Hoof Care

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When a person wears the same pair of shoes for a long period of time, some parts of the shoes will wear out before other parts depending on the way the person walks and distributes weight to their feet. Once shoes wear out, the feet are not properly supported. This scenario is also true for hooves and horseshoes. When hooves aren’t trimmed properly or horseshoes don’t fit correctly, the horse distributes its weight unevenly and lands on its feet differently than when properly trimmed or shod.

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When an equine athlete experiences an episode of laminitis or founder it can be a painful experience. While there are numerous studies and articles on the causes of these two maladies, there is also a general consensus on what the hoof capsule experiences after the episodes occur. When a horse experiences a bout of laminitis, whether through injury, overfeeding, or metabolic issues, inflammation of the laminae occurs. The anatomy of the hoof is such that the insensitive laminae are attached to the hoof wall and the sensitive laminae are attached to the coffin bone.

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Accurate diagnosis is critical - A lame horse often means a sudden change in plans, and a lameness diagnosis during the summer is an especially disappointing way to end the show season for a horse and its rider. In addition to conventional lameness therapies, newer treatments such as shock wave therapy, cold compression therapy, and regenerative therapies that use the body’s natural ability to heal may help to return horses to the show ring more quickly.

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“The beginning of the day starts in my shop at about 7:00 am, doing some forge work clipping up shoes and sharpening knives for the day’s work,” says Certified Journeyman Farrier Dean Sinclair of Kelowna, BC. “I have a young man who is apprenticing with me and we are under our first horses at 8:00 am. I have a mixed practice of shoeing show horses, endurance horses, and pleasure horses along with a handful of jumpers. Lunch is generally a sandwich on the run and we wind up the day back at the shop by about 5 pm.

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