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Farrier Wisdom
Medical Index
First Posted: May 29, 2012
Aug 30, 2012

Corrective Hoof Care/Damaged Front Hoof

by Debora Johnson


A Patchy damaged his hoof frolicking in the field. I suspect he shattered it on a large rock. I always find it quite amazing what a knowledgeable farrier can do. It should be noted that both our horses have good feet and are given hoof care supplements, as well as regular hoof maintenance. Both Rusty and A Patchy are barefoot all year around. We have never had any hoof problems until this accident. A Patchy must have hit his hoof really hard and just right to do this!

Visual from top of shattered hoof. You can see that the piece of keg shoe has already be affixed in this picture. However, I wanted you to be able to see the extent of the break before the filler was affixed.

Don has carefully measured and then notched the keg shoe to fit around shattered area and secure it.

Keg shoe being cut at notches made by Don and buffed in the picture to the right.

Don is taking the sharp edges off of the keg shoe piece that has been cut to fit the shattered area. This piece will be attached to hold hoof and filler in place until the hoof can grow out. The reason a complete shoe was not used was less nail holes would be needed in the hoof this way.

Piece is being checked again for fit in picture on left. Picture on right notice that some plastic wrap has been wound around the fashioned piece to allow growth distance between the hoof and the shoe.

Broken hoof area has been prepared, shoe piece sized to hoof area, buffed and is being nailed.

Don is filling in shattered area in these two pictures.

Plastic wrap is wound around the hoof area where filler has been applied and left on for a brief period until filler is mostly set. Then plastic wrap is removed.

Other Materials Used

Hard bristle brush, acetone and plastic wrap on spool.

A Patchy's hoof grew out well but there still remains a vertical surface crack on the outside of the hoof. In time it will be rasped out. There was never any lameness with this hoof. We used Cavallo boots on A Patchy's front hooves when we rode. He had no rubbing or any other problems with those boots. Don said those were the ones he wanted us to purchase because he has never seen any problems with them. We did just that!

Cavallo Boot

Aaron Hutchison, our new farrier recommended by Don, is working on the remaining toe crack. He has slightly changed the angle on the front feet by lowering the heels. This redistributes the weight away from the toe. If the crack persists, although there is no lameness and it is superficial, we may consider putting on front shoes until the crack grows out. It is a last resort, however. Shoes make holes in the horn--winter is coming--when we would always pull shoes. My husband and I prefer to stay away from the shoes.

I will continue update this article with more pictures as the hoof continues to grow so that you can see the progress with the surface crack.

Farrier Wisdom
Medical Index