Adams Blog

 

Applying a poultice

It seems we tend to think Abscesses are a winter thing and something we don't really need to worry about till the wet season. But this isn't true at all, basically an abscess occurs when bacteria or foreign matter enters the horny regions of the hoof. There are various way nail - quick, sole puncture etc. I have had a few cases lately where tiny little stones have worked in to sensitive areas as a result of softer hooves, most were under the shoe so hard to see when picking feet out but a real trouble causer. Any hoof abscess can cause a lot of soreness which generally alerts the owner to call the vet. There are some pretty simple steps you can take to ensure you are on the right track with you diagnoses. A horse with any kind of injury in there foot will have heat on and around the dorsal hoof wall and will have a digital pulse which can be identified by gently placing the hand around the front of the pastern just above the hoof. You will feel the pulse more digital in one rather than the other leg indicating which hoof needs the treatment.

Most of the time the farrier or vet will locate the exact area where the injury is brewing and use the hoof knife to extract a drain to release the infection pus etc. This exercise actually brings the horse pretty sound straight away but will require a poultice to keep the area clean and also draw out any remaining infection out.

Poultice # I generally use a few different types of poultice ingredients but there are some good products that appear in most mixtures. Epson salts is a brilliant drawer of bruising and infection from the hoof also mixed with bran or even wheat-bix.

I mainly use a nappie with my mixture placed directly on the sole or over the area in question. The nappie will then be wrapped tightly with a vet wrap type bandage. I then use duct tape over the whole hoof to protect and make it last while walking around in the box over night.

I would normally leave the 1st one on for just over 6-7 hours and check we are drawing something out if there is no sign of infection in our nappie I will then wrap in glad wrap to try and heat the foot up some times draws it out quicker.

I don't like leaving these on longer than 12-16 hours as these can sometimes be applied poorly or shift and be to tight around the leg.

 

     

 

Shoeing for track surface

The way a horse is shod & the type of shoe he wears, can make a difference on how well and how safely he can run. Shoeing racehorses in this country has never really taken into account the track surface or conditions of the turf, take the week while i write this blog we I had horses racing in many different venues from extremely wet track in the central districts, a wet Forbury, perfect Addington, Heavy 11 at Marlborough and hard & fast Rangiora, all these venues featured very different track surfaces.

The proper amount of traction is crucial, but how much is detrimental or helpful in various situations.

I think the safety factor is paramount but I wonder if more attention is needed when we are shoeing racehorses for different track surfaces, whether we are hindering or helping horses the way they are shod at present. Basically there will be a winner in every race but I know a lot of horses racing would be improved with a little more attention in what they are wearing on their feet, I'm not suggesting traction devices or calked heels just finding a happy medium.

In watching slow motion video help us better understand how horses move & help to see the difference in movement on all-weather vs grass. It is interesting in watching the difference in what happens during the sliding phase of the stride, it is not just as simple as just putting shoes on & getting on to the next horse.

The tracks in Canterbury are all well maintained but there is no way they can be equal.

At race speeds reaching 40 kmh the hoof hits the track approximately 150 times a minute. The hoof remains on the ground for a sixth of a second each time in what is known as mid stance phase, at the mid stance phase there are several stages that have potential for causing injury.

Certain track properties influence the force of the hoof & potential cause for injury to bones & soft tissues in the whole leg.

We know the sliding phase is important as long as the hoof is balanced correctly a hoof can slide up to 4 inches but it does depend on track surface. This is the problem we endeavour most of the horse I shoe are shod as a result of the trainer deciding on a style and sticking with it.

For example a horse will get down on its bumpers out of the blue and immediately it has 3 degree raised aluminium I will rather find out why it got down rather than add a band aid to solve the problem. Most of the time I imagine it has a lot to do with track surfaces and the various gait changes that come with it. Most of the time the horses getting down on their bumpers are at the end of the shoeing cycle and more than 99% are fixed by rebalancing the hoof to a 50/50 balance from the centre of articulation. But there seems to be a factor that keeps me coming back to different track surfaces.

