Hoof cracks

We had yesterday visitors in Finland. Joop Wijnen from Holland has been visiting Finland numerous times educating and judging competitions and we’re always very happy to have him in Finland. Auke-Anne Waal from Werkman Horseshoes was joining, too. This time Joop was here to give a clinic of hoof cracks. The event was very succesful. At Ypäjä Equine College were brought many horses with hoof cracks and Joop shod them and we could see in practice how he handles the cracks.
First in the morning we had a lecture in auditorium. An introduction of the reasons of different hoof cracks and treating them.
And then the practice. Most of the hoof cracks are result of weaknesses in basic shoeing work, mainly in the hoof balance. That is why it is so important to be able to see the correct balance and trim the hoof to it. There is no way to treat a crack if the pressure on the hoof is not even. For that reason Joop first demonstrated the basics of a shoeing on a horse without special problems. Before the shoeing he wanted to see the horse’s movements. Is the hoof landing flat or not? That gives a you a clue for your shoeing work.
Shoeing demonstration going on. Lots of interested crowd. Even the horse pays attention into the lecture :)
One of the cracked hoofs. The crack has been covered with some plastic and screwes to prevent the movement in the hoof on the cracked area. Joop said he can’t do much more with this one, but he can try. The smaller crack in front shouldn’t be a problem, but the bigger in the back may have already damaged the coronary band and in those cases you need to treat the horse in the horse hospital. The whole heel area behind the crack including the coronary band must be cleaned and treated to get the hoof grow down healthy again.
The cracks are cleaned. Here you can see how the coronary band is higher on the crack area. That shows that there has been extra pressure on the crack area and it is important to remove that pressure.
The solution was to use a barshoe to divide the pressure on the frog and trim the heel area behind the crack so that it will not touch the shoe. The hoof reacts quickly and already in this photo the heel has lowered much (it doesn’t still touch the shoe, although in this the shadows make it look like so). You can see how the coronary band is already much more in line, the pressure is eased.
Another crack.
Same idea as in the last one. This one should heal nicely. The crack is cleaned and the heel area left in the air. We saw couple of other cracks treated the same way. Joop said that sometimes he also uses Adhere on the crack to make the hoof more stable on the crack area. He personally doesn’t use screwed plates, because you have the risk to prick the hoof with the screw and then you have a new problem on the top of the old ones.
It was a great day! It was really cool that we had there real cases with real problems and Joop was able to show how he deals with them. Everyone shoeing horses knows that this is a profession of praxis and although you need the theory, it’s very hard to make the actual job without the experience in real life. I was also happy to see old friends and lots of new faces around. Thanks for Werkman Horsehoes, Finnfarrier and Finnish Farriers Association!

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