Equis ISSN 2398-2977

Foot: trimming and balancing

Synonym(s): Farriery

Contributor(s): Graham Munroe, Chris Whitton

Introduction

  • The way in which each hoof is trimmed and shod has a marked effect on the function of that hoof and ultimately the performance and soundness of that horse. Abnormalities in either can lead to hoof imbalance.
  • Abnormalities of hoof imbalance include improper toe and heel length, inappropriate hoof angle, incorrect foot shape and mediolateral imbalance.
  • Many of these abnormalities may indirectly or directly lead to lameness either in the foot or elsewhere.
  • Abnormal gait, conformation, disease, injury and incorrect farriery can result in anomalies in hoof wear and growth.
  • Hoof trimming aims to restore the normal balance of the foot so that weight-bearing is correct. Trimming and shoeing can be considered preventive, corrective or therapeutic.

Uses

  • Preventive trimming should be practiced at every examination by the farrier for regular shoeing/trimming of the horse. The hoof should be assessed and subsequently trimmed for balance and support of each foot so that is maintained on a long-term basis   Foot: barefoot trimming      Foot / shoe: examination      Musculoskeletal: conformation  .
  • Corrective trimming is when the hoof is altered to return it back into balance from the abnormal state.
  • Therapeutic trimming is to encourage or prevent a particular movement in a foot and limb whilst healing is taking place, ie elevation of the heel in the treatment of an injury of the DDFT.
  • Laminitis   Foot: laminitis  .
  • Hoof cracks   Foot: hoof wall fracture  .
  • Keratoma   Foot: keratoma  .
  • Maintenance following hoof wall surgery, eg wall strip   Foot: wall resection  .

Advantages

  • Simple husbandry procedure maintaining and restoring balanced gait and conformation.
  • Minimum of tools required.

Disadvantages

  • Excessive or incorrect trimming can exacerbate problems or create new pathology, eg sole bruising   Foot: sole bruising  .

Requirements

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Preparation

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Procedure

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Aftercare

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Milner P & Hughes I (2012) Remedial farriery Part 5: Principles of foot balance. UK Vet 17 (6), 10-15 VetMedResource.
  • Milner P (2011) Remedial farriery Part 1: Foot balance. UK Vet 16 (6), 8-11 VetMedResource.
  • Stephenson R (2008) Clinical aspects of the equine foot. Part 2: Commonly used terms in farriery. UK Vet 13 (3), 11-14 VetMedResource.
  • Stephenson R (2008) Part 1: The well shod horse: Working with farriers. UK Vet 13 (2), 4-9 VetMedResource.
  • Back W, van Heel M C V & van Weeren P R (2006) Shoeing sound Warmblood horses with a rolled toe optimises hoof-unrollment and lowers peak loading during breakover. Equine Vet J 23 (3), 258-262 PubMed.
  • Moleman M et al (2005) Accuracy of hoof angle measurement devices in comparison with digitally analysed radiographs. Equine Vet Educ 17 (6), 319-322 VetMedResource.
  • van Heel M C V, Barneveld A, van Weeren P R & Back W (2004) Dynamic pressure measurements for the detailed study of hoof balance: the effect of trimming. Equine Vet J 36 (8), 778-782 PubMed.


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