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The Basic PROCESS - Horseshoeing 101
Thursday 7th of May 2009 11:41 PM

Hello again , it's been a while , been focusing on transcribing the book "Inside Horseshoeing Secrets of Lameness Prevention" into a new format to make available to you as well as Amazon. Had a setback or two along the way but it's coming along , coming soon. Please put yourself on the Priority Notice list to recieve the book (Free of Charge ) by just simply leaving your name and email address with me at , you'll be first to be notified when available. Thank you and thanks for showing up .

          I want to just jump right in today with showing you the basic shoeing process from start to finish. It's the very basic concept - it's "Correct" but will cover some of the hangups and misconceptions/fears prominent still in the industry in general. I think you'll like this , it should prove enlightening to an extent , but remember this is just the very basic , the bigger enlightening moments will come to you when you put yourself on the priority list for recieving the book.

          So this following bit is on a horse that i had last shod 6 months ago. I can't tell you why the owner lets this horse go that long between shoeings , just that she does. So here's the first look. 

                               6 months

          As you can see this horse is extremely long in the toe , is actually getting hoof wall stretch as a result and a bit of sheered heels too. You couldn't pay me to ride this horse in this shape. This condition will rotate coffin bones, put undue stress on the navicular bone and also encourage bowed tendons. I've seen this type of thing cause permanent stretch on the deep flexor tendon to the point the fetlock joint was nearly horizontal.  Yes i know it's hard to even think about so let's move forward on what to do about this.  Sorry but here's the view from the other side of horse. You really need to see to help your eyes know the difference between what's right and what's not.

                               uncared for feet

          First thing when i deal with a horse like this is i know i'm going to have to peel out a lot of this horses sole. This is one of those areas that some people throw up their arms screaming "oh you can't take sole out - the horse will get sore", I'm sorry but you just can't work on a horses feet and get things corrected without usually taking some sole out. Look at this photo below , the sole is shedding off , it's a natural process , i barely tugged on one side of the sole and huge chunks of sole just came falling out ! If this horse were to be running at speed most of that sole would come flying out of there on it's own anyway. Here's the photo.

                                adressing the sole

          I don't know how else to explain this to you except to say the only way you are going to know where to cut this hoof wall to the correct length is to remove that sole. What you are already seeing here is almost 1" of sole that has been popped out of that foot. That white area is just the begining of more fresh sole - i removed almost another 1" after getting to this point. The end result which you will see in the next photo was i actually cut off about 2 full inches of hoof. There's only one way to do this correctly , really !   (-:    I've been doing this for almost 20 years now. 

          There's some groups out there talking about how horses are supposto stand with 80% of the horse's weight being beared on the sole , and how it's necessary to pump blood through the foot , i am sorry but i don't buy that for one minute. Not the least. If horses were supposto be standing on their soles they'd all be flat footed but most horses feet are shaped in a concave manner meaning the sole is farther away from the ground " FOR A REASON " i'd say. I won't go into all the logistics about tender feet and toughening barefoot horse's feet here it would take a whole volume in itself. Horses pump blood through their feet through other means , aside from the frog the whole bone column entering the foot from above drives downard from the horse's immense weight and presses downard then upward causing blood pumping in it's own right. Anyway like i said i could go on and on just about this aspect - but lets move forward again - i want to keep this brief and easy to grasp.

         This following photo shows you the very typical amount of sole removal necessary to get your horse's foot to the correct length - again - if i didn't remove this sole the foot would still be unnecessarily long when finished putting shoes on , and that's just not what you want when it comes to lameness prevention.  Here you go - check it out.

                                half way to full trim

          The photo is pretty self explanatory but as you can see i've just gotten to what is called "Live Sole" . This horse happens to have very thick and tough sole. I don't want to keep anything from you so i'll mention right here there are limits to how far you can trim sole out of the foot , just like dogs in a way you can only go so far before you'll hit the quick and you can reach blood vessels and OUCH you'll likely have a tender foot.  I'm certainly NOT recommending a complete novice go digging into a foot with wild abandon. Ok lets move on again. We're just about ready for shoe placement.

                                first look at your good work

          The above is the result of getting all that sole out of there and cutting the hoof wall to the correct length prepped for shoeing. Angles are already looking pretty good. To my eye the toe still looks just a bit too far forward , ease of breakover is ( how easy the foot is able to leave the ground ) is important - we're still talking lameness "Prevention".   And moving forward - Shoe Placement.

                                shoe placement

          Ok - what you're seeing here is that i've moved the shoe to the rear of the foot because of that bit of long toe talked about earlier. Doing so also allows for some extra shoe at the rear of the foot which aids support in the heels - all of this again is all important to Lameness Prevention !  trust me.  That long toe is what gives Race Horses speed but it's also responsible for blown and bowed tendons - that's NOT Lameness Prevention OK ?   With me ??  (-:    I could right here go into debates about how putting shoes on horses feet stops expansion of the foot and stops the frog from ground contact all hindering blood circulation , i've already written articles on this and disproved these things so won't complicate things here with all that - so moving on .........

                                The simple result

          There is your result ! The toe is back where it belongs easing breakover and easing all the stress on the joints, the angles are looking pretty spot on and there's decent heel support for the back of the foot , This is good!   To be honest this came out much better than i expected it to considering what i started with.  That bit of hoof wall rasping at the toe ? ( DO NOT BE ALARMED ) i've done it this way for almost 20 years now with NEVER a problem , and that's not to say it's just blind luck and the disaster just hasn't happened yet - a disaster is not going to happen - it just isn't - 18 years experience at this trade and knowledge gives me every confidence - GOOD LORD the anxiety out there surrounding horse's feet is incredible !!!  

          There's much more to shoeing , this has been just first basic. The more you understand feet the better horse person you'll be. There really is so much going on and so much to know about and there's so much different information out there to weed through and that's the reason i wrote the book - cut through the BS and cut to the chase and just get down to the core of things. There's a correct way to do this and once you get it you'll know you got it.  Sign up for the book " Inside Horseshoeing Secrets of Lameness Prevention" it's free - Just leave your name and email address with me , again - it's   

          Oh and here's the happy horse standing on his new feet - believe me this horse is really feeling the difference - i walked him out of his stall with his head hanging and walking as though he was feeling something was going to break !  poor guy . 

                               Happy Horse with new feet

                      You know "Correct" shoeing really does make a difference. The horse's feel it and appreciate it. Take this seriously , your horse is depending on you.

                 I always say " It only takes Once to have a permanently lame horse".       

                 Get this figured out for yourself - you don't have to depend on your farrier , i don't like saying it but they're wrong too many times.

There you go !   It's been my pleasure to be here. Hope to hear from you and sign up for the book - it's easy and it's free -

    As usual happy and safe riding and always remember to

 John "TheFootDoctor" Silveira  





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