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?
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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