Shoeing a big horse like a Clydesdale is not much different than shoeing a smaller foot. They are just BIGGER!
In Photo 1, we have drawn a line down the center of the bony column of the right hind foot of this quarter horse to show you how the” bone is not in the center of the foot.” You can see how the hoof on the right side is flared out. If you look closer, you can see how the shoe has been worn down on the left side, meaning that this horse was putting more weight and stress on the inside (medial) probably causing soreness in his legs and back .
In Photo 2, on this Clydesdale, the farrier has removed a flare placing the shoe back in the “center of the bony column.” If the farrier is trained properly he understands the importance of preparing the foot and removing flares to achieve a symmetrical hoof. (Symmetrical, meaning the same all the way around the perimeter or edges of the hoof.)
In Photo 3, on the right side, we are pointing to the white line on this same Clydesdale. What we refer to as the “white line” is really a tan color and more noticeable on this big foot. The white line here is very healthy and about a half inch wide. It is twice the size of the white line in a quarter horse hoof, which is normally a quarter of an inch wide. On the left we are pointing to a small dark spot, which is the nail hole to show that there is too much space between the nail hole and the white line.
This means the toe is excessively long. We want to put this horse at its’ natural angle and in order to get the toe lengths the same, whatever we do to the one foot, we must do exactly the same to other foot. For example: If the nail holes at the toe are a quarter of an inch from the white line like they should be, then the opposite must be a quarter of an inch as well. The hoof wall is the same thickness from the ground surface all the way to the hairline, so if the farrier follows this rule, then he (or she) will achieve the proper toe lengths, which is the first step to balance.
Horse owner’s wonder why their horses can’t perform correct, they loose in contests by one or even a half of a second. Their performance is completely off. The whole purpose of shoeing the horse is to eliminate these problems because remember, “The purpose of shoeing a horse is eep the bony column in alignment, so when the foot strikes the ground, the entire bony column, including the spine, equally absorbs the concussion.”
In order to accomplish this, there are procedures that must be performed on a foot and we describe them here as “ The 6 Steps to Balancing the Hoof and Horse for Sound Shoeing.” And those are; Leg Length, Toe Length, Natural Angle, Symmetrical, Lateral & Medial Balance and Bone in the Center of the Foot. But…to go three steps farther, the shoe must be shaped correct to enhance those 6 steps. So the next time you wonder why your horse is not listening to you, throwing his head while riding, sore to the touch in his back, then you will take the advice from the experts. If the hoof is carrying the entire weight of the horse, then guaranteed, that 80% of all problems occurring to a horse is related to the lower limb and hoof. And who is better trained to give you expert advice, than your certified farrier. Granted there is a lot more to shoeing than just slapping that shoe on as fast as you can and how long the shoe stays on.
If farriers and horse owners alike, would get Back to the Basics of Sound Shoeing and concentrate on maintenance and keeping the horse’s foot the same as it was when it was born, then most of the hoof problems today could be eliminated.