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My Zimbio

Unsuitable practice
Destructive Practices
Tuesday 6th of May 2008 01:24 PM


    I get alot of emails from people needing help with their horses feet and lameness. You can contact me as well for any reason at . Feel free to send photos just as the person did with the photo below , it's a huge help.  Lets talk about what you're seeing below.

    What you are seeing is a freshly trimmed ( by a farrier ) foot. You'll notice several things , 1- the foot is getting flare at the toe - if you follow your eyes from the hairline at the front of the foot and then toward the ground surface of the foot you'll detect the flare.  2 - you'll notice the sole of this foot protruding farther than the actual hoof wall by quite a bit. This is somewhat as though standing on a rock in your shoe , if this horse is the sensitive type it may be experiencing some pain or at the least be feeling reluctant to walk on it's own foot. 3- With so much sole left this foot is much longer than it should be and giving another 8 weeks between the trimming by next trim this foot will be in worse shape than it is now.

     None of the above conditions are healthy for this horses foot and soundness.


       The fix for this foot is simple: The Farrier ( if he knew his job ) would simply take his nippers and grab the area of sole at the toe with his nippers and start to give a slight tug and the whole extra old sole would start to pop out. Then trim the extra bars of the foot and reshape the sole with the hoof knife and you'll easily see another half inch or more of hoof could be nipped / shortened. Half inch or more is easily 8 weeks plus of hoof growth. As this foot stands ( even with it just having been trimmed ) it's as though there is already at least 8 weeks of growth. Not good ! 

        Obviously the Farrier doing this work is leaving this horse at risk of getting worse and lameness - This could have been your horse. This is just one aspect - one of many things that Farriers don't do correctly that lead to lameness . This person who owns the horse above is relying on her farrier , just like everyone else does , in this case she is informed and educated enough to notice the problems , had she not been educated this horse would remain at risk. So i encourage you to get informed . You'll be finding alot of information here as we keep covering all the nuances.  Don't miss out and leave your horse at risk.

      In the mean time if you want some help with anything you know how to get ahold of me --->    

     Also would like to announce the Ebook "Inside Horseshoeing Secrets of Lameness Prevention" , you can take a quick look at 

Thanks again - happy and safe riding

John "TheFootDoctor" Silveira 


Response 1
Thursday 8th of May 2008 08:48:26 AM
Submitted by: W. Boggs
Looks like the same farrier's work that worked on one of my horses. Darn near made my horse go lame. The best farrier I ever has was keith Curtiss from Riverside Washington.

Bozo The Clown feet ? Coffin Bone Rotation
Destructive Practices
Thursday 17th of April 2008 12:29 AM


Hello ! The Foot Doctor here.  How's it going?

If you've been reading along you've heard me mention Bozo the clown feet and coffin bone rotation. Here's a picture of about 9 degrees rotation of the coffin bone on a little pony i'm taking care of. The pony foundered so this isn't a Bozo incident, nevertheless coffin bone rotation is serious.

As you can see the point of the coffin bone is very close to the ground ( the tip is pointing down ), sometimes this point of the coffin bone will ( in severe cases ) actually protrude through the bottom of the foot. God Forbid.

One of the other posts here was about the horse Big Al who did actually have some of the worst Bozo feet i've seen. When you look at the sole of his foot/feet there was alot of blood woven through the sole and a big blood blister there as well. Big Al was getting rotation of the coffin bone causing the bloody sole.

Right now i just wanted you to see what rotation is and how close that coffin bone can get to the ground which makes it very vulnerable to rocks that can actually break it.

OK ?  so check it out - notice how the tip of the coffin bone is pointing downard. Real quick just let me say -  "The coffin bone is also called P3 - the next bone up is called P2 and next is P1".  You should also notice that when the coffin bone points downard P2 and P3 are forced into conflicting angles ( one tilts in the opposite direction of the other ) which is not good " Arthritis " is a common result.

OK - here you go.   study up   (-:

               Coffin Bone rotation

Allright now ,   next time we'll go deeper again.

As usual happy and safe riding .

John The Foot Doctor Silveira 

remember to sign up for the hoof pick giveaway - one per month - these are totally custom made , hand forged horse head hoof picks , forged by me . They come personalized with your name hot stamped right into the steel.   Just leave me a email with your physical mailing address and name at 

visit me at

You can also get free consultation by me at the same email address as above.

thanks so much  ,            see you next time

Wild Rampant Controversy , will it ever stop.
Destructive Practices
Saturday 12th of April 2008 09:28 PM

 Hello Hello , The Foot Doc here. Enjoying your weekend?  I am . just got back from the coast shoeing a couple horses. 

