February 8, 2013
This is an image of a cross section through a hoof with the shoe still attached and showing how the nail goes through the foot into the white line. It appeared originally The Hoof Blog, in a post discussing the use of MRI’s for diagnostic purposes and the proper removal of shoes
This is a fascinating, rarely seen view of the shoe and nails penetrating the hoof. It is remarkable how close the nail is to the edge of the coffin bone. Click on the image for a larger view.
Hoof Cross Section With Shoe and Nails Attached
June 11, 2012
Posted by blinkwebcontent under Barefoot Stories Leave a Comment
For many inexperienced horse riders or owners, the prospect of having a horse without shoes might seem like a very unusual prospect but once it is considered that wild horses are extremely unlikely to be shoed then the prospect of barefoot care suddenly doesn’t seem so unusual.
Step One to the Barefoot Transition
Barefoot is an extremely popular aspect of holistic animal care where the hoof itself is trimmed. The practice came about as a result of the perceived harm which can be caused to the horse and its legs as a result of shoeing and it is for this reason that it has remained popular.
Studies have shown that the wearing of shoes can prevent the hooves from expanding properly as the horse presses down. This can, in turn prevent the feet from absorbing the shock of the movement and could injure the horse during running.
There is further consideration that further health complications can arise from the hoof forming around the shoe, rather than in its natural form. (more…)
April 26, 2012
This is a moderately severe case of founder, with coffin bone visible. The horse had been shod as a two-year old show horse for years, but barefoot trimmed for several years prior to the founder. He had undiagnosed metabolic issues that became apparent when he foundered.
February 19, 2012
Posted by efarriers under Uncategorized  Comments
There are approximately 300 different horse breeds and an estimated 6.9 million horses in the United States alone. Horses are used for everything from racing to simple trail rides. Their environments range from the black asphalt and concrete of large cities to the rugged mountain trails of Montana. My point is that there are thousands upon thousands of different uses and environments for horses, but some people advocate that there is only one approach to hoof care. On one side, natural hoof care advocates state that there is absolutely no use for shoeing a horse. A select few might go as far as saying that shoeing a horse is abuse. On the other side, others zealously argue that natural hoof care is nothing more than a scam. The passionate debate between natural hoof care advocates and traditional farriers often drives a wedge between the two sides and makes it difficult to accept the merits on both sides.
Traditionally, the majority of farriers have been opposed to natural hoof care. There are several reasons for the opposition that can range from a simple resistance to change all the way to the misconception that natural hoof care takes money out of the farrier’s wallet. The opposition is often further ingrained when the very skills of a farrier are attacked. For example, Jaime Jackson, a noted expert on natural hoof care states, “The equine species is genuinely adapted to go barefoot. It is only through human ignorance of the horse’s natural state that led us to the incorrect, and harmful, conclusion that shoes are necessary — or useful. They aren’t, and, moreover, contribute significantly to the lameness we see everywhere around the world.” For the farrier’s point of view, this can be a harsh statement. It directly attacks the years of training, experience, and hard work required to become a professional farrier.
October 21, 2011
I ran across this old article recently in the May 1999 issue of Anvil Magazine. It is a writeup from the Bluegrass Laminitis Symposium from the same year. It summarizes the talks that were presented, one of which was by Dr. Christopher Johnston, DVM, PhD, on the study of the effect of shoes on hoof expansion:
Christopher Johnston, DVM, PhD, spoke about Impact in the Athletic Horse; about Heel Expansion; and also about Objective Biomechanical Testing of Horseshoes. Dr. Johnston finds that a softer surface may absorb as much as 90% of the impact forces. In his laboratory studies, as much as 80% of the impact force on the limb is absorbed in the hoof, before it reaches P2.
Dr. Johnston outlined three possible explanations for heel expansion of the hoof under load: the frog pressure theory, the depression theory, and the hemodynamic theory. Every one of these may play a part. Using a thin wire attached to the heels and a potentiometer, Dr. Johnston found about 1 mm (1/24 of an inch) expansion at the heels under load, followed by contraction of the heels as the hoof approached breakover during motion. Shoes decreased the amount of expansion and contraction.
I found this short blurb interesting in that it states matter of factly that shoes prevented expansion of the hoof. There’s no way to tell what if any discussion was generated at the symposium, but this study is over ten years old and it appears to have died a quiet death. I think this is a far more significant finding than there is credit being given, as most farriers and authors will dispute that shoes prevent hoof expansion.
I have not been able to find anything on the original study by Dr. Johnston. If anyone is familiar with where to locate it, please post.
Link to article: