A horses feet are its foundation and as such, the importance of good hoof care to the welfare of its existence, cannot be undervalued.
The balance and alignment of a horses feet can have a profound effect on nearly every aspect of the horse. This includes its general health & well being, comfort, stance/posture, behavior, soundness and ultimately, its ability to perform.
It was for this reason that we felt the need to head in a different direction to most other hoof care providers (farriers and trimmers), and move away from some of the more traditional, conventional and empirical ways of the hoof care industry.
We feel we have now adopted a 'more modern approach' to hoof care, by incorporating a number of technologies, assessments and evaluations into our farrier business model. Through these technologies and evaluations, and the collection of valuable data, we are much better equipped to meet the needs and expectations of the industry, and that of the modern performance horse.
Prior to working on most new horses we undergo any number of assessments, using our equipment to gather valuable and usable data. The data from these assessments is accurate, quantifiable and reliable. By utilising this data, we can make more informed decisions on the immediate needs of the horse, and apply the trim and shoeing package more accurately. Due to the repeatability of these assessments, we can replicate them periodically and use the comparative data for prevention and maintenance purposes i.e. to ensure the early detection and correction of changes to the 'balance and alignment' of the feet, which could have had a detrimental effect on the hoof and/or the horse.
Some Internal Measures
Some External Measures
The technologies we have at our disposal include digital x-ray equipment, which we are fully licensed to own and operate in several states within Australia. The very latest hoof measuring software, allowing us to accurately mark up our radiographs and photos with important measures. High speed video, enabling us to accurately capture and assess important limb landing and loading phases of the stride. IMU's (Inertia Measuring Units), high speed video cameras (300fps) and equine biomechanical software, which we use for gait analysis to evaluate locomotion, joint flexion's and hyperextension's, as well as individual stride patterns. Our gait analysis equipment allows us to accurately measure the impact of a shoe package on the locomotion of the horse. We find this data valuable when working with a number of our high level performance horses, as well as some of our lameness and/or rehabilitation cases. All of our client and horse information is stored on lap-top computers, including Biomex and HoofScan reports, videos of landing and loading phases of the stride, as well as marked up photos and radiographs of the horses feet for periodical evaluations and comparisons.
We credit our 'modern approach' to farriery for much of the success we have achieved. The technologies we use, our assessments & evaluations, a mind set of 'quality over quantity' and a commitment to achieve the best outcome for our clients, sets us apart from most other hoof care providers. This is demonstrated by the growing demand for our services, and the number of clients who willingly travel to our Hoof Care Center for assessments and/or farrier work. Our clientele mainly consists of performance horses, working with horses that have current lameness issues, horses going through injury rehabilitation and/or horses requiring corrective
work. As a modern farrier business we have become proficient in the use of contemporary materials and products such as glue and glue on shoes,cast and urethane shoes etc. These products are mostly used in our corrective
work, working with lame horses, or horses going through injury rehabilitation and have been fundamental to the success of a number of difficult cases where nailing wasn't and option. We are also able to hand make, or modify, steel or aluminium shoes to deal with a myriad of problems that we may encounter.
Recent studies conclude that over 72% of all front limb lameness could be contributed to less than ideal foot balance and/or alignment. Studies also conclude that trimming and shoeing have an enormous influence on the soundness of the horse and that a large proportion of lameness seen today, could be prevented through good farriery.
We believe the use of technology, to better assess and evaluate the horse prior to trimming and shoeing, would go a long way towards farriers and trimmers being more able to meet the horses immediate needs. We also believe that the use of objective, accurate and repeatable data i.e. HoofScan reports and marked radiographs showing measures of the internal and external hoof, and not 'working blind', could be the missing piece of the puzzle for many farriers and trimmers.
Progressive Equine use high speed video to assess the important Limb Landing & Loading phase of the stride
The animal cast, including Mr Ike, from the movie 'Charlottes Web'
Case Study: Mr Ike is an 18yr old Quarter horse movie star who played himself in the 2006 movie 'Charlottes Web,' which starred Dakota Fanning
This horse was sent to us by a vet we work with as it was quite lame. Radiographic evaluation by the vet determined the horse had significant navicular bone changes in its LF. The vet sent instructions that we were to try and make the horse more comfortable. They also asked for us to forward them before and after shoeing radiographs and photos for their file.
On the day the horse arrived we took lateral radiographs
of each foot for farriery purposes. This gave us accurate and important data to help determine the most suitable
option for making Mr Ike 'most comfortable.' Our radiographs showed that Mr Ike had a LF with a significant phalangeal misalignment (broken back), and a Negative Palmar Angle (NPA) of -2.00deg (shown in the radiographs below). Based upon our data, and what the vet had told us with regard to Mr Ike's pathology, we decided to use a full roller shoe with a 5deg wedge pad from Advanced Equine Comfort.
Using a Full Roller Motion shoe offered us a package that would be useful to the horse during movement and at a standstill. Unlike rolled or rocker toe shoes, which only offer the horse a benefit in movement, or when the foot breaks over, the full roller motion shoe can assist the horse in unloading the DDFT and reduce force exerted onto the damaged navicular bone even at a standstill. When in movement the radial curve of the shoe, with the belly of the shoe directly below the center of rotation (COR), ensures a smooth, unrestricted forward roll of the foot, again minimising load to the DDFT and force to the damaged navicular area. The Advanced Equine Comfort wedge pads that we used, which we import from the United States, have been 3rd party tested to be the most shock absorbing pads available to the industry. These wedge pads diminish the amount of shock into the hoof, especially to the caudal part of the hoof where the damaged navicular bone is positioned. Being a '5deg wedge pad' we were also able to elevate PA and achieve a more correct phalangeal alignment. Achieving a more correct alignment, when compared to the original broken alignment, further reduces compression to the damaged navicular bone.
The dramatic changes to the alignment of this foot, which include changes in P3 Angle, Palmar Angle and Navicular Bone Angle of around 10deg, can be seen in the before and after radiographs below. We also made a short video of the process we went through with Mr.Ike, including how we assessed him, the products we used, how we shod him and the results we achieved (see the video in our video section below). This case was a success and the owner and vet were very happy with the outcome, and most importantly, so was Mr Ike.
Mr Ike has been running around the paddock like a 2yr old again after his appointment with Progressive Equine. With an improved trim, and a shoeing package to better meet his needs, the result has made a huge difference.
Its a better result than my vet and I thought we would achieve and I can't thank them enough.
The before radiograph
The radiograph from after the Full Roller Motion shoeing package was applied
Progressive Equine Hoof Care Videos
Watch our video on Mr Ike and the changes we made to his feet
The video includes our evaluation of the horse, using our HoofScan assessment, and how we use the data to determine the best hoof care option for the horse