Opposite of the “Low Heel, No Heel” article previously written, here we want to show you a case of “High Heels.” Certainly, not every horse is shod the same and there is a difference in shoeing a quarter horse and shoeing a gaited or walking horse. Most people know that the shoes are different, but what about the hoof itself? While most horses have problems growing heels , in this case we have too much heel !
This well maintained and award winning, show- stopping stallion has all the good looks to win, and does! But to the owners surprise he was beginning to buck a little and be downright irritable during training. So, after seeing our Horseshoe’n Time television show and learning about the FNRC, they decided to drive to Georgia for a free evaluation and any assistance we could offer.
With a video camera in hand, the owner arrives with her show trainer, all eager and open minded to help “fix” their horse’ problem.
This is how we started…first of all we had 13 farriers attending the FNRC that day and all of them stopped what they were doing to also learn how to Properly Evaluate this Horse. We made our own documentations by taking photos and a video of the horse from all angles and in motion; with our conversations, the horse’s history, present problems and suggestions made. Most were obvious to the owner and she appreciated the chance to converse with us in detail to learn the reasons her horse was very uncomfortable.Upon completion we prepared a detailed written evaluation, located a certified farrier in her area through the office of the BWFA (Brotherhood of Working Farriers Association), which provides a National Farrier Referral Program. This farrier will continue the work and documentation and report the progress back to us. We do ask that the farrier, horse and owners return to the FNRC in the future, many times to be part of our horse owner clinic and the continuing education programs designed for farriers to receive their Farrier Science Degrees.
By following our evaluation “The 6 Steps to Balancing the Hoof and Horse for Sound Shoeing” this horse was clearly “out of Balance.” This being a gaited horse, the heels are higher than we would set a quarter horse at, but no matter what breed or event horse it is, the heels should match!
Photo 1: a rear view of the front feet, clearly shows the left heel is higher than the right.
Photo 2: a rear view of the hind feet, clearly shows the left heel is lower than the right. This alone was causing the horse to almost buckle under when we touched his withers area. With the legs not being the same length, he was feeling pain as people do around the neck and shoulder areas.
Photo 3: On the left front foot, first noted was severe thrush with a “cheesy” frog, a straight hoof wall on the medial (inside) side with a slight flair on the lateral (outside) resembling a mule foot.
Photo 4: The Contracted Heels was the culprit causing the ideal place for the thrush to set in and deteriorate the frog. To show this we placed a pencil between the heel bulbs that should not be able to stay in place on its own.
Photo 5: (below) The right front foot: A lot of the diseased frog was trimmed away, removing the bars and dirt traps from the sole and treated for thrush, which made a big difference! Notice the old nail holes and bruises in and around the white line.
6: The same was done to the left front foot.. Notice the contracted heels and how the left heel is rolled under more, causing the foot not to be symmetrical.
Now, this is obviously not all we did for this horse. Every step was carefully taken and at best, the horse will be more comfortable, but we can only remove and reshape the hoof as much as nature will allow. It will be up to the owners and future shoeings to get this horse just where he should be, balanced!! You will have to catch a Horseshoe’n Time show to see the final results or better yet, visit the FNRC for all the details related to this case and more.