Navicular Rope Horse

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Q: I have a 14 year old rope horse that I have had all of his life. He has navicular and about 10 months ago I made a big stop on him and he came up sore. I have tried a lot of things and have taken him to a good vet in Redding , I live in Auburn CA.

I have a new shoer and she and I are trying to work together on him. Why donít you like aluminum egg bar shoes? After reading some of your articles I think maybe he has a deep bruise on his deep flexor tendon from the stop. Right now I have him in a rolled toe shoe with a 3 degree wedge pad and have had some some success. I was thinking of trying that GE Navicular shoe and get him out of the pads. He is an awesome rope horse and I want him back, what do you think?

A: The main thing I have always disliked about aluminum shoes is that they wear out so quickly--especially if you ride on any gravel or rock, they are trashed in no time.
 
The main thing Geronimo disliked about aluminum shoes is that he felt that they passed more of the shock up into the horse's leg than steel did. I honestly can not affirm or disprove this. When he shaped the shoes, aluminum would make his arm hurt much more and he could feel the shock of the hammer much more, was what he based it on.
 
We both didn't like aluminum because most shoers are not as proficient at working with it and the shoes frequently end up not fitting as well and/or the foot is made to fit the shoe.
 
I haven't any personal experience with the GE Navicular Shoe but it certainly looks interesting. It has a rolled toe and a raised heel, both of which are good for navicular relief.
 
A farrier with good forge skills could build you a raised or wedged steel egg bar shoe with rocker or rolled toe which would do about the same thing.
 
The dropped down egg bar which is pictured on our web site in several places including http://americanblacksmith.com/blacksmithstable/nonexistent_heels.htm would also accomplish similar things and can be built using mechanical welding equipment so the farrier doesn't need to be proficient at forge welding.
 
I personally would prefer any of these raised-heel type of shoes to wedge pads since I don't care for wedge pads, although they are one way to raise the heel and many people swear by them.
 
Don't forget to consider welding a piece of hoof rasp between the branches of the shoe if you use steel, in order to protect the navicular area from being struck from below. If you use this you must be sure that there is no pressure from it on the frog.
 
I fully appreciate how badly you want your awesome rope horse back to soundness, especially since you have owned him his whole life, and I wish you all the best luck with him. Please let me know what you end up doing and how it works out.
 
Sincerely,
Mary Bayard
 
American Blacksmith
Murphys, California

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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.