I also wonder if the toe grab is really helping, I use a lot of aluminium outer rims which are produced with a 3mm toe grab a traction devise. I often grind it off, but when is the right time to remove it, as it is normally 3-4 weeks before I see that horse again and it could have raced on many different surfaces in that time.

I am looking to starting to adding borium to steel shoes, borium is a generic name for tungsten carbide crystals heated and added to sections of the shoe. This will make steel pacing shoes last longer and could be used for grip when as I'm discussing above without being too much traction.

I think it could also help in limiting the twisting of the capsule on a knee knocking horse at mid stance also.

All in all the shoeing of harness racing horses is proceeding in massive amounts so with new ideas every week are you keeping up.

Adam White

www.adamwhitefarrier.co.nz

 

 

Hoof cracks

With the weather in my area being extremely hot and dry , it is of interest to me monitor the condition of horses hooves at this time , I have differently noticed the hoof becoming harder during the summer months & have experienced some interesting cases where trainers continue to present horses returning from spells that are extremely over grown , cracked due to poor balance hooves expecting to place shoes on them . ( I always say you can make a silk purse out of a sours ear).

It is amazing how the hoof conditions itself naturally, the water content of the foot comes from the blood & the environment, there is a certain amount of evaporation will occur, which the body will replace as needed. When i trim a horse on a rubber or concrete you can generally see it leave a wet footprint.

Often if the horn is extremely hard I will use my heat gun or flame pencil which I find draws the moisture to the surface, not only does it make it easier to cut with my nippers & it saves my rasp a little.

I do have some concern that this hard horn will interfere with the concussion or bulging at the loading of the hoof and I am convinced the nails will stress with the lack of conditioned hoof which will result in shoe loss.

With dry hooves comes cracks not totally as a result of dry unconditioned hooves but they seem to be hand in hand with some of the horses lately.

Cracks happen for many reason not only drastic moisture changes, my pet hate poor balance, over grown weak hooves, flares or poor management. Regardless of the cause, the treatment is relatively the same.

Most of the cracks I have been working on lately have ranged from serve to pretty tame, most of them have required sectioning out using power tools to investigate the severity of the crack. I have worked on quiet a few lately using different methods of repairing but basically all needed sectioning out.

Obviously the more active the crack the harder repair weather it's high in the coronary band etc. Most can be repaired with quarter hoof patches or bogging. The mysterious cross cut across the crack will only weaken the the hoof wall further.

Cracks in the top of the wall indicate poor hoof condition or hoof health .stress cracks can be caused from over rasping the hoof wall too high during trimming that part of the structure. Horizontal cracks tend to enlarge as the hoof grows down and needs to be opened up but then filled with synthetic hoof material.

But basically poor balance is the major contributor to the above problems, so balancing through the centre of balance is your answer and a regular hoof care plan.

Very interesting presentation by Dr David Hood on Hoof Hydration:

The outer hoof wall, being predominantly made of lipids is hydrophobic. So very little water will pass through, in or out. However, while liquid H2O having surface tension between molecules has difficulty permeating the outer wall, H2O molecules suspended in air do not have the surface tension between molecules therefor passes through the lipids of the outer wall much more easily. So relative humidity has a big effect on moisture content of the foot as opposed to standing in water.

I have a lot of photos & project horses on my website so check them out .

Adam white

www.adamwhitefarrier.co.nz

 

 

This is a case study I worked on at the David Hankin shoeing seminar on - held in August 2012.

L = load or weight transmitted down the cannon- bone surface to the long pastern, where the resistance at the articulating surface (the joint) .

P = power comes from the shortening of the flexor muscles.

F = the Ful Crum represents the relationship of the ground weight surface with the weight bearing axis of the limb.

.....................................................................................................................................................................................................................

Changes in the toe length, pastern axis or hoof angle all effect the second class lever, significantly delaying the lever with the presents of a long lever arm requiring more time & effort to rotate the heel around the toe .

#Excessive toe length can result in damage, tearing of the wall & coffin bone.

