ouchy after trimming, when was the last shoeing so i get a feel for how fast the horse grows foot and sole as well. What's the condition of the frog in relationship to the sole ( is the frog sunken in because of excess sole ), does the sole or frog look like it's ready to shed off or has it done so already. Right here the point i want to make is these issues are critical - very critical for quite a few reasons.

     1. The biggest issue is , There's really no way to foretell or predict at what point the horse would become ouchy footed by removing sole and trimming foot. Every horse is different in that regard . I've removed sole to the point where it's very thin and the horse never complains or takes an uneasy step and i've left so much sole you'd think nothing can penetrate it and the horse is ouchy - so really - your horse's pain barrier is the most difficult thing to evaluate.

     I think for the last reason above this is where the barefoot people come in and tell you "Never remove sole" if you do you're a bad guy. But i've seen all too often by following that procedure the horse comes up seriously lame ( as in joint /tendon/ligament issues ) because by not removing sole the foot becomes too long not enough hoof wall is being trimmed and now you have a permanently lame horse.

     Personally my opinion is to overcome the risk of permanent lameness adressing seriously - the sole of the foot is in order. So let's just look at this foot below as a simple example ok ? 

     My first clue this horse is carrying too much sole is looking at the depth the frog is recessed into the foot. You can see even at the point of the frog the sole is so thick the point is recessed by oh possibly a half inch.  That sole is extremely thick and since not all sole will shed itself the sole is just building up and up and up.

     Looking at the heel area i see the frog is really healthy - it's growing very well , but i also see the sole has extended far above the frog . Look at the right side of the photo at the heel area -  You can see easily 1/2 inch of hoof wall directly at the heel extending over the frog - and if you look at those grooves on each side of the frog  you see the bars of the foot are growing seriously up higher than the frog as well. Just these things alone tell me there's tons of sole on this horse and through experience i know a horse with this much sole growth usually won't have issues by taking some sole out. 

    Here's what's going on here though - it's always a question remember of will this horse get ouchy if i trim it's feet - if i don't trim the feet it could come up permanently lame. A little ouchy if far less of the two evils . So right here before we've taken any sole the problem is even if i got my hoof testers out to try and establish if this horse is "Tender footed in general " there's so much sole on this horse my testers will prove useless - so i still have no way of knowing this horse's sensitivity levels - UNLESS we know the history of the horse and the owner tells me "This horse comes up alittle bit ouchy after trims - or - this horse can't stand it after a trim and it always takes 2 weeks before i can ride it again.  See what i'm saying here ?

     There's one other tell tale sign below in the photo this horse is carrying extra ordinary amount of sole .   Do you see on the sides of the foot where there are what look like separation of the sole from the hoof wall ?  of course .  That tells me the sole has grown sooooo thick that it's actually not even adhering to the hoof wall anymore and is separating .  

     And just so you know more of the picture here - this horse has LONG TOE SYNDROME. Because the farrier is NOT removing any of the excess sole he has not been able to trim enough HOOF WALL at the toe so horse's angles are incorrect - the foot labors on the ground stretching tendons and i have a strong suspicion that's all what has caused this horse to become lame .  And now she's paying 500$ every shoeing just for front shoes because rather than take sole out and trim this horse correctly they're avoiding the whole sole issue and slapping pad after wedge pad after pad along with plastic coated shoes and more wedge pads add nauseum.


     So what would i do here.  i'd take my hoof nippers and hook the sole with the jaw of my nipper right in that groove around one side of the frog and the other side of my nipper jaw would be on the outside of the hoof - i'd give a slight tugg and that sole that can't shed just because sometimes they just don't would pop right off . I'd work my way around and at the heel areas ane pop all the extra sole right out.  At that point once removed and before using my hoof knife at all i'd start pressing around on the sole to see how thin or thick the natural / live sole is. If i can tell it's rather thin then i won't just start removing any more sole BUT since i DID take that shedding sole out now i'll have hoof wall to cut .

