Before and After Hoof Results Using the EasyShoe Flex

By Daisy Bicking of Daisy Haven Farm

Watching and reading about the latest innovations from EasyCare Inc. is always exciting and the release of the final product full of eager anticipation. Now that the EasyShoe Flex is here I find more options available to me as a hoof care provider than I know what to do with! The Flex comes in open heel or with frog support, with a metal plate or without, with quarter clips or toe clip, and can be glued, nailed, or both.  So how do you decide? The only way we knew how to figure it out was to try them and be creative with their use! 

My friend and colleague, farrier Dan Schroeder, direct nailed the Flex (on the right in photo collage below). He's had a lot of success improving soundness in horses with this type of application. I gravitate to glue of some kind, although my teammate Heather Colket did an application with glue and nails (on the left on the photo below) and found this was also beneficial to the horse.

I found most of my personal applications utilize the heart bar versions with glue, dental impression material, and hoof casting. We played with the Flex Light, which has no steel spring core.  For others when more stability was needed, we used the Flex Heart Bar, which has a spring steel metal plate from heel to heel. All were easy to apply and achieve the goals we were aiming for, and the horses maintained or improved their soundness.  

Here's an example of one of my favorite methods of application.

Mollie Rose is a 18-year-old thoroughbred mare with chronic arthritis.  

Both front fetlocks have arthritis however the right front is more significant for lameness than the left.  


When I met Mollie Rose in August this year I was asked if I could help her be more comfortable, if not sound. It was difficult to evaluate the previous farrier's work because she was due to be re-set and therefore her foot was long. One of the biggest challenges impacting the soundness of horses with this mare's problems is leverage on the arthritic joint and surrounding soft tissue. So assessment at the end of the trim/shoeing cycle should be evaluated with caution. The feedback from her owner was that she often galloped around the field but was not sound, and could not be ridden at her current comfort level even though she had been in the past. Despite the farrier's best efforts the horse's comfort level had declined and the owner wanted to try something different.  

Here is her right front foot when I met her, with the radiograph taken at the time of that shoeing.

This style of shoeing, a banana shoe, where the ground surface and the foot surface are both curved with no flat surface, can greatly benefit horses with a variety of problems.  Put simply, the idea is that the horse can select the balance and alignment that is most comfortable to them, especially when arthritic conditions leave us somewhat guessing as to what balance change would most benefit the horse.  You can see this mare, Mollie Rose, chose to rock up onto the front part of the shoe, thereby functionally giving herself a more upright alignment to her foot and distal limb.  

My hypothesis was that this horse would benefit from a shorter trim cycle thereby reducing leverage on her joints and length of her foot over time, easing the wear and tear on the joint and surrounding soft tissue.  (See my blog PHCP Conference 2016: Packed Full of Gold, where Dr. Hillary Clayton discusses leverage on joints and soft tissue). I also wondered if she would like additional caudal support with a heart bar shoe and impression material as well as a change of material to something softer - composites!  

After removing her shoes, I trimmed her and applied Easyboot Clouds for cushion, protection and the mechanical advantage of the internal foam pad being a heel wedge.  




I knew that even with the boots and wedged Cloud Pad, I could not create the maximum leverage reduction this horse needed for long term comfort. By adding the EasyShoe Flex Light, I was not only able to achieve the additional heel support I felt would help her, but also allow her to wear the shoe and hoof casting into even more wedge and leverage reduction over time as she grew.  

I chose the EasyShoe Flex Light because I could really push the modifications she might need.  Here you can see where I really brought the circumference of the shoe in, and while I could make these modifications in the Flex Heartbar pictured on the left, I also thought she'd benefit from the lighter shoe without the metal plate.  I also modified the ground surface further with my cordless grinder before applying hoof casting.  

I prepared the foot by first applying a trim to get as close to my hoof guidelines as possible.



I also cleaned and dried the foot, applying antimicrobial topicals like Fungidye in the quarters, and Artimud around the frog and bars. Then I applied the shoe and packing, using soft dental impression material to cover the contracted heels and build a slight wedge to prevent further contracture. I followed up with acrylic glue, and by pressing down in the toe created a bit of heel wedge with the glue. This further addresses leverage issues and gets me closer to those hoof guidelines above. Finally I added additional impression material at the heels to protect them from the casting.



