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  1. #1
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    Mar. 26, 2008
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    Default Talk to me about wedge shoes

    (FYI: I've tried the search function for this many times and only find results for wedges (pads, etc) and very few about shoes, so I'm sorry in advance if I just suck at searching!)

    I've been using a new farrier since May since I have moved. For the past three years, my pony has been in 4 regular steel shoes-- sometimes with clips. When the new farrier went to shoe him, he said he was going to put wedge shoes (SHOES with a wedge, not a wedge put underneath a plain shoe) on his front feet since he had a low heel and this would help bring that angle up a bit and help his overall hoof angle. Hind shoes remained in regular steel shoes with clips. I thought this was going to be a temporary fix--something to use while trying to trim the feet in a way to encourage the heels to grow down a bit. I asked the farrier last time he was out to do the pony if this was a temporary situation while he got the hoof right, or if it was a permanent thing. He said it was most likely permanent because the pony's feet will just "never" have the angles they should. he also said that the wedges are helping him break over quicker in the front.

    I'm pretty ignorant when it comes to trimming/shoeing, so I'm looking to you guys for some advice. I've read about wedges causing crushed heels, etc. And, to be honest, I just don't like the look/idea of them. But then again, I don't know anything about shoeing. I also event, so there is a lot of impact coming down on those front feet when we jump. The pony goes fine in the wedge shoes, but he also went fine before in the regular steel shoes.

    I guess it didn't help that my friend shared some horror stories about this farrier (though, to be fair, I've also heard good reviews, so who knows).

    I can post pictures later if that would help. The angle is not extreme, but the shoes look like mini platforms that are a bit higher in the back. I'm not sure if aesthetics are getting the best of me or if wedge shoes are something I should really be looking to get my pony OUT of and if I should perhaps be looking around for a second opinion on how his feet should be done.

    TIA!
    "Last time I picked your feet, you broke my toe!"



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar. 30, 2004
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    Lexington, KY
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    I think you should get a second opinion, personally. I had a mare in wedges for heel pain, and ended up using Pete Ramey's protocol for thrush even though there wasn't any visible thrush, just the heel pain. I got dramatic results and immediate heel-first landings with huge increase in stride length. I really stuck it though, and it took four weeks for all four feet to improve. That may or may not be what's going on with your horse, and your farrier may be excellent, but I'd still confirm with another professional. This will mean, of course, that you'll get two dramatically different answers, and you'll still be confused. Good luck
    Somewhere in the world, Jason Miraz is Goodling himself and wondering why "the chronicle of the horse" is a top hit. CaitlinAndTheBay



  3. #3
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    Feb. 24, 2010
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    One of my horses is currently wearing his first pair of wedges, and doing well. They, wedges, give more support to his heels. I would have preferred straight bars, but my farrier chose the wedges because this horse really overreaches with his hinds and I don't like him having to wear bell boots.
    The shoes are rolled toed Morrison wedges. He's been in them or rather has worn them since July 19th. And they really help him keep his heels in this rainy muddy humid weather.
    And yes, I have had this horse a decade and he does need heel support but he used to pull his egg bars off. Hence now the wedges.



  4. #4
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    Feb. 21, 2009
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    OK here is the scoop on wedges.
    Some seemingly low angled hooves are really just run forward, under run heel feet. The coffin bones in those are at a higher angle and better aligned than the outer hoof makes it appear, and therefore does not ned wedges to properly align the joint inside the foot. Simply removing the outer distortion in those feet by proper trimming solves the issues.Proper trimming includes removing heel to get to good solid horn, get the frog into a better load sharing position with the ground, and removing toe flare.

    Other feet really are low angled internally and need wedging to help align the coffin joint even after a proper trim. However, using a wedge shoe without adding something to support the frog can cause the frog to eventually prolapse downward through the high heels of the foot and cause crushed contracted heels. Therefore in my opinion, if a foot does really need a wedge, something that incorporates the frog into the load sharing is really important.

    There are many ways to do this. Wedge shoes WITH a sole support filler such as equipack is one way. A wedge bar shoe is another way. A flat shoe with a wedge pad is most common and IMO the easiest and healthiest as long as the space under the pad is filled with good medicated sole packing.
    So.....good close up pictures of your horses hooves from the sides and bottom would indeed be helpful.
    Last edited by Patty Stiller; Aug. 19, 2010 at 08:05 PM.
    Patty Stiller CNBBT,CNBF,CLS, CE
    Natural Balance Certified Lameness Specialist ,instructor.
    www.hoofcareonline.com



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov. 28, 2006
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    155

    Default

    Interested in this topic as well...my mare has been in a bar shoe with equipak for a few cycles now but during a vet exam last month (second opinion) it was suggested that we should put in a slight wedge pad with frog support built in and filled with equipak. Since then she has been in very light work and seems to be stepping more comfortably on her heel. Her stride has lengthened as well.
    Is your pony moving better?



