I just read the wedging article in the Oct/Nov and I hate to say it, but that is all very wrong advise.
Whenever a hoof has a ground, or near ground parallel hairline it means the hoof balance is very incorrect. I tends to create toe loading and that bypasses the whole built in shock absorbing mechanism in the back of the hoof. These are the type of hooves that then often develop navicular syndrome. Many barefoot horses are ridden with adequately low heels in soft arena ground without issues.
I marked up the photos to illustrate it better....the shoe used also looks too small , which suggests hoof contraction and that is also not desirable at all. The hoof looks wider on top than the bottom!
The before hairline has a much better angle, although the heel is even then too tall. The green line at the heel shows you what the horse wants to grow because this is how far the heel sticks out on top.
I also attached a hoof photo from Gwen Santagate that illustrates very good hoof balance
Ute Philippi LMP/LAMP
Response from author Brian Farcus:
More than just a few quick reference lines—it’s about the big picture…
My article titled Wedge Pad Principles was intended to explain the mechanical implications of pads (observing a horse’s hoof-to-limb suspensory/ support apparatus being manipulated with the addition of a wedge pad compared to various footings) and NOT the how or even the if pads should be used. And, most definitely, the article had no intended reference to how to accurately balance a horse’s hoof. Comments that suggest so are obviously misguided and should be saved for articles wrote specifically on that topic.
Therefore, I must respectfully disagree with the reader that suggested this article had no good advice. In regards to the usefulness of wedge pads for horses— Over the many years (near 30) that I’ve been practicing as a farrier, I’ve witnessed, firsthand, how helpful pads can be for certain horses, in certain situations that may have suffered from various issues such as, navicular syndrome, temporary AP/ML hoof imbalances, and LLD (limb length disparity) cases. Certainly, I would agree that not every horse will benefit from padding or wedging of his feet; each horse must be assessed individually. As any competent farrier will tell you, accessing hoof balance requires more than a few quick reference lines drawn on a single dimension photo. A good farrier will have to observe both static as well as dynamic views before coming to the best judgment on how to trim/shoe a horse. An article, I wrote several years ago titled: HOOF BALANCE AND PERCEPTION would be a far better article to critique for the hoof balance debate.
Additionally, taking in all feedback from a horse’s surroundings before performing any work is extremely important. Owner/rider’s comments, the living conditions of the horse, and if he appears comfortable (which will include a whole range of variables) can and SHOULD influence the decision on how to approach: trim method/ pads or no pads/ whether to apply shoes or not. Finally, I would be the first to admit that the more often I see a horse and get to know the bigger picture, the better help I can offer—that is the bottom line and should be the goal for each and every horse a farrier will meet.
Thank you HH magazine and its readers for allowing me to be a part of such an open-minded and informative publication.
Bryan Farcus MA, CJF www.farrierfriendly.com