Adjustable Heart Bar - Discussion

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Q: Please send me further info about adjustable heart bar shoes so that I can intelligently speak with my farrier. My Arab is in 14 degree rotation.


A: The adjustable heart bar shoe functions on the same basic principle as regular heart bar shoes do--they transfer the weight of the horse onto the frog to support the bony column and thus stop further rotation and sometimes even reverse existing rotation. Without them the horse's weight can and often does push the coffin bone right through the sole of the foot because the bond that holds the hoof wall to the sensitive structures inside has broken down due to laminitis and the weight is no longer carried on the hoof wall.
With the adjustable heart bar shoe the exact position of the frog support can be adjusted up or down AFTER the shoe is applied to the foot, thus insuring the proper amount of weight bearing without detrimental pressure. With a regular heart bar shoe the farrier is making a well-educated guess when he constructs the frog support. He won't know if he is correct until the shoe is nailed on. If he is wrong the shoe must be removed immediately, altered and then re-applied. This causes double the trauma to the horse from nailing.
The adjustable heart bar shoe can also be adjusted at intervals (usually of one week), thus maintaining a useful and correct amount of support under the frog as the horse's hoof grows. Not only does this keep proper support longer than is possible with a regular heart bar shoe, but it allows longer intervals between shoeings, which again minimizes trauma.
Both types of heart bar shoes must only be constructed and applied by experienced and skilled farriers because if fitted incorrectly they can be useless or can cause complications which will make the horse suffer even more than he was and can even cause him to die.
If your farrier is interested in learning how to construct and apply the adjustable heart bar shoes please have him or her contact me as explained at . The cost of the package is $50.
I can tell you that I have seen fantastic results from both types of heart bar shoes, especially the adjustables. Horses that could barely be prodded to walk from the trailer to the shop, jogged guardedly but comfortably when they left. I have also seen some terrible disappointments and horses made worse with some of the "fancy" new methods using Styrofoam, rails, etc. I'm sure they help sometimes but not that I have seen.

There is a picture of an adjustable heart bar shoe several places on our web site including Adjustable Heart Bar Shoes .

My heart goes out to your poor horse with 14 degrees rotation! I would not waste a second in starting preparations for getting a foundered horse of mine shod with frog support, even though many vets will tell you to wait and see what happens. In the meantime you can support the frog temporarily with Lily Pads or even rolls of gauze. They are better than nothing until your horse can be shod for founder.
Good luck!

Mrs. Mary Bayard
Owner/trainer Dodge Creek Stables
The American Blacksmith
Oakland, Oregon


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This entire web site is copyright protected.  1996-2001 Geronimo & Mary Bayard,  2001-2008 Mary Fitzpatrick
All rights reserved. Contact Mary for reproduction information & permission.