Navicular Horse--Leg Buckling Under

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Q: We have a horse, she is fine at a relaxed trot. When you ask her to pick up the pace and go foward, her left front leg seems to buckle under her. She has slight navicular and wears egg bar shoes with pads and borium.

She is a 11 year old Dutch warmblood mare.

Would you be able to give any advise on what might be cause this? We could e- mail photos of her legs and shoes if that would help.

Thank you

A: As a farrier with over forty years' experience, I can offer an educated guess as to what may be going on with your mare. It sounds like this horse has too much shoe and traction, which is causing her leg to buckle under her. Let me explain…the egg bar shoes not only extend support further back of the hoof, but also increase traction and the time that the shoe is left on the ground (slows down break-over). The borium, which is a very abrasive and gripping element, also extends the length of time the shoe spends on the ground. The horse is moving at a speed at which her feet fall behind the momentum of her body due to the slowed break-over. With all this friction and traction, the leg has to buckle because it is being pulled forward by the body while the hoof remains on the ground. This would be my logic as to why I would not shoe this horse with egg bar shoes and borium.

I also wouldn't suggest pads. If they needed to be used, I would only use heavy leather pads.

I would suggest you read my web site Q&As on navicular. I am not saying that your farrier hasn't done right. I am simply saying that this is not how I would shoe a navicular horse.

The shoeing regime that has worked best for me, has been a swelled heel of approximately 2 degrees, a rocker toe, and a piece of rasp welded on the ground surface in the area under the navicular bone to prevent it from being struck from below.

Read my Q&As on Navicular and also the one entitled Stumbling for more information. I hope this helps you in some way to figure out what is best for your horse.


Geronimo Bayard
The Village Blacksmith

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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.