This post is about controversy. Also confusion and more missconceptions , in fact the incorrect conceptions are still taught in the schools and textbooks which boggles the imagination in this day and age. I run into these issues all the time and just shake my head in wonder sometimes these problems still exist in the Farrier industry and even at the Education level.  So lets dig in here. What i'm explaining here is one of the most important aspects of shoeing - so file this one in your memory banks.

I was called out to shoe the horse in the photo yesterday. As i was trimming the foot i realized the hairline (Coronary Band) was not level (Horizontal) after i had indeed trimmed the foot level. As i realized this i remembered the conversation ( argument ) i had on a horseshoeing blog with a guy that was proposing the correct way to trim a foot level was to make sure the hairline was horizontal. He went as far in his argument to even quote from some other apparently well known farrier. The Argument is that the hoof wall is attached to the foot by ligaments which dictate a level foot being hairline horizontal. I'm here to tell you it's just not so - yet a current prevelant practice.

I told this fellow on the blog i didn't need to quote anyone to know he's wrong about this aspect of shoeing. I then went on to explain the proper and only way to accurately trim a foot for level is to use the bones themselves as the starting measuring point. Here's the truth - if you don't trim the foot so the bones themselves are in alignment and level then the foot isn't trimmed correctly irregardless of what the hairline at the hoof is doing.

The bones in the foot , particularly the pastern bones including the coffin bone , ride in a very limited way of moving - basically just forward and backward as the horse walks. I'll be posting a bone study which will help you understand if i'm being too vague here. With that said it's the bones , let me repeat that "The Bones" that need to be aligned and aligned correctly. Establishing a level foot is really quite simple once you get the way to do it correctly understood. It's a bit difficult to explain in text so i'll also be producing for you a short video which will clear this up for you if you're not quite getting it.

To establish level all one has to do is move the foot in the natural way it moves , in the same way as the horse walks and look directly at the bottom of the foot (Hoof ) as you move the foot in this manner . It's visually obvious which side of the foot is longer or shorter in relationship to the exact - i repeat " The Exact " way the foot moves. So if you trim the hoof so there is not one side longer in this manner you're guaranteed the foot will be level. There's simply no other way to accurately measure for a level foot and this way of doing it is very very accurate.  Well i suppose you could take Xrays of the foot each time you nip some hoof wall off and then be sure but that rediculous isn't it?

Ok. Now if you look at the photo of the left rear foot you'll see that hairline is quite not so level ( horizontal ) in fact it's quite off , according to conventional wisdon and what my friend on his blog was saying , this foot then is not level based on the hairline method of measuring. What i want to tell you with as much assurity as the sun is coming up in the morning , if i trimmed that side of that left rear foot that looks longer so the hairline would then be horizontal that poor horses joint would be jacked around , it would be binding on the lateral side of the joints and it would also be twisted toward the outside as well. Neither of those two events are the least bit desirable to your horses soundness. In fact both of those conditions will lead your horse to some serious lameness and possibly permanent lameness. 

Again , i'm here to point out all the fallicies and misconceptions and incorrect methods of shoeing ( and there are many ) so you and your horse don't fall into the trap. You sitting there reading this need to know , that trap is a deep one. It can ruin you psychologically, financially, emotionally and more if you end up putting a horse down (Your horse) because someone isn't doing things right with your horses feet. 

Look !  i just got a call from a client yesterday who is getting another new horse. She told me the horses feet are way off - she told me who is shoeing the horse - turns out the Farrier is one of the most popular farriers in the bay area who charges upwards of 200 bucks per shoeing. What is up ?? This farrier has over 40 years in the industry. I've seen this farriers work . One guy came up to me one day asking me if i would look at his horse because he could tell the horse was having some kind of problems with it's feet - i took one look at the horses feet as he brought the horse out and i almost fainted. The horse could barely walk - it's head was hanging on the ground practically so unhappy. The horses feet were so twisted out of shape and so far grown out of balance the poor guy could hardly walk.  The worst part is the owner had been riding the poor horse like this. The poor horse was on the verge of blowing.  oh well - this kind of thing gets my blood going.