     I'd clean up any loose bits of sole on the bottom from popping the old sole out and i'd trim the excess hoof wall . The horse's angles are improved - reducing stress and stretch on tendons and improving breakover for the horse the way it walks.

     If this is going to be a barefoot horse this is where we find out if it's a candidate for actually being barefoot or would be better with shoes. NOT EVERY HORSE IS GOING TO BE ABLE TO GO BAREFOOT !!!   Just doesn't work that way -  You can try to condition a horse's feet to go barefoot for months and months and the horse will just never get past having ouchy feet - so you need to find out . If you don't want to go through the hassle of conditioning and conditioning and having an ouchy horse during the process then simply put shoes on the horse - get the shoeing done correctly and be done with it and not worry.

     Keep in mind also that some horses can even be ouchy on the soles of their feet even with shoes on - so some horses just need and have to have a hard pad inbetween the foot and the shoe for protection.  These are just part of the variables that need to be discovered for your or any particular horse. 

     There's one thing i left out that has an influence on your horse's ability to go barefoot or not and that's whether or not the horse is flat footed or the bottom of the foot has a NICE DISH SHAPE.  The dish shape is a concave surface to the bottom of the foot which RAISES itself farther from the ground surface - so the sole is farther away from sharp objects such as rocks - and this can be a GREAT THING - i actually much prefer to see horse's feet with a nice dish shape - most of the horses i work on with that shape have the least sensitivity issues - they're better candidates for the barefoot approach if that's what you prefer.

     On the other hand if your horse is somewhat flat footed where the sole is flat with the bottom of the hoof AND your horse is the Sensitive to pain type - well chances are you're gonna have a tough case and your horse most likely won't be able to go barefoot comfortably- EVER. Thoroughbreds are classic examples of this.

     So i hope this has helped you understand alittle more what it takes  to get things done correctly for your horse.  Understanding Sole will allow you to make better decisions for your horse's feet and that's just one more ounce of prevention you have in your arsenal to keep your beloved animal healthy happy and rideable for a long time to come.

     thank you for stoppin in - hope you enjoyed it.  you can find more info at my personal blog -

You may feel free to email me personally with a question or ask for advice at the following -    I have a free EBook coming out you can put your name and email in and request the book "Inside Horseshoeing Secrets of Lameness Prevention"...

 This is John Silveira "TheFootDoctor" Signing out - happy and safe riding and always remember to  


Response 1
Wednesday 2nd of September 2009 12:35:17 PM
Submitted by: Caren a/k/a Pony Rider
John, Thanks so much for such a clear explanation about soles and tender-footedness after trims. I've had questions about how much sole my farrier was taking off for years and why my POA would sometimes be sore after a trim. My farrier couldn't explain it so I could understand it, but you made it seem so simple! Now I can be pretty sure that my guy is doing the right thing for my ponies' soles. Thanks again for the reassurance!

What's wrong with Pigeon toes
Pigeon toes
Saturday 18th of July 2009 12:22 AM

Hello , How's everyone's riding ?  Great i'm hoping.

          In the past here we've discussed briefly wear patterns on horses shoes and feet. If you're looking to understand balance and to get your horse correct understanding wear patterns and breakover point is key.

          Every horse obviously has wear patterns and breakover point but what's very little understood is the wear pattern and breakover point both are dictated by where the knees on your horse are pointing. There is a big missunderstanding i'd like to point out right now , as follows , even if your horse's feet are pointing straight ahead which is considered correct conformation there's really about a 98% chance your horse is still pigeon toed .

          In my experience which is in it's 18th year as a farrier of all the horses i've ever worked on or examined only one - that's ONE had a knee that pointed almost straight ahead - and that's only ONE knee - the other knee was pointing outward. What i'm saying is 97-98% of horses are pigeon toed because the knees point farther outward than the feet do and since the knee dictates breakover and wear pattern the horse will be pigeon toed - and yes , EVEN if your horse's feet are pointing straight ahead.

