AFA Certified Farrier by the
American Farrier's Association
 AFA Member # 7332

Farrier Art   by Chris Minick

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Bowed Tendons, Contracted Heels, Dropped Sole, Pads with Two-Part Silicone Putty

This is a relatively tall and large quarter horse who has very small feet for his size.  just before I started to work with this horse he had previously just bowed his left front tendon, had contracted heels, dropped soles on the front, was "quicked" (He had a history of many farriers injuring him with nails driven into sensitive tissues on the left front foot.)  And, his owners were seriously considering putting him down because of all of his constant pain from his "issues".  His heels were contracted because his frogs had for many years not born any of his weight.  His heels couldn't be dropped to engage the heels without causing the front tendons to bow again.  Because of the extreme upright front angles, especially on the left front foot, the coffin bone was driving the sole down to the ground (prolapsing the sole), and stretching the laminae at the toe.

Because his inside (medial) hoof wall on the left front foot was curved under him, I couldn't drive heel nails on there without driving them into sensitive tissue.  I decided that each of his problems had to addressed without exacerbating any one of the other issues he had--no easy task.

So, I decided to pad him for two reasons: 1) his sole was too thin just below the tip of the coffin bone, and he needed more protection there. 2) I knew that I could use frog support pads with two-part silicone putty to add weight to and engage his frogs so that his heels would widen over time. 3) to redistribute weight away from the hoof walls at the heels so that they wouldn't further crush underneath him (curve under him) and 4) to add a wedge in the pad to relieve pressure from the bowed tendon that threatened to bow again and was life threatening.

Then I had two other problems to deal with:  1) His feet were growing too slowly to change things quickly over time, and 2) only front 2 nails out of four on the inside could be driven to keep a shoe on the left front that needed to be widened on the inside to get it where it should be to support his weight properly, 3) he might step on the widened shoe and tear it off--a high probability that could lead to his having to be put down.

So, I drilled and tapped the sides of the shoes to take a stainless steel screw on each side that would hold on a hose clamp that I cut and placed across the front of his foot.  And, to keep him from stepping on the inside of the widened left front shoe I used Vettec SuperFast to fill in the area, and also prevent him from tearing at the inside of the hose clamp and head of the screw.  I have never lost a single shoe that has been fastened this way.  We reset these shoes over and over for about a year and a half, and he never lost one.

This horse still has regular frog support pads (no wedge) on with two-part silicone putty and copper sulfate, but his heels expanded enough that he didn't need the clamp anymore as insurance to keep the shoes on.  He also will accept all 8 nails offered in the shoes, including the heel nails.  His heels are upright, but are no longer contracted.  With regular consistent work he hasn't bowed another front tendon. 

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