#shortening the lever arm will relieve break over. Broodmare Care

As my training and driving days are behind me now, for a while anyway, I have become interested in breeding and owning the odd horse to keep my hand in the industry. We are all striving to breed a champion or in most of our cases just one that is commercial to make money. It always confuses me that people spend so much money on breeding to the best stallions and use the best horses feed, have the best grazing and worming plan to give themselves the best chance of having a wonderful strong foal to start with, but their broodmares feet seem to be over looked time & time again.

When I started out a few years ago in the farrier industry I, as many probably did, started off trimming broodmares, paddocks and paddocks of big fat bossy broodmares. I remember I started trimming for Charlie Hadley up in South Auckland he seemed to have an endless supply of them, it was a well organised set up from running them in to the concrete yard trimming area right through to the billing out process, it was a done well. The biggest thing I remember though was how organised they were with the time between trims, every mare was trimmed regularly and I can't recall having any serious hoof problems, and that was of great importance to him.

Too many times lately we come across broodmares with disgusting, neglected hooves, lame with cracks like cows hooves, which can only be the result of poor management.

I even had an owner that tried to tell me his whole breed have had bad feet which resulted in putting his broodmare down, with the young ones all going on to having seedy toe cavities you could stick your hand up. This is totally wrong as this only happened through lack of care. Horses aren't born with bad feet, it is through our bad management that we let them get this way.

In most cases we see the mares are lame through seedy toe or abscess and other basic and common complaints again only because of lack of care, Most of these complaints are a result of poor balance and my enemy “Flares”. Basically the hoof grows untamed till it then cracks, the cracks get bigger and then get infected resulting in seedy toe (white line disease) or end up with an abscess taking over. Even with the most basic trim this whole nightmare can be eliminated. It makes no sense to me to put this normally pretty fast and well-bred broodmare through this.

In previous articles I mention the importance in shoeing a performance horse every 21 days this is the only way I can guarantee that he the horse will run 100% balanced as after 42 days they will be less than 50% balanced with a further reduction the longer they are left and so on. Broodmares are important to, the summer months are the time their feet are growing at their fastest as we know they slow and accelerate four times a year so they require trimming as regular as every 6-7 weeks. It seems important to me to have these mares on some kind of organised trimming schedule to eliminate any of these problems.

To many times I am being called to mares to put casts on hooves, drilling out seedy toe cavities, and the list goes on when we just need to be more proactive in there care, surely for the benefits they give to us we owe it to them .

MUSTAD Asia Pacific farrier Conference 2011

Melbourne was the place to be the weekend of 7th -11th of October not only did Mufhasa finally win his group one on Australian soil and Black Caviar equal Phar Laps winning streak it was also the 3rd annual Mustad Asia pacific farrier conference held at NMIT Epping campus .

The conference had a number of well-known farrier's from all over Australia and one relatively novice in comparison from New Zealand.

Although the level of farrier's was very high everyone was very interested with hearing about my shoeing run and the problems I run into every day seem to be on par with what seems to me the norm amongst my pears.

This year the standard of guest speakers raised the bar once again, first was an America AFA certified journeyman farrier called Mitch Taylor American Farrier Association "educator of the year2011" who spoke about track surfaces and locomotion of the flat racing horse, anatomy and biomechanics of the distal limb.

Greg Murray senior consultant farrier for the 'Korean Racing Authority' spoke in depth about the challenges for shoeing racehorses in Australia and Asia.

Melissa Jackson a lecturer in equine studies and PhD in veterinary epidemiology topic was about developmental orthopaedic disease - the multi-million dollar problem of young horses.

Although there was a massive amount of information to take in, some of the problems hit home with the racehorses in Asia, climate, hard tracks, poor shoeing techniques all problems we also face in NZ. In the early days Greg was faced with hoof capsule imbalance where 75% of horses had interfering, bruising, overreaching and scalping. Most heel trauma and lateral bruising is a result of 25% worn heart or straight bars etc.

We talked in depth about medial heel trauma and re-establishing balance. Casted shoes in racing was a topic we all took interest in as the Hong Kong jockey club had documented every shoe lost since early 2000 with 17 (20%) lost just after the start and 8 (47%) were sprung on the lateral heel suggesting that these may have been stood on by the horse in the adjoining gate.