Anyway look at the photo just notice that hairline and how crooked it is , and just get used to accepting the fact that some visual aspects of what a foot looks like are not guidelines to use in the method or process of shoeing - this photo/hairline is one of them.  I'll discuss more of these kind of things later. I promise.  You hang with this and i promise soon you'll not ever have the wool pulled over your eyes about shoeing ever again.    OK ?       here's the photo.  Left rear.


You have a good weekend .  As usual happy and safe riding.

John " The Foot Doctor " Silveira

ps.  You can get full personal consultation by me for any of your horseshoeing concerns at no cost to you whatsoever - FREE .   That's a value.  You can send me photos whatever .  Just contact me personally at

also please remember to sign up for the hoof pick giveaway which is also absolutely free to you. These are Custom one of a kind hand forged (By me) horse head personalized with your name hot stamped into the metal hoof picks made out of half a horse shoe. They fit the hand wonderfully and work great too -  just go and sign up - go now it's right here   


Consequences of hoof stretch
Destructive Practices
Thursday 10th of April 2008 08:34 PM

Hello , it's been quite the week. How are you doing?

Here's a photo of a horse i was recently asked to shoe with some of the worst hoof stretch i've ever seen. If you look closely at the heel area you can see what is nearly a right angle at the heel where the hoof just completely lost integrity and crashed into stretch.

I don't want you to think hoof wall is completely static and not capable of stretch and even severe stretch. So not only can a foot become too long but the hoof wall can also completely change shape.

The photo in this case shows the hoof was not being trimmed , so it became long , but also due to the length the hoof wall stretched forward. The redlines show where the foot should be in relation to the pastern bones. The red line at the foot should line up with the red line at the pastern bones. When the hoof comes into line with the pastern bones the horse is at it's "Natural Angle".

In my opinion this horse was neglected. It is a backyard horse and the owner is not new to horses, she should know better. I've seen cases like this one with the toe long and stretched forward where the pastern joint was slammed nearly all the way to the ground from the deep flexor tendon being over stretched from the long toe. In that case the horse was permanently ruined.

The problem with a long toe or a foot that's stretched like above is the foot has a very hard time "Breaking over" - the foot is very slow to leave the ground as the horse is moving forward. When this happens the body of the horse keeps moving forward but the foot is somewhat stuck to the ground. This is where the deep flexor tendon starts to stretch. Since the deep flexor tendon is connected to the back side of the coffin bone ( the last bone in the foot ) now the coffin bone is also being tugged upon and coffin bone rotation starts to occur , and there's more. So not only is the foot laboring which inhibits proper motion or gait ( which means he or she isn't moving correctly ) but all that stretch on the deep flexor is now also putting undue pressures on the navicular bones in side the foot - the last thing you want is to encourage a navicular problem for the horse.

The photo is similar ( very similar ) to the horse previously talked about "Big Al" the police horse. You can see what hapened to big Al - look at the photo of his foot - the sole of his foot is full of blood.  This long toe condition is one of the quickest ways to ruin a horse. To bring the point home all you need to do is some homework on race horses and how many of them get "Bowed tendons" . Race horses are shod with a longer toe because it increases speed - the long toe acts as a lever which propels the horse forward with greater speed , but the trade off is blown tendons. It shocks me to think of how many race horses are ruined this way ( due to long toe ) and how acceptable a practice/sacrafice this is in the racehorse circuits.   

What i want you to realize is this , Long toe in the first place can permanently cripple your horse , if you have a horse with long toe and you're actually riding it the risk of lameness increases , then if your riding is in the hills or trail riding your risk of lameness increases further.   Any hard riding with long toe is a real No No , if that's what's going on you're just asking for trouble - vet bills - grief - anxiety - worry - fear - time spent in rehab - loss of riding time - possible permanent injury to the horse - and finally maybe putting the horse down .

So give the photo a real study . Train your eyes to notice this condition - "You" can be the one to start to recognize these foot characteristics and "You" can be the one to tell your farrier when something is getting out of balance with your horses feet. I've mentioned this before " Don't just rely or trust your farrier is doing things right ," truth is all too many times they're not doing things right , and all too many times the horse owner and the horse are the ones that suffer the consequences. I want to get you to where you can prevent that - stop it before it starts. Stop it right in it's tracks.