The entire shoeing package was finished with hoof casting:

It's very interesting to observe how Mollie Rose is adapting to her new shoes, only 2 weeks post-shoeing. She has worn the composite materials, hoof cast, Flex Light shoe, and acrylic glue at the toe, creating more wedge and wearing the break over even further back.  



Her comfort level has greatly improved even though it's been a very short period of time.  

When we compare the radiographs for hoof balance from the banana shoe, to barefoot, to new EasyShoe Flex, there are interesting changes. Why is Mollie Rose so much more comfortable in her new shoes? Certainly the alignment and angles are very similar between the old shoe and new shoe.  

Could it be a subtle aspect of balance? Maybe a shorter trim/shoeing cycle?  Maybe the change of material?   Horses are such complex creatures, I'm just grateful I have the EasyShoe Flex as an option to create dynamic mechanics to help a horse like this one!  

For more information about Daisy and help with glueing composite shoes like the EasyShoe Flex, please see www.IntegrativeHoofSchool.com for a schedule of upcoming hands-on workshops!  

 

Glue-On Composite Shoes Help the Horse & Build Bridges

By Daisy Bicking of Daisy Haven Farm

In the past, I’ve written about the importance of finding common ground with each other. Whether you call yourself a farrier, barefoot trimmer, equine podiatrist or hoof care provider, it doesn't matter because we're all responsible for the same thing:

The care and soundness of the horse’s foot.

I’ve written about how we all have beliefs about what we do with the horse’s foot along the lines of religious conviction. (See blog "One Hoof Church, All Religions") We tend to think in terms of Good and Bad, Right and Wrong. However, I believe we are more than that. I believe that what we can learn from each other about helping a horse overcomes anything that could divide us.

I get to travel all over the world teaching and helping others be successful using glue-on composite shoes like the EasyShoe (Performance, NG, Sport, Compete, and new Flex) Easyboot Glue-On, Easyboot LC, and Easyboot Flip Flop. The diversity of practitioners attending these clinics amazes me: farrier, trimmer, podiatrist and hoof care provider.  The glue-on composite shoe clinics attract individuals from a variety of backgrounds and training styles who come together in one place to learn how to help the horse. There are very few places where such a strongly opinionated group of people can come learn together and dare I say, even learn from each other!

Glue-on composite shoes create a common ground that bridges the differences between us, and opens the door to opportunities to help each other help horses more effectively. They're a tool that accommodates not only differences in trim style, and differences in believe about shoe placement and fit, but they cross international differences of language and culture. Regardless of a person's background or location, glue-ons are a tool that anyone can successfully use to help the horse.

I recently traveled to Norway and was excited to see many diverse practitioners come together again.  We had participants who called themselves farriers, blacksmiths, and natural balance farriers.  We also had barefoot trimmers from multiple schools of training, and several veterinarians.   Everyone was open-minded to new ideas and respected each other.

We had fun, learned from each other, and helped a number of horses in the process. 

At this clinic in particular we talked a lot about the Four Stages of Learning.

Many of us operate in the first stage of learning, Unconscious Incompetence, meaning you don't know what you don't know.  When you realize you need to learn more, you get to the second stage of learning, Conscious Incompetence, which is a very uncomfortable place to be but often motivates you to obtain more education, like coming to a hoof clinic.  Then you learn more, and get to Stage 3, Conscious Competence, meaning you can use a new skill but with concentration and effort.  Then finally when you've practiced enough, and have proficiency at the task you get to the fourth stage of learning, Unconscious Competence, meaning you can do something competently without conscious thought.  

In order for such a diverse group of practitioners to get together, often the participants have to be willing to live in Stage 2, a place of Conscious Incompetence, in front of their peers, many from opposing philosophies.  It takes a great deal of mental and emotional toughness to put yourself in that place.  The group from Norway excelled at being open-minded and supported each other by sharing new ideas without judgment.  They each took away new information and skills to practice, which moved them to Stage 3, Conscious Competence.

I am amazingly proud to share a tool that can create common ground among diverse practitioners. There is so much to gain from coming together and learning from each other, I am grateful that glue-on composite shoes can create a platform for sharing as well as be a valuable tool to help the horse.  

