RISK FAC­TOR

POOR OR IN­CON­SIS­TENT FARRIERY CARE

EQUUS - - Eq In Brief -

Hoof im­bal­ances place stress on all the joints above them. Whether it’s chronic long toes and low heels or over­growth re­sult­ing from in­con­sis­tently sched­uled trims, slip­shod farriery care con­trib­utes di­rectly to the devel­op­ment of arthri­tis.

A bad or in­ap­pro­pri­ate trim won’t nec­es­sar­ily lead to im­me­di­ate lame­ness---horses are good at com­pen­sat­ing in the short term---which can make poor farriery work hard to de­tect. But the sub­clin­i­cal dam­age done by hoof im­bal­ances takes a toll on joints, lead­ing to arthri­tis years down the line.

Se­lect­ing the right far­rier, then, is key to pre­vent­ing arthri­tis. One smart ap­proach is to seek rec­om­men­da­tions from other own­ers who par­tic­i­pate in the same sports or ac­tiv­i­ties that you do: If you com­pete in rein­ing, for in­stance, look for the shoe­ing pro­fes­sional who cares for the sound­est rein horses in the area. Also ask your vet­eri­nar­ian for rec­om­men­da­tions.

Once you’ve cho­sen a far­rier, stick to a reg­u­lar sched­ule for trim­ming and shoe­ing. Don’t wait un­til hooves are over­grown to call for an ap­point­ment. Sched­ule vis­its at reg­u­lar in­ter­vals, then stick to those dates.

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