Our Foot Correction Approach
If your horse does not have a stable foundation, it does not have much of a future in competition either. Most horse owners already know that, but the most frustrating part for most is identifying exactly what the problem is and then determining exactly what needs to be done to correct it.
Horse owners on a quest to find these answers often times soon discover that the more farriers they consult, the more opinions they receive about how to address the issue at hand. Before long, they have heard so many different “confident” opinions that they just raise their hands in confusion and start going through the list of possibilities until they finally find an approach that works. This process can take months or sometimes even years to accomplish.
allan’s approach to foot care differs from conventional ideas regarding foot rehabilitation. When a horse’s feet are not in balance this puts stress on the entire system. allan’s time tested technique makes it possible to identify a joint system being stressed as a result of an imbalanced foot. Then, by using shims, we can make a series of changes to the hoof angle and/or lateral-medial balance, testing as we go until the ideal foot structure is identified by the stress being relieved. In a sense, we are creating a temporary “artificial” foot for the horse, which allows us to speed up the corrective procedure without having to wait for the horse’s hoof wall to grow out.
The testing that we do gives immediate feedback so we know exactly when the joint stress is no longer present. Once the joint stress is eliminated, we know that we have determined the exact angle and lateral-medial balance that is required for the foot being tested at this time. We record these results and are then able to make the necessary changes to create a foot that reflects those angles and measures.
This eliminates the weeks and often time’s months of waiting that is necessary through the conventional foot care methodology to see if a certain change is going to help your horse.
If your horse is barefoot, and requires a substantial change in hoof angle or lateral-medial balance, it may take some time for the hoof wall to grow out to accommodate the necessary changes. At least the guesswork is gone, and you know exactly where you are headed in the process. An option here is to temporarily shoe your horse, using wedges where needed, to give the horse immediate relief from the joint stress until the hoof wall has grown out enough in the areas where it is lacking.
If your horse is already being shod, we simply shim the foot where the hoof wall is lacking to create the exact angle and lateral-medial balance determined by the testing process, and your horse’s joint stress disappears. As the hoof wall grows out the shims can be reduced until they are no longer necessary. It is a very simple and effective approach to foot care.
Below is an example of this approach in action. These two pictures are of the same foot; the picture on the left is how the horse was shod before we took it through allan’s foot care program. This horse was very sore and resistant to being handled and worked. Our tests showed that the toe needed to be raised a full 4 degrees and the lateral corner of the toe needed to be shaved off one quarter of an inch. The picture on the right shows how the foot looked after the necessary changes were made. With these changes in place, the horse’s eye immediately softened and he walked off completely square and balanced.
Note: The changes that you see in this example are the changes that were necessary for this specific foot on this specific horse at the time that the tests were performed. Every horse is different and every foot on a particular horse can differ as well. Do not look at these pictures and assume that this is what needs to take place on your horse as well. Each horse must be tested to determine its own specific needs.