 

For more information on Daisy Haven Farm and Glue-on Composite Shoe clinics please see:
www.DaisyHavenFarm.com
www.IntegrativeHoofSchool.com
 

 

UC Davis 32nd Heumphreus Lecture and the EasyShoe Flex

Submitted by Daisy Bicking of Daisy Haven Farm Inc.

There are some moments in your life when you know you’re part of a very special, very unique opportunity. Some of those moments are personal, like graduating from high school, your wedding day, or even the birth of your child. Professionally, these moments are a little different but, in many ways, equally as special. For me, one of the most special opportunities I’ve been given is gluing for Team Easyboot at Tevis in 2016. I am fortunate to have many occasions like these so far in my life.

Recently I was given another incredible opportunity, when I was asked to present the 32nd Annual Heumphreus Memorial Lecture at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine alongside Dr. Nick Frank of Tufts University in MA.

The Heumphreus Memorial Lecture honors Charlies Heumphreus, a farrier at UC Davis for 19 years. Charlie’s legacy was the importance of the veterinarian-farrier relationship. The memorial lecture honors that legacy by choosing veterinarians and farriers to present on topics that follow that theme.

I was asked to do two lectures, followed by a live horse demo and hands-on for participants. The lectures were: “Hoof Mapping for Laminitis” and “Laminitis and Synthetics: Solving Old World Problems Using Modern Materials.” It was an honor to share my ideas and experience with veterinarians, students, and a broad range of hoof care providers.

I am always grateful to Garrett Ford and EasyCare Inc. for their support of educational events around the world. Providing free or discounted products like EasyShoesGlue-On boots, glue, tips, and more has helped me share the benefits of glue-on composite EasyShoes, Easyboots, etc with many over the years. And now, with the Heumphreus Memorial Lecture, EasyCare supported education again and generously provided the new EasyShoe Flex for my demo and hands-on for participants for this event, as well!  

This shoe, the EasyShoe Flex, is exciting to me for many reasons - maybe not the same reasons as other hoof care providers. Clearly, it is an easy choice as a nail-on application to help a lot of horses. I also see the wide web with heart bar frog support option and metal plate incredibly beneficial to horses in rehabilitation applications especially when glued with hoof packing and a hoof cast applied on top. While I use many EasyShoe Performance and Performance N/Gs, I see the Flex as another integral tool in my toolbox to help horses.

I was excited to get my hands on the Flex and see how it helps me help horses. I was not disappointed. 

By giving this 32nd Annual Heumphreus Memorial Lecture and the accompanying demo, I join a very short list of amazing farriers and veterinarians who have presented at this prestigious event. It truly is one of those incredible life moments when you realize the honor being given to you and the responsibility that goes with it. The live horse demo featured a foundered horse who had significantly distorted hoof capsules. The University was very supportive of our educational endeavors and provided progressive radiographs of the horse’s feet before trim, after trim, and after shoeing. There was fabulous discussion and everyone had an opportunity to examine and explore the EasyShoe Flex and the ideas I shared with the group. 

Thank you EasyCare Inc. for your continued support of education around the world! 

For more information about Daisy and the Continuing Education courses available about glue-on composite shoes please see:

www.daisyhavenfarm.com

www.integrativehoofschool.com

Not All Composite Shoes Are Equal

One of the biggest advantages of composite shoes and glue is the wide variety of styles and application methods that are successfully used to help horses! However, if you talk to 100 Hoof Care Providers you'll get 99 different opinions about what you can and can't do with these materials.  

"You can't glue to the sole." I glue to the sole all the time.

"Dental impresson material doesn't stay in composite shoes." It does for me every day!  

And the best one....

"Glue-on shoes can only be used for a short period of time because the glue breaks down the hoof and wall." Tell that to the dozens of horses I have in glue-on shoes every month with no break for over 10 years! Their feet are perfectly healthy with no wall defects or problems.

But there are definitely nuances to these materials that can make or break your success! What is it that I'm doing specifically to lead to success? I believe that comes down to the quality and selection of materials being used in each situation, as well as the education, experience and skill of the person applying them.  

I have worked hard to develop my skills in using these materials over the last 13 years. I study every shoe and every glue and every nuance of application I can. There is no reason to believe that just because you trim or shoe horses, that using glue and composite shoes, wouldn't have as many nuances as variations in trim styles, or in metal shoe selection and application!  