          Here's something that may confuse you now. If your horse's knees point outward and most likely do but the feet are pointing outward ( as though toes OUT ) but the feet line up with where the knees point - you got lucky , the feet line up with the knee and the foot will break over where it belongs .   smile - don't worry - don't focus on just that if you're not understanding this point - what i really want is to just show you a quick easy way to identify a pigeon toed condition. It's a very good indication of the truth . The following photo is a classic example.

                    pigeon toed 

          If you just look at that rasp , i've placed it directly center of the direction the frog is pointing .  The rasp is drawing a line up and down through the foot showing the direction the foot is pointing. Now if you look at the rasp and see how the rasp does not line up with the knee right there you'll see the rasp is over by quite a few inches and is NOT lined up with the knee at all.  Since that happened to be the right front foot of the horse it's indicating the pigeon toed horse.

          That's the easy method. The other is to walk to the front of your horse and instead of standing directly in front of your horse stand directly in front of where one knee points - i will just about guarantee you you'll not be standing in front of your horse but more off to the side. Then just quickly shift your eye to the foot - if the foot is not directly in line with that knee the foot is out of balance and most likely pigeon toed. I've yet to see a horse whose feet point farther outward than the knee , so to me there are no real toed out horses .

         So practice , look at your horse from the front and from the bottom of his foot. Also if your horse has shoes look at the wear patterns on the shoes themselves. Remember , wherever the knee points is exactly where the foot will break over and is exactly how the wear pattern on the shoe develops.

         Before i go for now i want to encourage you NOT to use old school methods to correct a toeing problem . The old school method is to shorten one side of the foot or the other which forces the foot into a different direction to correct which ever toe in or toe out condition it is . The problem is this method will put your horse's foot out of level , meaning the coffin bone will not be horizontal like it's suppose to be. Not only will the foot no longer be level but the joints have also been rotated in a clockwise or counter clockwise manner - neither of these states are good for the horse's joint , bone , tendon and ligament.    There is a way to adress toeing conditions properly and that's for a different article - it's a bit complex , so you'll need to come back .

          If you can recognize your horse has issues you're one step closer to correct maintenance and prevention of lameness .  Ignorance is not bliss . 

          Hope your riding season goes forward wonderfully and enjoy the weather.

John Silveira.    Farrier, Bay Area Ca.

blog: Http://   

Stay up to date on when I blog! Subscribe to my feed, and be the first to know when I update!

RSS Feed

This site contains information on horses for sale, equine for sale, horses for lease, trucks and equipment for sale, trailers for sale, livestock real estate for sale, and horse real estate for lease. 
Another feature of this website is that there are classified listings for horse real estate for sale, horse accessories for sale, dogs for sale, stallions for sale, stallions for lease. 
Further more this website has information on classified ads horse site, buying a horse, buying a truck, buying a trailer, buying livestock real estate, buying horse real estate, buying horse accessories, buying stallions, buying classified ad space, classified ad space, miscellaneous tack and equipment, buying miscellaneous tack and equipment, placing a classified ad online, finding horses online. 
If you are looking for horse equipment online, buying horses online, buying horse equipment online, advertising your horse, free text ads, free horse ads, low price horse ads, low price photo ads, low price photos ads for horses, buying horses online, buying ads online, horse ads online make sure and visit our website. 
This webpage has horse classifieds online, online classified ads and is a horse marketplace, one place for all your horse needs and we specialize in easy internet sales, search horses for sale. 

This website is your equine source, your only source for equine related items, your only equine source and the source for equine related products. 
Use this website to view your source for horses, your only source for horses, your horse source. 
Enjoy this website with free text links, free text link exchange. free horse link exchange, free horse text ad exchange, equine classified site, equine classified ad site, horse classified ads, horse selling, selling horses, selling horse products, finding horses online, selling horses online.
List your stallions at stud, stallion standing, stallion at stud showcase, or see our stallion showcase.