Therapeutic Shoeing, Part 1: Foot Fundamentals

The beginning of this two-part discussion on therapeutic shoeing addresses the anatomy, conformation, and biomechanical principles of the equine foot; the trim as the foundation of farriery; and diagnostic imaging.

Any discussion of therapeutic shoeing in the horse must begin with a discussion of what therapeutic shoeing is–and what it is not. According to Stephen O’Grady, DVM, MRCVS, professional farrier and owner of Northern Virginia Equine, in Marshall, therapeutic shoeing (or therapeutic farriery) is “the science and art of affecting/influencing the structures of the foot.” It is not a cookie-cutter, “apply shoe A to foot B” magic bullet in the war on equine lameness. To understand how the foot structures can be influenced, we should first have a clear picture of those structures and the forces that act on them.

“In an ideal world, you would begin from a diagn

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