Non weight bearing nails, the importance of Vettec glue products treating quarter cracks all important issues covered. Negative Palmer angels, excessive toe length and shoe with a rocker toe also added to my reference material. Interesting points also were watching slow motion track surfaces & locomotion of the horses’ legs in flight.

I must thank Mustad for the wonderful evening at Moonee Valley in the valley view room was amazing three course meal, beer, wine was all laid on.

On the weekend everyone was running the streets with black caviar flags all I want to do is get home and fix more feet.

 

 

Grass track

 

With the good weather of summer and Christmas comes grass track racing, we all enjoy the big grass racing, picnic atmosphere and a few beers leaning over the outside rail trying to pick a winner. One aspect of grass racing that I take a lot of interest in is the difference in stride or phases between grass racing v’s all-weather track racing. Although to the naked eye we would hardly see any change at all I am convinced from viewing freeze frame video that there is a difference. The basic changes I viewed were mostly in the skid phase, the phase where the hoof lands and skids to a halt just before the hoof loads up at mid-stance. This skid phase is very important to the whole stride and we notice it is clearly interrupted on a short grass track as to the all-weather surface where the depth of the grit works to benefit the skid. We all agree there is some concern for grip on a wet grass track but I do wonder if we need to adopt the same policy as the gallopers by checking shoes before racing because, I'm sure below standard shoes are the main reason for lack of grip . I shoe for many stables that race horses on the grass but the funniest thing is being asked to nail up (bang E type headed nails into the shoes for grip) a horses shoes that are not up to standard this only come to practice with poor management when a proper shoeing plan would do the same thing. It's not that I disagree with "nailing up" it's just as you can imagine it, eliminating any skid phase or at least halving it. The other problem is nails should never be weight bearing in a normal environment. Nails that sit higher than the swedge of the shoe cause a bigger list of problems, bigger than Davie Butts black book, including all of the above problems as well as causing alignment problems etc. I differently don't disagree with nailing up but I think we need to make a compromise and remove the nails after racing. As I have mentioned in previous posts in the weekly we know that a horses stride is altered or shortened within 21 days of shoeing so I'm sure if we all had a regular shoeing plan we wouldn't need to "nail up” as much as I’m being asked to now. I am working on developing a new shoe for wet grass track racing, with a stud insert which is something to look forward. It would involve the trainer screwing in a tapped stud much like the equestrian business.

 

 

Club feet

 

A club foot generally a bit of a swear word in our house the frustration of the thought of a horse being present to me with a fault and always wondering if it could have been fixed earlier in life. It's not that it's the end of the world for that horse It just up against it ,although over the last few months I have come across an ever increasing amount of these problems, why.

Most club feet are a genetic conformation fault and most can be traced back through the breeding of the particular horse normally the Dam or Grandam, but clubby box hoof can also be caused as a result of poor or no hoof care, bad trimming methods, or just really bad luck.

Club foot will not spell the end to your young horse, but it will clearly be limited in a racing environment or for on selling like yearling sales, exporting etc. because of its clear fault.

As for the club foot nature takes over and realigns itself almost as soon as it born, nature has an amazing effect on what becomes normal to that horse, it will align its foot inside the hoof p1,p2,p3 will line up in a more up-right position and we find this horse will have a perfect life with a bit of regular hoof care he/she will stay sound and perform well although racing can be another thing all together.

As I write this on the plane to Auckland to shoe I'm trying to think of any really top horses I have shod or that raced with a club foot and can't really think of any but there probably has been some over the years . We must remember that club foot are graded from boxy to really stood up right, they aren't just classified as club, we rate them in a 0-10 range. I have shod many horses with boxy feet with prefect success the one of the best and fastest mares I have shod had a boxy foot. I also trained one a few years back ( Bumper Harvest ) who I experimented on a few times by putting the same size shoe on both feet and gluing it up with Vettec to form two hooves with the same pastern alignment. At that time I was of the way of thinking this would help him, but maybe all it really did was make me feel better by thinking that as they were the same they would work the same as normal hooves. It probably helped his gait a little but on the flip side he was landing incorrectly and breaking over against the way the boney columns had formed, and for the way nature intended, which was probably why it resulted in him only really winning on the grass.

