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January 2003

Your Horse Barn - DVD
Horse Hoof Care
Maximum Hoof Power
Your Horse Barn DVD
Horsekeeping On A Small Acreage
Horse For Sale by Cherry Hill
Your Horse Barn DVD
Horsekeeping On A Small Acreage

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Hoof Care Issue

This newsletter is a personal letter from me to you,
a fellow horse owner and enthusiast.
My goal is to answer some of your questions and send you interesting stories and helpful tips for your
horse care, training, and riding.


Horse Information Newsletter from Cherry Hill Why Care About Hoof Care?

Horse Information Newsletter from Cherry Hill Good Shoeing Checklist

Horse Information Newsletter from Cherry Hill Ask Richard: Shoes Too Long?


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Hoof care is one of those areas of horse care that is often not given enough attention until there is a problem. That's what I have observed as a farrier's wife. My husband, Richard Klimesh, AFA CJF, was a farrier for the public for 17 years with clients like the CSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital, Budweiser Clydesdales, and competitors in events everywhere from reining to endurance riding. (He shifted gears to writing and videography in 1994; since then, I've been lucky to have my own exclusive farrier.)

Horse For Sale by Cherry HillDuring the years he shod for the public, we both saw that people try to stretch the interval between shoeings or pull their horse's shoes over the winter in an attempt to save money. But in the long run, they'd end up spending more money in vet bills and hoof repair than if they had kept their horses on a regular hoof care program. That's why we both urge you to become very knowledgeable about hoof care, choose your farrier carefully, develop a good relationship with him or her, and keep your horses on a regular hoof care schedule. I thank Richard for providing the helpful articles for this newsletter.


Why Care About Hoof Care?

Richard Klimesh

Why is it that your horse needs his hooves trimmed every six weeks while wild horses get along fine without ever seeing a farrier?

Horses evolved over millions of years in semi-arid climates traveling over varied terrain. Constant use made their hooves tough and resistant to abrasion. Hooves wore evenly and growth matched wear. Natural selection eliminated horses with unsound feet. Today's wild horses live in similar conditions as prehistoric horses, but domestic horses definitely do not. Many horses spend most of their time in a pen or stall, and when they are exercised it is often for a short period on soft footing. Their hooves don't wear away so get too long, deform and break off in chunks. When the hooves grow unevenly or wear unevenly, they become imbalanced; this can lead to many forms of lameness. In addition, domestic horses are often bred for a pretty head or coat pattern - no matter how bad the hooves of the mare or stallion. So poor feet are often passed on through genetics.

Here are some things to consider when planning a hoof care program for your horse; and when deciding whether to shoe your horse or leave him barefoot.


Good Shoeing Checklist

Richard Klimesh

Your hoof care program affects your horse's immediate performance as well as his long-term soundness. You might not think you need to pay much attention to your horse's shoeing as long as your horse is sound and his shoes don't fall off. The good news is that horses are very adaptable and they can often tolerate poor hoof care for months or even years; the bad news is that by the time signs of lameness appear, irreparable damage might already be done. Shoeing methods used to keep shoes on at all costs often ignore critical shoeing principles and might end up putting your horse out of commission for good.

Guidelines for judging the quality of a shoeing job can include such details as how neatly the frog is trimmed, the size of the clinches and how far the nail heads protrude from the shoe. Details like these are important to some degree, but usually are not critical to your horse's soundness. There are four very important aspects of shoeing, however, that you can readily evaluate: balance, shape, support, and expansion. All you need is a pencil and a safe place to tie your horse on level ground. It's best to evaluate a shoeing job within the first week or two.


Hoof balance includes many aspects of a horses conformation and movement and has been discussed at length in many books and articles. One type of balance, however, is relatively easy for anyone to quickly assess: it's called Dorsal-Palmar (DP) balance.
DP balance refers to the alignment of the hoof and the pastern. DP balance can be measured...(to read the rest of the article, go here: Good_Shoeing.


Shoes Too Long?

Dear Mr. Klimesh,

The Western Horseman article was great. I have a question I am really hoping you can answer. My horse was just shod with the heels of the rear shoes coming out way beyond what I am accustomed to - one inch on the outsides and 3/4 inch on the insides. He says this is so the horse will stay sound in the long run. I need a second opinion.

My question is: Can you see any advantage to having the heels of the rear shoes come out this far - farther than the midline of the cannon bone, not so far as the line of the back of the leg? Can it do any damage?

Other information: My horse is sound. He is a 12-year-old Foxtrotter with a little Clydesdale in there and weighs 1300 pounds. He wears 3's on the front and 2's behind. I ride more than most people-5 days a week and one day weekly is a long trail ride. Here in Arizona the footing can be rubble rock and during dry times the trail can be similar to concrete. If his back toes aren't dubbed he forges but only when he goes uphill. He is a horse that doesn't pick up his feet very high as he travels. This is a fabulous minded horse I want to keep sound forever.

Thank you so much. I just ordered the Maximum Hoof Power book.

Corinne Geertsen

Hi Corinne,

I'm glad you enjoyed my Stumbling article. I'll try to answer your question, although please understand that it's difficult to be precise without actually seeing your horse and his shoeing.

Your Horse Barn DVDFor the large shoes that a 1300 pound horse like yours requires, extending the shoe 1 inch rearward past the heels of the hoof does not sound excessive, regardless of where the midline of the cannon falls. The extra length will provide your horse additional support and may indeed be good for his soundness in the long run. Also, the longer hind shoes will help protect your horse's heel bulbs when riding (and sliding downhill) on loose rock. The only drawback I can see is if your horse has a habit of snagging the extended heels and losing shoes - but this is rarely a problem with hind shoes.

Your horse is fortunate to have an owner that is concerned enough about his long term soundness to ask questions. From what I hear, your farrier is on the right track - let's hope that he stays sound for many years, too!      


That's it for this month. Don't forget, when you ride, keep your mind in the middle and a leg on each side.

Cherry Hill


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