Here is an example of someone who had good intentions to help this foundered horse, but their selection of materials and lack of experience in applying them led to problems for the horse.



The well-meaning farrier had applied a home made composite shoe that he glued on and the horse became lame. 

I was called in to see if I could come up with a different solution to the horse being sore footed. The idea of Glue-On composite shoes was excellent for this horse. By selecting the EasyShoe Performance, Acrylic Glue, Dental Impression Material and some hoof casting, this horse had a very different response.

This is right after shoeing with EasyShoes and hoof casting.

The hoof casting was beneficial in the beginning to stabilize this horse's hoof capsule. We removed the wings off the EasyShoe and used casting to add stability to the horse's foundered foot. After he was more comfortable and the inflammation had calmed down, we eliminated the casting and went with EasyShoe Performance applied with the attached wings.

After a short period of time, the horse was back to work in his EasyShoes.

This is just a quick example of how small details can make or break your success when using glue and composite materials! Maybe the difference for this horse was adding frog support, or the acrylic vs. urethane glue. My recommendation is like anything, the more you study and learn, the more tricks you have in your toolbox, the better prepared you are to help the horse! Not all Glue-on composite shoe applications are created equally. They are just a tool in the person's hands!  

www.DaisyHavenFarm.com

www.IntegrativeHoofSchool.com

My Foundered Horse is Finally Stable...Right?

Your horse gets sore feet. He is diagnosed with laminitis and founder. You have a good TEAM: Veterinarian, Farrier, and Caretaker, who help you address your horse's underlying metabolic condition and provide rehabilitative care. The horse becomes sound, and returns to his normal personality and, if you're lucky, his pre-laminitic level of performance. You can finally relax and breathe.   

Or can you?   

I began my hoof care journey in 2004 because of my own horse who foundered. I had a wonderful farrier at that time who put the rasp in my hand and empowered me to help my horse. With the veterinarian, we identified his insulin resistance and eventual Cushing's syndrome. He became sound and went back to a fabulous dressage career, retiring many years later due to EPM. You can read his story here: https://www.daisyhavenfarm.com/case-studies/windy

Windy, post-laminitis, back to work and winning in the show ring.

Fast forward to today. Windy is now 29 years old. He has been in excellent health and quite sound; metabolically stable, until last fall. I try to assess body condition on my own horses once a week, and Windy had become quite thin, even though he was eating well. He was a 3.5 body condition score (BCS) on the Henneke Body Condition Scale, ribs and hips sticking out. Looking back, I only have this image of him at that time, taken out of a video of the pony you see in the foreground:

I increased his feed for six weeks and when that didn't improve his weight I worked with our farm veterinarian to eliminate other causes of his condition:

-Teeth were assessed and re-addressed by our excellent dentist, but weren't the issue.

-No symptoms of ulcers, or other pain and discomfort leading to weight loss.

-Cushing's and insulin resistance were controlled based on blood work.

-Basic blood work all normal except for indicators of intestinal inflammation. We wormed Windy aggressively as he is a worm shedder. We also wondered if he possibly had internal tumors.

Interestingly, at that time, Windy's foot condition was also fairly poor with thin, retracted soles. We put him in EasyShoe Performance with dental impression material to support the frog and sole.  

By January, Windy was finally looking better. Until one day, upon assessing Windy's body condition, I realized he was now a 6 BCS, slightly overweight and decided to back off the feed. His soles were no longer retracted and he looked much healthier!  

But was he? The weight difference between 3.5 to 6 BCS was significant in a fairly short period of time, when he hadn't been underfed to begin with. Maybe the intestinal inflammation resolved somehow? I was unsatisfied with such a mystery. I hypothesized my horse was actually a skinny old horse whose metabolic condition was no longer controlled. Even though he had gained weight and looked "good" to me, perhaps it was really an indicator he was in trouble.