Club feet can be reversed but only as a young horse/foal. I am sure not enough attention is taken when these foals are born and too many times the horse arrives at my shoeing bay and the trainer puts his hands on his hips and says fix this. We need to be trimming our foals’ feet within 11 weeks of age so this then sets a clean slate for correct hoof growth. Foals are born with soft hooves and the basic set up is formed in the early stages. When they stand up the coffin bone etc. align and this is when we need to be engineering a correct hoof growth. It is honestly too late as a weanling to try and correct anything abnormal.

A horse will always have a dominating hoof, where one is bigger than the other, and as farriers we always start working with this full foot when shoeing or trimming so we don't over trim the small hoof which would result in an unbalanced hoof, but now with my hoof line I can correctly balance a club foot every time. With an older horse, when the fault is set and non-reversible, as much as we want to cut the heel down and grow out its toe we must remember this hoof needs to be trimmed with a 50/50 balance from the centre of articulation (the direct middle of the hoof) and knowing where the critical junction of the heels end we can now measure to the centre of articulation and automatically know where the toe must end. It all sounds rather confusing but it is what I have trained for, you can pull me aside to explain in depth later, it will appear upright and clubbed but that's what it is a club foot and it needs to be treated like one. Even if the opposite hoof appears prefect they both need to be balanced using to the way they are aligned. In NZ farriers don't work with vets enough to radiograph hooves and balance/trim hooves with x-rays so we can insure that it then has prefect alignment. Studs and breeding barns also need to take control of this problem because it is clearly costing people money in the long run and the bottom line is that we need to have these foals trimmed earlier.

Shoeing horse that hit their knees, shins, pasterns or cross fire (part 2)

Article written and published in the NZ Harness Racing Weekly

When a horse drives through and hits the opposite shin on the splint bone with his opposite front hoof, you will find that he generally has a straight pastern angle and is a daisy-cutting type pacer.

These horses need to be kept short and shod with a square toe that protrudes over the outside toe of the hoof.

The reason for this is to give the horse more control over how he leaves the ground and stops the horse from turning his hoof in towards the shin on leaving the ground.

I have found it best to lower the hoof just a little on the inside toe because when these types of horses are lowered on the outside toe they immediately hit their shins much worse.

Horses that hit their front pasterns with their hind feet are a major worry as they are generally horses that have enormous ability.

I have found that the heavier shoe that you put on the hind feet of these horses the more they will hit.

I have had the best results by shoeing these horses level or a little lower on the outside toe and putting a very light shoe on the hind feet, sometimes with a small cog on the outside heel.

If this is not sufficient I then put a toe-diamond shoe with a cog on the hind feet.

The reason for the diamond toe is to stop the horse hitting with the steel of the shoe as the hoof.

This is a problem we see all the time.

I see many cases of interfering, especially in young horses. I am working on a horse in Auckland at the moment that is hitting at a slow speed. We have shod him in behind with a diamond tie half round with a swedge, which is managing to keep him from this problem.

Three-quarter hind shoes have worked well in the past.

We also have to ensure that we have the hoof balanced correctly and also that these server shoes such as cogs etc should only be used as a bandaid because they cause a lot of soreness with prolonged use.

Adam White Farrier

 

 

Shoeing horses that hit their knees, shins, pasterns or cross fire

Article written and published in the NZ Harness Racing Weekly

 

Interfering in a horses’ gait is always a frustrating problem.

When we train a horse that we think is above average or is showing some promise but suddenly appears with the ‘not for sale’ sign on, is it the dreaded spreaders?

I have touched on this topic in a previous article but as a result of my new column in this ‘Weekly’ I have been inundated with requests and the need for advice on these types of problems.

Generally, knee-knocking I have found in young horses is something they mature out of with a bit of time but each case is different.

