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  • darrallclifford

Orthopaedic Shoeing Basics – limb timing and break-over

Updated: Jul 1

The complex distal limb architecture and biomechanics


I have found through many years of clinical research and by listening to what the horse is teaching me by watching and observing the presenting animal’s body language before I intervene, then monitoring the biological changes after I have completed the trimming and shoeing process that the placing of the shoe is vital to the orthopaedics of the animal. These clinical studies, together with exhausting research into the biomechanics of equine locomotion and the neurological responses of the equine, have enabled me to formulate the principles of orthopaedic trimming and the optimal approach for the fitting of the horseshoe in the majority of cases.



I have found through many years of clinical research and by listening to what the horse is teaching me by watching and observing the presenting animal’s body language before I intervene, then monitoring the biological changes after I have completed the trimming and shoeing process that the placing of the shoe is vital to the orthopaedics of the animal. These clinical studies, together with exhausting research into the biomechanics of equine locomotion and the neurological responses of the equine, have enabled me to formulate the principles of orthopaedic trimming and the optimal approach for the fitting of the horseshoe in the majority of cases.

I hope that more people in the industry consider the articulation of the distal interphalangeal joint, commonly known as the coffin joint, before and after the farriering process is completed instead of making changes to the so-called break-over of the foot without considering what is affected internally.

You can not effectively change the break-over of the foot by employing a different type of shoe or trim that alters the natural biological design of the foot, as foot balance is governed by more than thinking you can change what nature has put in place for the integrity and soundness of the horse.    

Think about it: every time the horse moves its body in one direction, the loading of the coffin joint has to change, affecting the timing of the swing phase of the limb and the break-over of the foot. Therefore, the break-over in the equine foot has changed.

The horse can not change or alter what you put in place to control what you belive to be the correct break-over for the horse – please put the horse first.

In my next group of blogs, we will explore the articulation of the distal limb.

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