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov. 8, 2006
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    NJ
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    Wedging is acase by case basis. Conformation, integrity of foot, shoe placement and so on and so on dictate how and when I wedge. Misapplication can really destroy a foot. I wouldn't apply a wedge shoe without some sort of frog/sole support.
    Eric Russell CJF



  7. #7
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    Jul. 24, 2006
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    Seattle, WA
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    Auggghhhh!! Typed out a lo-ong repsonse and my connection stalled, erasing the whole thing.

    [Relatively] short story:

    I have a TB with no heel (he would undoubtedly not survive in the wild, and focus on getting his feet to improve via the guidance of a genius farrier and vet over the course of 2 years yielded little improvement). Not only does he have no heel and needs wedges, but he needs to be wedged differently from side to side (3 or 4 degrees on his LF and 6 degrees on his RF).

    Started with regular shoes and wedge pads. Worked okay until the wet time of the year when he started ripping his shoes off in the mud.

    Tried moving to heels built up with Equilox, but that was a nightmare in the end (all in hindsight, of course). He would make it about 3 weeks before he'd go dead lame. I've had several people since say to me that Equilox doesn't contract and expand with the heel and that certainly seems to line up with the fact that after a certain amount of foot growth, he would suddenly end up with badly bruised heels. We tried dental impression material pads, but that didn't help (in hindsight it's obvious that it didn't help because he had heel pain, not sole pain).

    Finally had several folks suggest wedge shoes with the explanation that it would alter the breakover properties (not sure why since it seems like the key there is the trim and the placement of the shoe) and change the concussive properties (again not sure how much of a difference that would make with a pad between the foot and the shoe). I wonder if the suggestions came from a "try something new" perspective rather than one that took what we'd already done into consideration (all advice came from trainer/vet friends who hadn't seen the horse).

    My farrier brought out a pair of wedge aluminum shoes last time around, but ultimately decided that he could do a better custom angle job with equilox on the shoe itself (rather than on the foot). So he built up a custom wedge with the equilox and then put a pad between his foot and the shoe/equilox. He felt incredible at the show we did last week, but it's too soon to really judge since he always feels awesome for the first few weeks in the shoeing cycle.

    Anyhow, the bottom line is that the wedges certainly didn't crush his heels any further and it's pretty clear that as long as we live in this wet environment we're not going to be able to wean him off of them. And as a result of the "proper" wedging I now have a comfortable, sound horse who's moving better than he ever has.

    Sorry I can't be of more help, but I do feel your pain!



  8. #8
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    Jul. 31, 2007
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    Walk around and look at these.

    http://www.grandcircuitinc.com/products.asp?cat=47

    They may give you an idea of what people are talking about.
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat



  9. #9
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    Mar. 26, 2005
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    Memphis, TN / Jackson, MS
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    First off, I'd personally have rads taken of this pony's feet to check its current angles before deciding on big changes to his shoeing. I am a big believer that you should have a farrier that is comfortable looking at radiographs and shoeing to them (and taking in to account any soft tissue issues you may have to contend with). This is the best way to make sure you are getting the boney column properly aligned and and balanced.

    As for the shoes, I had a horse that went in 3 degree aluminum egg bars because of his tendency to a broken rear axis and the fact we could not at all get him to grow the foot we needed to correct his angles. What made us got these shoes as opposed to encouraging heel growth is that he was pretty lame from inflammation in his coffin joints. On the flip side, a dear friend of mine had a horse with similar conformation but without the acute lameness so they put him in flip flops to help encourage his heels to grow down and they did indeed help him a lot, though it took time for there to be significant change in his angles. There are several different types of shoes that encourage the heel to grow down that might be a good thing to try for this pony.

    Wedges are certainly not the end of the world and there are many horses out there that thrive in them. Don't be scared of them, but do make sure you are putting the pony in them because its the best thing for the pony, not because its the easiest fix. They do have a tendency to crush the heels and make your issues more complex, though that risk might be worth the trade off. Maybe a second opinion (after you have rads in hand for both shoers to look at, or maybe a equine podiatrist that is a DVM and farrier) is a good idea - sometimes a different prospective is just what is needed to find another solution to an issue. I'd do it with your current shoer's blessing, and if he won't give you might want another shoer anyhow. I don't like dealing with people who don't want to listen to someone else's ideas.



  10. #10
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    Nov. 8, 2006
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    Wedged shoes can get very heavy. And some horses need more than 2 or 3 degrees of wedge. Here's a few pics of some handmade rocker shoes.

    Click on the pics that say rocker and it will take you to them.
    http://cokepot.com/member.php/1723-Eric-Russell
    Eric Russell CJF



  11. #11
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    Jul. 31, 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by eruss View Post
    Wedged shoes can get very heavy. And some horses need more than 2 or 3 degrees of wedge. Here's a few pics of some handmade rocker shoes.