I have shod many great and above average horses that have hit there knees.

One of the fastest horses in NZ that I shod hit her knees but we all agree it is the single biggest thing to pull your horse up.

We have this idea the spreaders slow them down and the horse gets tired quicker, which maybe true, but smashing knees in a race situation lessens your chances of victory no end.

Your horse won’t be competitive with a horse against a horse with perfect gait and similar ability.

When shoeing horses that hit their knees we need to observe how the horse stands - whether he stands toed in or toed out, whether he has a narrow chest or whether he stands base narrow.

Horses that stand toed in (or pigeon toed) very rarely hit their knees.

Although I have shod many horses that brush their knee boots, with these particular horses I dress their feet level and shoe them with a square toe shoe.

When a horse stands toed out (Charlie Chaplin) you will find that these particular horses are the worst type to try and correct.

Sometimes there will only be one leg turned out, and this will be the one that hits the opposite knee.

I have had the most success with these types of problems by letting the horse mature.

As he develops more muscle and matures he generally handles the problem much better.

When shoeing the horse with this problem I generally lower the hoof on the inside toe whilst keeping the heels level then fitting a square toed shoe protruding over the outside toe area .

I have also had a bit of success using heavier shoes shod the same way; the main reason for the extra weight is to give the horse more knee action and will bring his hoof above the knee where there is a lot less to hit.

Horses that stand straight and hit their knees are generally not much problem to correct, as they generally only need to be lowered a little on the outside and shod with a light steel or aluminium shoe. Sometime you may need a square toed shoe as well.

I am shoeing a horse in a big stable now that has this knee-knock bug real bad.

I shod her last time in with an alloy outer rim shoe and lowered the whole outside of the hoof with little or no real success.

We now have her in a world racing plate fitted well back off the toe about 1 inch from the tip of the frog.

I have found this has worked amazingly and the filly is trialing well and ready to race shortly.

I think what has happened is by bringing the break over well back it is now clearing the knee and gaining confidence as a result.

I hope this helps in some way to correcting this problem.

Sorry if I haven't answered all the e-mails I was sent about this topic but this will go a long way to answering them.

Adam White

www.adamwhitefarrier.co.nz

 

 

David Farmilo farrier course

Article written and published in the NZ Harness Racing Weekly

 

A wise old trainer once said to me you never stop learning. Isn’t that the truth, and after two NZ Cups, half a dozen Jewels, and Breeders’ Crown winners and 20 odd Group 1 winners I must admit I thought I was well on the right track, but my latest farrier course in Oakbank, South Australia, opened my eyes to many things that need attention in NZ.

New Zealand has always been an interesting place to shoe with inherited gait problems and conformation issues. We, as farriers, always need to upskill - that goes without saying and I don’t claim to know everything but I have a lot more confidence in repairing an issue now.

David Farmilo is an accredited master farrier with a list of acknowledgements as long as your arm not to mention over 50 years of farriery. He is a marvel of information. The trip to Adelaide was a long one with five hours stop in Sydney giving me time to get a heads up on what was involved in the 5-day course. On arrival at Oakbank in the Adelaide hills I was surprised to see a farrier and blacksmith workshop in what looked a suburban area.

The course was a one on one with certificate of achievement attached. I’m still not sure if it was presented for lasting the 12-13 hour days or for the ability to process all that I learnt .

The most important thing I took out of the five days was the importance of sole preparation and cutting out the bars. The bars should never be weight bearing which is why we have so many problems with bruising of the corn/bar area. But by correct sole preparation we can find the three critical junctions of the hoof. We can maintain sole concave profile on every hoof every time. Also, the importance of a t-squared hind level (heels level and 6mm above the heel junction), but most important was to eliminate flares - flares are our enemy.

One of the most interesting things I learnt was an easy way to achieve this total balanced hoof with level heels and a pastern angle every time with the use of the David Farmilo hoof line.

This easy tool calibrates the centre balance of the hoof which marks the absolute centre of a balanced hoof which is 19mm back from the active tip of the frog. The measurement from the point of the toe and to a line across the trimmed buttresses of the heels should be equal when the hoof is trimmed in accordance with my new prescribed trimming method.

