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Considering the placement of the branches of the shoe

If the heel branches of the shoe are placed closer to the frog for added support, the extra loading on the hoof from above and the ground below will be transferred to the surrounding structures. These include the digital cushion, internal bars, distal cartilages, distal sesamoid bone area, and the distal phalanx wings, not to mention the other soft tissue and structures of the area and the entire animal, for that matter. The overloading of the palmar section of the foot as a result of our choice and positioning of a shoe will conclude with the tissue of the distal limb unable to cope with the added stress. As a result, it will progressively break down. You will never have a successful outcome.

We have to be more mindful when deciding to change the natural balance of the foot about the complete biomechanics of the hoof and upper body of the horse. Even deciding to roll the toes or raise the heels on a horse is another mechanism that, if not required, will affect the palmar section of the foot and upper body, triggering a dysfunctional orthopaedic stance of the animal. You have to investigate the presenting pathology markers and determine if the heels need to be raised or the toes need to be reduced. If you raise the heels and do not address the long toe, the lever action on the heels from the long toe will trigger a dysfunctional response of the interphalangeal joint. The outcome will be changing in musculoskeletal relationships, placing stress on the suspensory apparatus of the limb.

Treating these equine podiatry problems requires a long-term strategy, and it is essential that we take it slow to give the hoof tissue and the supporting structures and systems time to repair. By slowly correcting the orthopaedic stance of the animal and reducing the amount of stress in the feet, the vascular and neurological systems of the distal limb will return to normal. It is essential to allow for a consistent and optimal level of hoof growth to help repair the structural damage to the hoof capsule and internal structures of the foot.

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