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Balanced hoof

From: Susan

Dear Jessica, horse sense is wonderfull! Thank you for taking all this trouble for all of us out here. This is my question: what does it mean to have a balanced hoof? I've had my horse for almost three years and he has always moved sort of funny. This week I had a new horseshoer work on him, because the barn where I board is using this new horseshoer now instead of the one we used to use. So this man trimmed Casey's feet and put shoes back on, but he said I should be carefull riding him for a few days because he had to balance his feet that were way out of balance. What does this mean? I assumed that the other horseshoer was balancing Casey's feet, does this mean he wasn't? And why would I have to be carefull with Casey if his feet are balanced? Do you know?


Hi Susan! Balance is a tricky thing. Without being there to see your horse and talk to your farrier, it's hard for me to say what happened with your horse Casey. Here are some guesses, though! It's possible that some of Casey's "funny movement" since you've owned him has been because his feet were NOT balanced. If you can remember how Casey used to move, think about how he put his feet on the ground -- when you saw him walking straight toward you, how did his feet land? If they landed flat, then he was probably balanced. If they landed on one edge -- inside or outside -- and then rolled onto the other edge, then they were almost certainly UNbalanced.

If Casey has had unbalanced feet for a couple of years now, and just had them properly trimmed and balanced a few days ago, it IS a good idea to be careful with him. It's not just the way his feet hit the ground that will change -- anything that affects the foot balance will affect the rest of the horse's body. So I agree with your new farrier -- take it easy for a few days or a week, don't jump, and do most of your work at walk and trot. Give Casey a chance to adjust to his new balance. Even if he's gone from incorrect balance to correct balance, he won't adjust immediately -- give him a little time, and be understanding if he gets a little stiff or tired.

Think of how YOU feel if you get a new pair of running shoes, say, after your old shoes have gotten very worn-down. Your body is used to coping with the old shoes, and even though the new ones are better-balanced and better FOR you, they will feel strange at first and you will move differently in them, and get a little sore.


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