NO HOOF_ NO HORSE

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					Loch Lomond Veterinary Hospital               Hampton Veterinary Hospital               Dairytown Veterinary Hospital
1964 Loch Lomond Rd, Saint John, NB E2J 2A3   510 Main Street, Hampton, NB E5N 6C1       25 Vail Court, Sussex, NB E4E 2R9
         Tel: (506) 696-2550                          Tel: (506) 832-7673                      Tel: (506) 433-3889
         Fax: (506) 696-5297                          Fax: (506) 832-3913                      Fax: (506) 433-8042


                                         NO HOOF, NO HORSE

Over 75% of the lameness observed in our practice are directly or indirectly related to
hoof care. A large number of these problems are caused by failure to keep horses
properly shod. This paper has been prepared to help horse owners identify competent
farriers and insure that their horses’ feet are getting the best care.

A. CHOOSING A GOOD FARRIER:
Watch the farrier at work and look at the results:

1. A good nailer:




Nails correctly placed level and ¾                 Correct smooth, rectangular, tight
inch up from ground surface.                       clinches.

2. A poor nailer:




Nails incorrectly placed uneven               Nails incorrectly placed too            Nails incorrectly placed to high
and too far back.                             close to ground surface.               up in hoof.




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3. A farrier should never remove a shoe, trim the foot and reshoe it before trimming and
   balancing the opposite foot first.


4. The toe length and angle must always be measured. Leveling the hoof and
   measuring the toe length and angle are the most important things a farrier can do to
   insure long-term soundness of your horse.

   The front toe length should be ¼ to ½ inch longer than the hind toes. The front toe
   angle should be approximately five degrees lower than the hind angle.

B. HOOF CARE

1. Horses running out on pasture unshod will need very little attention. A processional
   trimming two or three times annually is generally adequate.
2. Horses being worked often, particularly over hard or uneven ground will need to be
   shod. This should be done every six weeks, as shoes left on too long can lead to
   multiple hoof problems.
3. Calks and/or studs in shoes should be avoided whenever possible. They should only
   be used when absolutely necessary for competition or in adverse ground conditions.
   Preferably, horses should be shod with flat shoes.
4. There is very little scientific evidence to support the use of hoof dressings. Definitely
   AVOID homemade concoctions containing motor oil. A dressing containing a counter-
   irritant (i.e. Reducine) will slightly stimulate hoof growth when applied to the coronary
   band area.
5. Horses’ feet should be cleaned daily. A mild oxidizing agent (Javex, formaldehyde,
   Thrushex, etc.) applied to the sole and frog once weekly will help to prevent and
   often cure mild thrush. Thrush is a smelly bacterial infection in the crevices of the
   foot, and often appears black and putty-like.

C. CORRECTIVE SHOEING

   In most cases of so-called corrective shoeing, more damage is done than is cured.
   Corrective shoeing requires a great deal of knowledge and should never be attempted
   until after a thorough consultation with a veterinarian experienced in this area. The
   veterinarian’s instructions must be closely followed by the farrier – otherwise, disaster
   is imminent!

   Toe lengths and angles for the average 1000 lb. Horse should be:

                    TOE LENGTH                              TOE ANGLE
   FRONT            3 ½” (3 ¼)                              48 (45-52)
   HIND             3 ¼” (3 1/8)                            54 (50-56)
   A farrier who doesn’t use a protractor or measure toe length will never balance your
   horse’s feet properly.


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    Correct hoof pastern axis.         Broken back pastern axis.           Broken forward pastern axis.




Correct medial lateral balance.   Unbalanced toed in right front foot.   Unbalanced toed out right front foot.




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posted:2/27/2010
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