My last discussions I identified sheared heels and the associated risks, if you missed that article I suggest you read it, now let’s get the fix I promised.
If your horse has sheared heels there are several fixes. In either case the toe of the foot should most likely be moved to the rear of the horse – in other words when the shoe is put on slide the shoe more to the rear of the foot then rasp the extra toe back to the shoe. You can move the shoe back very close to the white line if necessary. For one this will help the horse break over more easily and reduce all the stresses on tendons joints and ligaments but it will also help reduce the hoof stretch and drift you’ll usually find as a toe grows forward. This stops the heels from shearing more as well “usually".
The first fix is kind of a “Bandage type fix" while the second actually corrects the problem but is a lengthy process. The first fix is to fit a shoe with longer heels than normal. A longer shoe in the heels is ok; the rule of thumb is to not extend the shoe past the bulb of the foot. By moving the shoe to the rear of the foot it automatically makes the shoe longer in the heel where needed and also starts the process of rasping the toe to the rear also needed. So this will get you out of trouble (somewhat). The problem is in reality the heel is still sheared – all we’ve done is quick fix it by the longer shoe.
So what can still happen is since the load on the hoof wall is still out of balance the “Blowout" I mentioned can still result. This is usually in and of itself not a problem but just an indication that things are still not right with the foot. But you’ve extended the heel with the shoe which stops the heels from sinking into the ground and putting all those undue stresses on the horse’s joints etc. The shoe may also be fit a little wider in the heels for more support as well.
Now the real fix, which is the more lengthy process, also takes some lay up time for your horse – you’ll probably not want to ride the horse for several months until the heels have a chance to grow back. The process starts with addressing the length of the toe just as above, so make sure the toe is being rasped back. Now here comes the traumatic part. What you want to do is cut “All" the heel “Off" the horses foot. I know sounds scary and it somewhat is. By cutting off the entire heel you’ve put the horse right smack down on the bulb of the foot. Now there is no longer any sheared heel.
When the heel has no more shear is has a chance to grow more straight up and down as it’s intended to do so. The slope is gone so the downward pressure doesn’t force the slope to continue. This works especially if the toe of the horse is continually rasped to the rear. Leave the horse barefoot through this process as you’re not riding anyway – and this will give the heels a chance to expand in width as well. So the problem with this method is the lay up time, but what you’ve done is really addressed all the problems in a real manner and not just the quick fix.
The truth is the quick fix works to prevent the lameness issues so most people opt to use the quick fix because they bypass the lay up time of 4-6 month in the process. So you have a decision to make for yourself. If you don’t ride during the winter months it might be the time to use the latter method – however if you ride all year long then the choice is all up to you my friend. Either way you’ll be ok.
Again – you should know I have a shoeing method not taught in the schools and textbooks with a 16 year 100% track record “Not One Single Lame Horse" due to my method. If you want to help your horse stay sound I encourage you to liberate yourself and your horse by going to the website address linked below in the Author Bio. It’s easy just go now before you forget and this opportunity to higher education passes you by.
Thank you, happy and safe riding and remember to Care4Horses
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Author Bio: John Silveira, Farrier, Aikido practitioner, spiritualist, born and raised in San Mateo California the bay area. For information on his shoeing method and the 100% track record just go to http://Care4Horses.com and leave contact information. thank you and remember to Care4Horses