“Short shoeing”, using a horseshoe that is too small for the hoof, is one of the most common and potentially harmful shoeing errors. Assessing support can be easily done at the same time you check DP balance when you’re viewing the horse from the side. Hold the pencil at arm’s length so it lines up with an imaginary a line through the center of the cannon bone to the ground. Generally, the heels of the shoe should reach this line or extend behind it. The more the heels are under-run, the farther the shoe needs to extend behind the hoof in order to provide necessary support. In many cases, egg-bar shoes or shoes with long extended heels (sometimes called “open egg-bars” because the shoes are egg-shaped but the heels of the shoe aren’t joined) are used to provide support for under-run heels.
by Richard Klimesh
© 2010 Richard Klimesh © Copyright Information
Shoes that are too short will not provide adequate support for the limb and can result in under-run heels, fatigue and permanent damage to the horse’s limbs. Unfortunately, one of the most common ways horses lose front shoes is by stepping on the heels of the shoes and pulling them off. Consequently, many horseshoers are understandably reluctant to extend the heels of the shoe (figuring it will save them a return trip to replace a lost shoe). Speed horses, especially, are likely to be shod with little or no shoe extending behind the heels of the hoof. Horses with well-formed upright hooves are better able to tolerate this compromise than are horses with lower angles or under-run heels.
Note from Cherry: While I am away on business, I’ve invited Richard to blog in my stead……watch for the final part to this article series.