HOOVES ARE THE BASE OF SUPPORT

Hooves are the base of support for all horses. It is vital to the horse to know where his legs and hooves are and to be able to navigate any path we have chosen for them to maneuver through. The hooves are one of the most integral parts of a horse to allow the horse to be able to stack up in neutral alignment with a leg at each corner. When the hooves are well maintained, the horse is more able to connect with his body to able to move towards self-carriage and freedom in movement. When the horse can be in neutral alignment, the stresses and leverages on the soft tissue and joints are at a minimum.

Farrier care is pivotal in every horse’s care regime. When a hoof is trimmed well, they are in balance from side to side and from toe to heel. Each hoof and leg is also in balance when the hooves are maintained well. Balance is determined by each horse’s individual anatomy. Proper trimming balances the hoof to the interior structures providing a three dimensional balance.

There are few things that help indicate ideal balance.  

  • The overall health of the external tissue. A healthy strong wall all the way around the hoof with good white line connection suggests healthy, balanced blood flow and proper limb loading. A healthy robust frog that is free from disease is also a good indication of overall hoof health.
  • The hoof should be in proportional balance to itself, with an ideal base of support of 50/50 around the center of rotation. This balance means that leverages are reduced on soft tissue, blood flow around the entire hoof is ideal, and the horse is better able to stand in a neutral stance.
  • The bones below the fetlock (phalanges) should all line up. If there are deviations from lining up, such as broken back or broken forward (low heeled vs. high heeled respectively), there will be additional stresses to the soft tissue and joints. Deviations in these bones can really affect the horse’s ability to stand with a leg in each corner.

I encourage all owners to have an open line of communication with their farrier (along with the veterinarian, trainer, and bodyworker) to help determine if each horse has a solid base of support through the hooves to reach their full potential. Many times the farrier’s work must be in conjunction with correct movement and exercise along with bodywork to help each horse achieve neutral balance and their maximum potential.       

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Kendra Skorstad has been a lifelong horse enthusiast and a professional farrier for over 10 years. Her passion and love of the horse is the driving force behind her work. She values staying on the forefront of farrier science through continuing education and establishing working relationships with her fellow farriers to build a stronger community.

Kendra approaches each horse as an individual and helps to manage all aspects of hoof health. Kendra’s dedication and commitment to the horse includes owner education and open, clear lines of communication. She values teamwork with the veterinarian, owner, trainer, and barn manager when formulating care plans for rehabilitative and maintenance hoof care.

Her level of commitment to individualized care, drive for continuing education, “out of the box” problem solving skills, and an open mind is unique and unparalleled.

 

For more information about her services or to contact Kendra regarding your horse you can visit her website www.connectedhealing.com or call her directly at 847-840-1196.