    Click on the pics that say rocker and it will take you to them.
    http://cokepot.com/member.php/1723-Eric-Russell
    Yes, wedges made of steel would be very heavy. The Grand Circuit Morrisons are aluminum and I haven't seen metal wedge shoes made of anything else.

    The discussion of crushing heels is all good. So is the need for rads or a really experienced farrier who can distinguish between hoof capsule and the bony column from fetlock to coffin bone within. I also think the decision to "give up" and keep a horse in wedges depends on his/her ability to grow heel. You sometimes can't get an older horse to do that for love or money. FWIW my teenage gelding (who could not be bribed or reasoned with about growing his own damned heels) never suffered without frog support.

    So a question for eruss and you farriers: When do you use the "banana shaped" rocker shoes? In a brief discussion with my farrier about these, I nixed the idea but I didn't ask why. We stopped at "Do you want me to make your horse cry?"

    Thanks for contributing to my education.
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat



  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by mvp View Post

    So a question for eruss and you farriers: When do you use the "banana shaped" rocker shoes? In a brief discussion with my farrier about these, I nixed the idea but I didn't ask why. We stopped at "Do you want me to make your horse cry?"

    Thanks for contributing to my education.
    If you notice the pics of my rocker bars, there's no banana to them and I'd be surprised if your farrier could make one.

    I've applied one or two bananas and have always been pretty unimpressed with them. When they're really needed there's not enough foot to trim, then there's a big gap to figure out how to fill. I've never liked them.

    As for rocker bars or rocker shoes, I like them on the hind end with a negative ventral angle. If you get that foot back up to 3 to 5 degrees in the positive the heel will grow. I don't think the age of the horse has much to say about it.
    Eric Russell CJF



  13. #13
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    I have rads and pics of my rocker bars but I can't figure out where they are on my computer.
    Eric Russell CJF



  14. #14
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    Nov. 8, 2006
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    Found them. Maybe someone can tell me how to load an image to this site.

    Rads

    I never got pics but this horse had a normal looking foot after 6 weeks in this shoe. Went back to crushed heels in one shoeing after removal.
    Eric Russell CJF



  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by eruss View Post
    If you notice the pics of my rocker bars, there's no banana to them and I'd be surprised if your farrier could make one.

    I've applied one or two bananas and have always been pretty unimpressed with them. When they're really needed there's not enough foot to trim, then there's a big gap to figure out how to fill. I've never liked them.

    As for rocker bars or rocker shoes, I like them on the hind end with a negative ventral angle. If you get that foot back up to 3 to 5 degrees in the positive the heel will grow. I don't think the age of the horse has much to say about it.
    A little off topic for the rest of you. Sorry.

    I did mean "banana" in the way you mean "negative ventral angle." At least I think so. I had only seen Grand Circuits in this shape floating around my farrier's shop.

    I see why they might help with an angled wedge if you wanted to grow heel. At least that's true when the horse is standing still. But does the "missing" wedge/shoe at the back destabilize them a lot during the landing phase of the stride?

    Also, you can't load pictures here unless you are a premium member (and pay up for that). The thumbnail pics you see at the bottom of some posts are from those members. They can be downloaded. The link to your website is just fine. The rest of us post links to pages on Photobucket for a nice and free solution.
    The armchair saddler
    Politically Pro-Cat



  16. #16
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    Nov. 8, 2006
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    [QUOTE]
    Quote Originally Posted by mvp View Post
    A little off topic for the rest of you. Sorry.

    I did mean "banana" in the way you mean "negative ventral angle." At least I think so.
    Banana's are actually bowing the entire shoe, foot surface and all.

    I see why they might help with an angled wedge if you wanted to grow heel. At least that's true when the horse is standing still. But does the "missing" wedge/shoe at the back destabilize them a lot during the landing phase of the stride?
    I don't have all the answers! From what I have seen if you get the horn tubules at a good enough angle, they will grow.

    If you put the rocker below the extensor process the foot will rock back and forth in theory. Mostly back when they walk. So I would suggest getting the rocker somewhere below the coa. If you can stand the weight, even further back. This is a very difficult shoe to make and get on a foot. So you take a good guess and see where you end up and try to grind to the correct spot.

    Applying one of these shoes is actually a very interesting way of understanding how the limb works.
    Eric Russell CJF



  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by mvp View Post
    Yes, wedges made of steel would be very heavy. The Grand Circuit Morrisons are aluminum and I haven't seen metal wedge shoes made of anything else.
    Just happened to have a horse that needed a pair of wedge shoes yesterday. His heels don't like to touch the ground so he only needs a couple degrees wedge to be able to load the heel. This guy's a jumper so I wasn't about to put aluminum wedges on him behind. So I made a pair.

    http://cokepot.com/gallery/browseimages.php?c=34
    Eric Russell CJF



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