Our veterinarian agreed and we tested Windy metabolically:

ACTH: 39 pg/mL ( > 35 considered elevated)

Insulin: 58 uU/mL ( > 42 considered elevated)

Glucose: 102 mg/dL  (Lab reference range 70-120)

The blood results don't look alarming: Insulin only mildly elevated, ACTH a seemingly minor difference, and glucose normal. However, Windy had very similar blood work when he originally foundered in 2004.   So I was very concerned. In these situations, the Glucose:Insulin (G:I) ratio can be quite helpful: 

From ECIRHorse.com, one of the leading resources for managing Cushing's and insulin resistant horses:  

"What is the G:I Ratio?  The Glucose to Insulin Ratio (G:I ratio) is a very simple concept.  This ratio/number indicates how many “units” of insulin are being secreted per “unit” of glucose.  The smaller the number, the less sensitive the cells are to the insulin.  For example, a normal horse may have a blood sugar of 100 and an insulin of 10, for a G:I ration of 100/10 = 10:1, where an insulin resistant horse may have an insulin of 25 for that same blood sugar of 100, yielding a G:I ratio of 100:25 = 4:1.  Both insulins may be within the laboratory’s “normal range”, but these normals represent a variety of diets and various times after eating.  Obviously the horse that has a circulating insulin level 250% higher than other horses with the same blood sugar level is less sensitive to insulin.  A ratio < 4.5:1 is diagnostic for Insulin Resistance, while a ratio between 4.5:1 and 10:1 represents compensated IR."

Windy's G:I ratio was 1.76 = Severe IR, high laminitis risk.

The G:I ration confirmed my concerns, that his mildly elevated blood results were not the whole picture.  In order to gather more information, we decided to test Windy even further with a glucose tolerance test.  

The glucose tolerance test assesses the horse's insulin response to a dose of Karo syrup at 60 minutes and 90 minutes. Additionally we gathered a pre-Karo syrup insulin sample as a baseline. A horse whose insulin levels test within the laboratory reference range would indicate normal response and normal metabolic function.  

Windy's insulin values came back highly elevated, above the testable range:

Pre: > 200 uIU/mL (Reference range 0-20)

Post @ 60 minutes: > 200 uIU/mL (Reference range 0-45)

Post @ 90 minutes: > 200 uIU/mL (Reference range 0-45)

This test was definitive. It is important to remember that the baseline metabolic blood work panel is only showing you a moment in time. So the insulin taken in the initial panel result of 58 uIU/dL, being mildly elevated, was catching a low moment. Where the pre-glucose tolerance test insulin showed us a different moment, and one that was of much greater concern, which validated the G:I ratio.

I wish there had been some way to know that the pre-Karo syrup insulin was so high. We probably would not have done the glucose tolerance test if the initial insulin had been that high. However, it did give me a clearer picture of my horse's laminitis risk status.

By being proactive and asking questions, I was able to identify that my horse's underlying metabolic condition was not truly controlled and a contributing factor to his weight change. It is imperative to be vigilant when managing the Cushing's/insulin resistant horse by working with your veterinarian and utilizing these diagnostic tools to be objective when needed.

www.DaisyHavenFarm.com
www.IntegrativeHoofSchool.com

In Love With The Love Child

When working with glue and composite shoes, there are a variety of factors that impact which shoe you might choose. Some of those factors include the horse's job, the type of support/mechanics/protection/traction the horse needs, and more. When setting yourself up for success, there's also a direct relationship between the experience of the person applying the shoes and the amount of glue surface area the shoe offers. The higher the demands on the foot and shoe the more detailed your application needs to be and more glue surface area the better in many cases for added insurance.  

I was intrigued when EasyCare announced trials available for a new shoe, fondly called the Love Child. With so many glue-on composites shoes available, the largest variety of shoe design and application options already coming from EasyCare, I wondered what the Love Child would have to offer that was unique. The Love Child comes from the union of two already fabulous products, the EasyBoot Glue-on and the EasyShoe Performance. The Love Child combines the tread of the Performance with a modified cuff from the Glove Glue-on. Additionally, a full pad was added in the bottom of the Love Child. This pad is softer than the bottom of the Glove Glue-on which allows for more flexibility in the heels. I immediately thought of several horses this hybrid boot/shoe could help, and applied to be a tester.  

Over the last several months I've been able to apply the Love Child to two different horses in two very different situations playing with both acrylic and urethane glues with tremendous success. This first horse is a teenage hunter/jumper thoroughbred who has had chronic lameness in both the front and hind end. He does very well in EasyShoe Performance or Performance N/G on the front, but we've had difficulty getting EasyShoes on the hind feet because he cannot hold his legs up for very long and going weight-bearing in our application process in the past has been difficult.  

