Magic Of A Reverse Horse Shoe
I’ve been known for taking on some great horses that were once lame. Many of these horses have belonged to my friends who had previously and successfully competed on them. These horses are valuable, well-trained, kid-safe but, sadly, were lame at early ages. My friends are grateful when I “adopt” their horses because they know that I’ll do my best to turn them around. I have fixed many of these good souls to return to a sound performance. What are the methods I use? How have I been able to fix them? It all starts with my good farrier, Troy Jewell. Not only does he do great work, but he believes in me. When I walk a lame horse out of a stall and to the cross ties to talk about my plan, Troy just shakes his head and smiles. He knows where we are about to go…
Step 1: Get the horse on well-balanced hooves with short toes and plenty of heel.
Step 2: Try a heart bar, or a rocker therapeutic shoe with Equipac for 2 farrier cycles.
Step 3: If that does not work, go for the MAGIC of the reverse shoe.
I call it magic because it really doesn’t seem like it would change the outcome any differently than a heart bar or other heel support method. But there are some differences that have really turned a few lame horses around.
The open toe keeps the toes short throughout the growth cycle of the hoof due to the constant abrasion of the toe against the ground. By keeping continual short toes, the horse never experiences the stress on the heel of their hoof that can be caused by long toes. This stress is caused by the weight bearing change that occurs when the horse’s toes start to get long at the end of the six week shoe cycle. Simply, the toes never grow longer during the time between farrier trims.
With the backward shoe, the heel is supported just like when we use therapeutic shoes for heel pain and navicular problems.
There’s one other unique feature to our reverse horseshoe. I think it’s the real magic. Troy grinds the ends of the shoe that are near the toe so there is a bevel shape, thinning the metal to the front of the shoe.
The backward shoe idea came from my dear friend, and veterinarian, Dr. Cindi Lacroix. According to Dr. Lacroix, the important difference for many horses who become sound with this method is that the toe is lowered rather than the heel raised. That is the part that I sometimes have to call the MAGIC of the backward shoe. Heel raised? Toe lowered? Does it really amen sense? Just ask any of my good old school horses who go around comfortably with their kiddos, safely, all day long. I bet they would have a lot of good things to say about this method!