POOR OR INCONSISTENT FARRIERY CARE
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.