The Love Child offered us an excellent option for hoof protection with a greater chance of success. Here are his hind feet before Love Child application, note how badly he wears his toes due to his hind end discomfort.

The Love Child fit his hind feet perfectly.

His feet were prepped well for glue by scuffing and drying all glue surface areas, in this case the wall, from heel to heel. Fungidye is applied in the quarters to prevent infection growing in a bit of wall separation present, then Artimud was applied to the sole side of the foot to prevent fungus and bacteria from growing before next trim/shoeing.

Finally dental impression material was applied to provide sole support, and to help prevent debris from going up under the shoe.   

The Love Child was glued on with acrylic glue, cleaned up and had a final layer of super glue applied over top. They have been on for four weeks and the horse is quite comfortable and sound, schooling low level dressage four-five days/week. We're expecting the shoes will provide him with sole support and protection, as well and prevent the worst of the toe wear over time.  

Here is the Love Child applied to the second horse, an endurance horse. We were able to use urethane glue on the left at the first application, and acrylic glue on the right for the second application. Both glue applications kept the horse comfortable and performed well. There was no reason for the change beyond curiosity of application differences between the two. Both glues worked quite well. We followed the same application details as specified above for each set of shoes, including antimicrobials, dental impression material, and hoof prep protocol.  

This is a horse who is a chronic shoe puller and needs a weight bearing application for glue on work. The Love Child is an excellent shoe for this horse because the large amount of glue surface area helps ensure shoe retention, and with the complete toe cuff, is easy to apply in a weight bearing method. This first set stayed on for seven weeks with no issue even though the horse lives in a wet environment with a lot of mud and rocks. The glue bonds were strong, the shoe expanded at the back as the foot grew, and dental impression material stayed in all but the very back.  

When they were removed for the second application they came off cleanly, with no wall degradation. The shoe had some mud on the inside, but no debris. And the frog, bars and sole cleaned up with no bacteria or fungus present. The slight sole bruising evident in the photo here was on all four feet, even though the fronts are shod and the hinds are barefoot. He's a very sensitive horse.  

Overall we've been very impressed with the performance and ease of application of the Love Child. I definitely see a place for this shoe as a tool to help horses in my practice. Thank you EasyCare!  

For more information on Daisy Haven Farm, Inc. please see www.IntegrativeHoofSchool.com
 

Best Practice: What Glue Work Works?

In the horse world there are “ways to do things”. Some of of these things we do because it is grounded in science and based on research and objective information.  Other things we do, maybe even most things, we do because “that’s the way it’s always been done”. This even applies to glue-on shoes. If you ask 10 farriers how to prepare the foot and apply a glue-on shoe, you’ll get 20 different answers. Many of them claiming this is the “way to do things”. Not only are there different kinds of glue, but difference kinds of shoes, and many variations on application methods!  So how do you know what to do to be successful?  What is the "best practice" when it comes to your glue-on shoe application? There are several ways to set yourself up for success.

Start with following manufacturer’s instructions to the letter. If you pick a certain brand of shoe and they have recommendations for glue application, the best place to start is the foot preparation and glue method that they recommend. The manufacturer wants you to be successful so it’s a great place to learn best practices. 

Many of you know I LOVE acrylic glue, EasyShoe Bond/Equilox, yet in applying shoes like the the Flip Flop and product testing the new “Love Child” I’m following manufacturer instructions and using urethane glue, Vettec Adhere, with the application.   

Next idea for learning best practices with your glue work: contact a practitioner who uses the shoe/glue and intended application method you’re looking to utilize. Many farriers are glad to share the tips and tricks of their successful glue work with other practitioners who want to learn. Best is to do a ride along and watch them work if possible. But many will be glad to answer questions over the phone, via email, or on social media.  

Another great way to learn is to attend a clinic. There are many learning opportunities out there for those who want to learn different glue and shoe methods. A clinic situation is often a stress free way to learn different glues and shoe applications and gain hands on practice with supervision from a trained professional.

Lastly, be meticulous in your own work. Write down the steps you’re using and keep your work space neat and clean. Practice your process in your mind and consider walking through the steps with each foot before applying the actual glue to the shoe…that’s GO time!  Additionally, take photos of your work, and track objectively how the horse's foot responds to the application you're using.  