Some of these conditions i'll be talking about with you "Creep up on you" they're not really noticable instantaneously,  the changes are happening slowly until one day you look at the feet and you realize somethings not right. Hopefully at that point you've been lucky enough the horse has not come up lame and it's not too late to turn things around and make improvements and bring the horse back into balance.  If you can't recognize these things for yourself , well , then hopefully you have alot of good Karma coming your way.        so ~~

Next time i'll be going deeper. There's a bit more to cover. One thing will tie to the other and all of a sudden you'll start having lightbulb moments where this whole foot understanding will really come together for you.  I was just having a talk about this with a client today who has had horses for years , she was talking about just how really difficult it is to get a good farrier and how so many that she has had are to put it politely "Just Terrible". If you don't know what to tell your farrier - well then you're leaving the fate of your horse up to the Farrier . Not for long i say.      

Ok - check the photo out closely - and as usual happy and safe riding.

Hoof Stretch


Till next time

John "The Foot Doctor" Silveira  


Consequences of incorrect shoeing
Destructive Practices
Wednesday 2nd of April 2008 04:05 PM

Bloody Feet                              

"TheFootDoctor" here.  How are you today?

What i want to do is start off by showing you the bad, the type of shoeing i see in the field. These are consequences of Farrier practices. And what unsuspecting horse owners are at risk of.  Horses feet is a serious subject , i really can't over emphasize this point enough.

All horses are different , some very sensitive to changes in the feet while others seem to endure anything, but when horses come up lame it's not a joking matter. If you're one of the fortunate few that have not ever had a lame horse consider yourself very lucky. If your horse ever does come up lame ( i certainly hope not ) it will rock your world, it will stop you right in your tracks. If it doesn't , if you don't think horses feet matter then maybe you shouldn't own horses, i for one don't want to hear about a lame horse because someone didn't care enough. ( There's that tough love again ).

I want to push some buttons here , make you take a close look at yourself and what you're allowing with your horses feet - after all it is your responsibility isn't it ?  Or are you the type that is just going to blame your horseshoer and act like you didn't have anything to do with it. It's your horse right ? You own it right ? isn't it your responsibility then to provide and make sure the horse gets the best ?  To be honest with you the only way you can be sure your horse is getting it's feet taken care of properly is if "YOU" know the truth about shoeing "Yourself".  Don't just "Hope" your farrier is doing things right - don't just rely on the farrier reputation.  Knowing for yourself is the best protection. Your horses future is depending on it. Believe me you'll kick yourself if your horse comes up lame.  We want to prevent that.    OK ---

The photo above is of a big ole horse named Al. Al's a retired Police horse. He was being shod by a farrier on a regular basis. I had a client already at the barn and was out to shoe when i was asked to take a look at Big Al. What i saw left me nearly speechless. I simply could not imagine any horseshoer that could leave a horses feet to look like what my eyes were seeing. The Bozo The Clown feet i mention ( where the hoof sticks way out in front of the horse ) was the worst i have ever seen.

So it was decided i shoe Al. I want to tell you that as i started to trim his foot/feet that it took me literally 4 times to cut back hoof wall. I would cut a full cut with the hoof nippers,  clean the sole out - take another full cut , clean the sole and this went on for four repetitions. Good lord !   Beyond comprehension to me.

So what the photo above is showing you is what happens to horses feet when that "Bozo the Clown" condition exists as severely as it had in this case.  The Blood !!  Do you see that blood in the bottom of the foot ?   How can you miss it right ? That blood came from the extreme torque being applied to Als foot as he would walk. The extreme length of toe out in front of Al's feet stop and prevent the horses foot from breaking over so he can walk, the result is what  you are seeing (Blood / ripped tissue - extreme coffin bone rotation ) and poor Al was certainly not a happy horse. Al was actually being trail ridden this way. Trail riding , going up hills particularly, puts extreme loads on the feet all of which made things worse for Al and all contributing to what you're seeing in the photo.

This can happen to your horse , any horse.

So keep coming back here , i'm going to be sending a sequence of photos one at a time of "The Bad". I want you to see what's not correct , train your eyes so to speak to what can lead to disasters and lameness. If you can recognize these things on your own horses feet as they start to develop ( before it's too late ) then you can stop the process of lameness , and that's what this blog is all about .   Now please participate here in the blog - Leave your comments - ask questions - what are your current concerns about your horses feet ?    

Till next time, this is John "TheFootDoctor" Silveira                                               

happy and safe riding.

by the way , a reminder , i give horse consultation at no cost , that's "FREE" at the following : you can email me directly at the following address :         


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