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 John@Care4Horses.com
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 http://Farrieritis.Care4Horses.com