Glue work is 99% preparation and only 1% actually doing it. The more thorough your preparations, the easier your applications will go, with less chance of failure.  And that way, on the small chance you do have a failure at one point or another, you’ll be able to pin down why and resolve it very easily. 


www.DaisyHavenFarm.com

www.IntegrativeHoofSchool.com

Retracted Soles: A Broader Perspective

In 2012 I wrote a blog about retracted soles, describing an appearance of the sole with seemingly "good concavity and sole callus" that in reality can be quite dysfunctional, and lead to lameness:

"Retracted soles are when the sole retracts, or 'sucks up' into the arch of the coffin bone. Usually this happens to horses when they are in a wet or muddy environment. The external appearance of the foot will have good concavity (usually excessively good), and even sole/toe callusing. However the horse is often footsore with low grade pulses, sensitive to hoof testers and even manual palpation. These horses often get diagnosed with low grade laminitis and/or sub solar abscesses."

 

Since then, we've learned a lot about retracted soles: 

  • Not all horses with retracted soles are lame
  • Retracted soles can be observed on horses in wet and also dry environments
  • With horses of similar type, breeding, and management in the same living situation some individuals develop retracted soles and some don't.  

It's interesting to see retracted soles all over the world.  I've observed retracted soles in all environments and many different continents: North America, Europe, Africa and Australia.  Here is an example of a foundered pony whose rehabilitation was complicated by a retracted sole in Melbourne Australia under the care of farrier Sarah Kuyken of Innovative Hoof Care Australia:

We still have more questions than answers about retracted soles: Why are some horses sore with retracted soles and some aren't?  Maybe something to do with the quality or the density of the sole, as we see that in non-retracted soles as well: a thin sole doesn't necessarily mean a sore horse!  So even if the sole is retracted if it is dense or hard enough the horse may be able to resist getting tender.  

Also, why some animals in the same herd develop retracted soles and not others, even when variables for breed, type, discipline, nutrition and management are controlled?  Could retracted soles have an immune component where the affected horses have a compromised immune system for some reason?  Could there be underlying inflammatory illness in these animals?  

We'll just have to keep gathering data and making observations!    

Until we have more definitive information, retracted soles are important to recognize because it is a reason to think cautiously about the trim you are applying to the horse's foot.  When you see the characteristic concavity, with large toe callus, where the concavity meets the callus at a sharp almost 90 degree turn, recognize that the horse's sole is thin and may become quite sore with an aggressive trim.  

In order to minimize the risk of lameness from the trim, consider leaving more vertical height in the foot, as well as not rolling the toe back too far into the callus.  And if the horse is lame, and you suspect from a retracted sole, please consider hoof protection, either a boot with a soft pad, like the Easyboot Cloud, or a glue on shoe with frog support, like the EasyShoe Performance or NG for these horses as well. 

For more information about Daisy Haven Farm please see:
www.DaisyHavenFarm.com
www.IntegrativeHoofSchool.com

EasyShoes Lead To Success: Newest Certified Farrier Glue Practitioners

We live in an era where we have options on how we treat the horse's foot.  No one option is right or wrong, good or bad.  It is up to the horse's TEAM of Owner, Farrier, Veterinarian, Trainer, etc. to determine what is the best solution to help the horse. We have more choices than ever before.  Until recently the only Certification opportunities available to the hoof care provider were in metal or barefoot methods.  However recently the Equine Lameness Prevention Organization (ELPO) has developed a certification for farriers to demonstrate proficiency in glue and composite shoeing.

ELPO offers Certification in: 

  • Level 1: Live Sole Hoof Mapping
  • Level 2: Certified Barefoot Trimming 
  • Level 3: Certified Farrier Practitioner/Certified Farrier Glue Practitioner

The Level 3 Shoeing Exam is offered in Metal (CFP) or Composite/Glue (CFGP).  The testing criteria for both exams are identical, except when it directly applies to the material being used.  The test taker must demonstrate a thorough understanding of gait analysis and conformation assessment, recognizing hoof distortions, hoof mapping to identify external landmarks and how they relate to internal anatomy, trimming the hoof to address existing distortions and applying a prosthetic device in balance to the internal structures, on all four feet.  

Additionally for the glue/composite shoeing exam, showing a thorough understating of the material in use is scored, including preparing the foot for glue, understanding of glue handling, and composite shoe selection, fit and final placement.  Any composite shoe and glue that meets the ELPO protocol is acceptable to use on the exam.  

