I recently purchased a 2 1/2 year old Warmblood gelding. He has a 2 degree club
foot which I thought I could manage with proper shoeing. His x-rays do not
demonstate any lateral rotation but there is laminar inflammation and some
remodeling at the tip if the coffin bone. He is lame after every trimming. I
would like to know if early corrective shoeing can correct this mechanical
problem? Any ideas? The vet in my area seems to like check ligament surgery
as an option.
I'm afraid that shoeing club feet is one of the more controversial and difficult
situations farriers face. It is beyond the area of my expertise. Geronimo did
answer several questions regarding this condition although we never posted them
to the web site. I will copy/paste part of one of the answers below in the hope
that it might give you some general info to go on. A few specific references in
it will not apply to your horse, of course, but in general it will give you
Geronimo's ideas on club feet:
When I am called out to work on a horse that is club
footed, whether it is the result of heredity or injury, I know that I am not
going to be able to change that clubfoot to a normal foot. So, my approach has
always been to drop the heels a little on the clubfoot and try to promote some
cupping and heel growth on the flat foot. In other words to try to strike a
happy medium between the two. It is a balancing act.
I do my best to get both feet synchronized to where
they can co-exist with one another. Sometimes we get lucky and things work well
for an extended period of time. But the problem never really goes away. It is
always there to deal with again when you come back in 6 weeks. If the horse is
worked on EVERY 6 weeks without fail, the amount of work becomes less and less.
In my experience that is the best you can hope for. If the horse is not
stumbling or falling down, not hitting himself or developing heat or swelling
and is moving in an acceptable fashion, count yourself lucky.
Sometimes it is difficult to deal with these types of
problems as the horse owner, especially if you have fallen in love with this
animal. Perhaps you need to rethink your role where this horse is concerned. Do
you want to spend the time and money trying to solve a problem that is difficult
to impossible for even the most accomplished farrier to get results from? Are
you sure you want to train this horse that may remain at least slightly off for
all his life?
You do not say what your equestrian discipline is but
if it is anything more stressful than pleasure or trail work this young horse is
a very poor prospect. Trying to make him fit your mold is not really fair to the
I do suggest that you read my Q&A on long toe, low
heel syndrome to help you with the other foot that is flat. Perhaps correcting
this problem will help the horse move less unevenly. You are absolutely right in
wanting the elevated egg bar shoe but definitely not a wedge pad.
Now, one other thing--go stand in front of a full
length mirror and look closely at yourself. Do you have one arm a little longer
than the other? Is one shoulder a little more broad or muscular than the other?
Is one knee higher off the ground than the other? What I am getting at is that
there are farriers out there honestly and sometimes dishonestly attempting to
correct what nature has created. No living creature is perfectly symmetrical or
geometrically unflawed but most compensate well for these oddities. Frequently
less is better. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."
I can tell you that I myself have been guilty as a
young horseshoer of attempting to correct nature. It doesn't work. So don't fall
for this shimming with pads to try and compensate for so called high and low
shoulders or high and low hips.
I will remind you that if you look at the anatomy of
the horse you will see that the horse's shoulders are not attached to the
horse's skeleton by other then muscle. So perhaps conditioning might be
something you should consider. The unevenness in the shoulders could well simply
be uneven muscle development.
If it has to be this horse for you because of love of
this animal or other reason, then read all my Q&As & Articles. Maybe you
will find the answer there. The vet and another farrier examining your horse may
offer you some solutions also.
Now it is me, Mary, again.
As for your horse being sore after trimming, my first thought is to begin to
shoe him so as to keep the coffin area from coming in contact with the ground.
And, as Geronimo said, you must consider whether this is the horse for you or if
you should cut your losses.
Sorry I can't help more,
Mrs. Mary Bayard
Dodge Creek Stables
The American Blacksmith