The finished heel buttresses must never be lower than 6mm above the critical frog and heel junction.

Basically, when this balanced measurement is achieved in the bottom of the hoof, the front of the hoof wall is parallel with the pastern angle; the hoof shape is a mirror image of the idea/normal coronary band.

There are no flares in the hoof wall and the hoof is now stress free which will result in no hoof problems, bruises, abscesses. A balanced hoof will stop forging back and weather pain .

I learnt that 90% of all horse soreness is hoof related, but by having a balanced hoof we can make the horse more comfortable and as a result more results on the track.

We covered the symptoms and treatment of all hoof related lameness and had a long and successful day straigthening up foals legs at a young age.

The course was more than I expected and the knowledge I took away will enable my clients to have correctly balanced feet every time. I shoe and the results will speak for themselves .

I enjoy talking about hooves and horseshoeing so if anyone has any problems drop me a line or e-mail me a picture. Between David and myself, we will sort your problems. addman-nz@xtra.co.nz

Adam White farrier

 

 

The Benefit of Hoof-Line

Article written and published in the NZ Harness Racing Weekly

 

From the time I first started shoeing, gait problems and knee knocking has always been something I have been interested in.

I remember asking an old farrier the correct method to fixing a knee knocker. I questioned whether to lower the outside or the inside. He replied with a smile and then said lower the outside son, that’s the answer to fixing it, then quickly mentioned if that doesn’t work lower the inside and then laughed, I could easily see this was going to be no easy fix.

I always stress the need to achieve the ‘correct T-squared’ (level heels) when trimming any hoof and to achieve a balanced foot at all times.

With this in mind that is why I now shoe with the Hoof Line tool. This incredibly simple and useful tool can take the guesswork out of assessing and measuring the horse’s hoof to prepare for a barefoot trim or for shoeing... 90% of lameness in horses is hoof related, and this is unnecessary. Most gait problems and back strain problems stem from incorrect trimming and incorrect shoeing that should have been corrected simply by correctly balancing the hoof.

I still smile to myself as I start my farrier run every Monday, I shoe many horses every week and for most of the leading trainers, but the funniest thing is that in nearly every barn I am made to shoe differently - lower the outsides, lower the insides, cut them right back, make the hoof shorter, less round etc.

I can’t help think that if they just let me shoe these horses in a correct balance we would all win more in the end. I am not saying lowering the hoof doesn’t work, it just must only be used as a band aid. I have shod many great horses this way but I think it is flawed to expect a horse to continually land with uneven heels.

We know there are four phases of a stride basically. These are known as the:

Phase 1... the phase of impact (landing),

Phase 2... skid (soft tissue damage),

Phase 3.... maximum peak strength (midstance),

Phase 4.... tendon rebound (roll over),

Basically, as farriers, the roll over/break over is one of the most important phases as it is one of the few phases we try to control. But the first phase being the phase with the most concussion, it is a sick sight to watch a horse land slow motion when it has an uneven heel buttress. I am working on developing a programme to film the horses I shoe and be able to break the stride down to show trainers the damage and impact this is causing. A higher heel will hit the ground first, resulting in a massive change of load onto the other heel then loading the toe adding four additional phases to the whole stride instead of landing with even heel buttress which results in a clear unharmed stride.

My Hoof Line used in conjunction with my trimming methods help eliminate lameness by correcting long toes/low heel problems or high heel/short toe problems. It eliminates flares which are a major cause of hoof distorting. It helps correct contracted heels which result in minimal frog contact and also eliminates the need for remedial shoes which often exacerbate the problems.

It even saves further time by allowing the farrier to take the measurements to the anvil and shape the shoe according to the measurements of the finished hoof.

The major advantage is that this method takes the guesswork out of hoof preparation.

Hoof-Line is the first accurate tool in the world for achieving hoof balance while under the horse without the need for x-rays (unless a rotated pedal bone is suspected) or gauges .

Adam White farrier

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