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Managing Flat-soled Horses

  1. No knife!
    • Trim as little as possible from the underside of the foot
    • Take the toe back from the front of the foot, not the underside
  2. Support the foot
    • Move the base caudally by rasping the heels back to the widest part of the frog
    • Consider thorough heel support; grind down the solar surface of the shoe so that the shoe is not putting pressure on the sole
    • Support and protect the sole by using the impression material of your choice packed into the underside of the foot once the shoe has been set; if nothing else, fill the lateral commissures (sulci) of the frog
  3. Keep the shoeing interval short (e.g. 4 - 5 weeks), and be consistent - increasing the interval between trims will not result in the horse growing a stronger hoof wall
  4. Manage any flaring of the wall and confine the wall with an appropriate sized shoe (with or without clips)
  5. Minimize chipping and breaking of the wall by controlling large changes in hoof moisture
    • Take the horse off pasture during wet conditions
    • Have the owner regularly apply a hoof protectant (not hoof softener) to the lower 1/3 of the wall (from the nail holes down)
  6. Encourage the owner to reduce the horse's body weight, if overweight
    • Taking the horse off pasture, using a muzzle, or decreasing pasture access is a big help (it also helps control changes in hoof moisture)
    • Minimal grain
    • Daily exercise is also important