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  • darrallclifford

Trimming your horses' feet

Science of biomechanical medicine in the clinical environment as a diagnostic technique.


Appreciating that the muscular system plays a major role in the locomotion of the equine and when we consider the origin and insertion points of the muscles on the skeletal system, we can comprehend how the two biological systems affect the animal's mobility, flexibility, and stability. In the clinical environment, a diagnostic technique is used to localise symptoms of discomfort, back pain and lameness in the equine, all of which are issues we farriers find ourselves working with each day.

Discomfort or back pain of the equine has many common symptoms, many of which are related to the hooves and the orthopaedic loading of the distal joints. Getting to know the anatomy of the equine upper body is the first step to managing discomfort before it affects the animal further through the establishment of compensation patterns that, in turn, lead to loading imbalances that are felt throughout the body and which affect the shape of the hoof capsules that carry the load of a dysfunctional body.


Often, when equine feet are trimmed or shod, we mask or even erase the symptoms of other problems, and yet, if we don’t treat the underlying reasons for upper body compensation patterns that are contributing to the distortion of the hoof capsule, the effects of our intervention will only be cosmetic and temporary. Issues affecting the upper body or feet of the equine require the type of maintenance and regular attention that, by breaking the pain cycle, allows them to use themselves correctly. This will then require minimal ongoing maintenance on the upper body and fewer corrective interventions on the farrier’s part.

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