The criteria for accurate foot preparation for the exam was largely based on the standard of excellence created by EasyCare, Inc. for successful application of the EasyShoe as it is the most detailed, systematic method for glue and composite shoeing available.  Additionally, EasyCare has been a huge supporter of this educational process by donating shoes for Glue Skills Courses as well as Certification opportunities.  

This past week examiners from the ELPO traveled to Pennsylvania to conduct a certification exam weekend.   Levels 1, 2, and 3 were offered with many examining for the Glue/Composite Shoeing Exam, CFGP.  Congratulations to farriers Michael Glenn, Jennifer Farley, Madeline O'Connor, Heather Colket, Jeremiah Kemp, and Annie Commons on earning the CFGP, Steve King for earning the CFP (metal), and Nickie Jantz for earning her CBT (trimming).   

​I greatly appreciate ELPO Instructor/Examiners: Steve Foxworth, Jen Reid, Carrey Gunderman, and Chase Rutledge for making the trip to Pennsylvania and assisting with our certification. 

Huge thanks to EasyCare and Garrett Ford for supporting the efforts of the Equine Lameness Prevention Organization in providing education and certification opportunities to help people help horses.  

For more information on upcoming courses and certification opportunities, please see:  

http://www.lamenessprevention.org/event-list

Modifying EasyShoes for Leverage Management

How to use glue and composite shoes 101:

  1. Study the materials and hoof preparation steps  
  2. Gather the necessary materials and tools
  3. Select the best shoe size for the foot in front of you
  4. Apply the shoe and glue with attention to detail.  

These steps will lead you to success!  The shoe will stay on, and your horse will have excellent foot protection. 

I often ask myself:  Did I do everything I can to help the horse?  Some horses may need more than a basic application.​ One of the biggest components of glue and composite shoes, like the EasyShoe, is the height they provide to the foot and shoeing package. That height needs to be considered when applying the shoe, it can be used to benefit the horse in a myriad of ways in performance and therapeutic applications.  

You may remember a quote from Dr. Hilary Clayton at the PHCP Conference I blogged about before:

"If the Reaction Force vector does not pass through the center of rotation of the joint it creates a torque around the joint that the soft tissue has to oppose". Dr Hillary Clayton, PHCP Conference 2016

In a large portion of the horses I work on, small details of shoe placement and leverage can greatly impact their short and long term level of soundness. This especially helps horses diagnosed with navicular and arthritis.  If the break over is a bit too far forward, or leverage is extended medial to lateral, the horse may not be comfortable, let alone sound.  This horse is a good example of how leverage reduction, determined by using the Krosscheck Leverage Testing Kit, can greatly help the farrier determine how to help the horse best: Broken Down May Not Be So Broken.  This horse is still sound and being ridden, jumped and evented now, three years after that blog was written.

 

Here is an example of how a shoe can be easily modified to help prevent the break over from being too far forward.  Remember because the foot is a cone, when you add height to the foot, the footprint moves forward as well.  This horse has a very forward footprint, and the shoe can be applied to either continue the forward footprint, or help the footprint move back under the center of mass of the limb, assisting with leverage reduction:

By rolling the toe of the shoe back, and extending the heel support with dental impression material we moved this horse's footprint back significantly.  
Because the shoe is composite material, the modifications can be easily done with a rasp or grinder.

I'll routinely bring the break over back in the toe, and soften the heel landing depending on the horse I'm working on.  It's also easy to add medial/lateral leverage reduction in the quarters. The pink dotted line here shows the change in where the shoe is contacting the ground. Even these small modifications can make a big difference in the comfort level and soundness of the horse. 

 

This is an example of a foundered horse from this blog here, who benefited from leverage reduction all around the entire shoe, creating a "ball bearing" effect.  This helped minimize the torque on her very damaged laminae:

And don't forget sometimes you want to prevent the break over from wearing too far back. 

I hope this gives you some additional ideas on how the EasyShoe can be modified to help the horse you're working on. Wedges and lifts can also be added to the bottom of the shoe, as well. In reality, you are only limited by your own imagination when it comes to modifying EasyShoes to help the horse.

For more information about this kind of work see our website:

www.DaisyHavenFarm.com

www.IntegrativeHoofSchool