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Shoes Too Long?
  2002 Richard Klimesh   Copyright Information


Dear Mr. Klimesh,

   The Western Horseman article on stumbling 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 Clydsdale 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 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.) 

Your Horse Barn DVD   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.

Horse For Sale by Cherry Hill   For the large shoes that a 1300 pound horse like yours requires, extending the shoe 1" 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!


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