Thursday, May 14, 2009

Faith's First Shoes

I'm planning on bronzing them. Ok, maybe not... :-)

Faith's wonderful farrier, Brad Erickson, showed up at the farm at 4:00pm today. He had his work cut out for him: carefully trimming her front clubbed foot, cutting back her frogs as much as possible to help control the thrush problem, and forging a brand new pair of hind shoes with trailers to help lessen the twisting movement in her hind legs. Let the games begin!

We decided to work on Faith's hind legs first, as it would be a long process and it has always been somewhat uncomfortable for Faith to hold her hind legs to be worked on. Shortly after beginning, Brad commented on how impressed he was with how much her flexibility and comfort has improved since his last visit in April. He was actually able to use the hoof stand today, instead of having to work with her toe only a few inches off the ground. I'm sure his back appreciates that!

After a trim, he spent time forging a perfect pair of natural balance hind shoes with trailers. The trailers are designed to add extra traction to the rear of her hoof in order to minimize the amount of rotation in her lower leg. The natural balance shoes and the rolled toe encourage a faster breakover, lessening the pressure on her suspensories and joints. Hopefully this corrective shoeing will help her suspensories and lessen the discomfort she is facing.

Here are some pictures of the process for you all to enjoy!

Brad with a red-hot shoe...

Pushing the shoe into the sole for a perfect fit, at the same time creating smoke that smells like a combination of trash and burning flesh...

Clinching the nails... (Notice that Faith is letting him use the hoof stand!)

Our proud farrier with a great looking shoe (and smile!)...

A closer look at her left hind shoe...

The side view which clearly shows the rolled toe and increased breakover...

Many of the people that read this blog that don't own horses have questioned what is wrong with her hind legs. On the following picture I drew a red line to illustrate where her pastern should be. The pastern angle should match (or at least be much, much closer) to the angle of the hoof. The suspensories in her lower legs are so damaged, that they have are no longer strong enough to support the joint and keep the angle of her pasterns upright. This damage that was done to Faith is irreversible. What we're trying to do is increase her comfort and lessen the future damage of her joints.

A very special thanks to Brad Erickson!
Check out his website at: !



  1. Great pics and your farrier is a cutie! ;)

  2. Those are very neat shoes. I can't wait to hear if they help her or not. Cute farrier too!

  3. Gosh, her suspensories look painful! But she looks so much better, and yay that she could use the hoof stand!

    By the way, farrier is a hottie. I'd be totally distracted.

  4. Leap Of Faith FarmsMay 15, 2009 at 11:20 AM

    hey I want your farrier to come trim my horses. I had to leave my good looking farrier back in Ohio when I moved South :-(

  5. Do you mind answering some questions?

    How do the suspensories become damaged -- is it from neglect or overwork?

    Was Faith born with a club foot or was that a result of neglect?


  6. It's always so nice to have a farrier or a vet that doubles as Eye Candy. Makes stressful days a bit easier.
    Hmmm, Wonder if he can come trim my horse too.

  7. I had a horse who also had the same injury. DSLD is genetic in Paso Finos (or peruvians?)... i can't remember... but my horse was a Quarter Horse. Usually DSLD afflicts all 4 feet. Because Faith and my Zoe had only the back feet affected, I'm assuming its injury related.

    When my Zoe was a yearling, a big old gelding tried to "mount" her. He had her in a corner and she squealed and squealed in pain. I'm assuming thats where her damage came from... because symptoms came on quickly after that.

    Zoe was never ridden, so it couldn't be from overuse... she was also never neglected, so I'm sure it is injury related.

  8. yeah, your farrier is smokin' hot. the first few pictures are just the top of his head, and I was like, "okay, nice hair, but what is this all about him being a hottie!" Well, got to the next picture of his smile, and I had the wind knocked out of me. I am serious, no exaggeration, it took me a few minutes to get my breath back!

    I am so glad Faith has shoes to help keep her comfy.

  9. Hey folks, Julie asked if I'd offer a couple of quick responsed to your questions regarding Faith's issues.

    Suspensory ligaments: They're basically "broken down". Don't have the elasticity and taughtness that they once had. Probably overuse, possibly poor shoeing and possibly a genetic link. This can become a very serious problem as she continues to age so we're doing what we can to take some stress off of them.

    Club foot: A flexural deformity of the coffin joint, created by a shortening (contraction) of the deep digitial flexor tendon muscle mass. Occurred when she was a baby, probably between birth and 9-12 months. As the long bones of the limb grew, the muscle mass contracted, pulling the coffin bone into an upright position and the hoof capsule followed. It will always be a club foot. Very possibly genetic (mom had one?), probably a combination of over supplementation and maybe over exercising but could be strictly environmental. Many horses have a slight club foot but Faith's is prominent enough to create lameness if not shod/trimmed correctly. Our plan is to shoe the fronts next to see if we can get them moving better.

    Be careful what you feed your babies! If they're getting grain and momma is getting grain, remember, they're double dipping. Let them grow normally and many angular limb deformities can be avoided.

    Hope this helps!

    Brad Erickson, Farrier

  10. Wow, Brad can come trim my hoofs any time!

  11. I'm really excited about Faith getting her new shoes.
    Also, I totally agree with the other posts. That Farrier is HOT! Had to reach for my inhaler.

    information for diagnosis, care, mangement, case histories, and special vet pages
    group message board for exchange of information, raising awareness Degenerative suspensory ligament desmitis as a systemic disorder characterized by proteoglycan accumulation. This is the latest published findings by University of Georgia's Dr Halper and team. video
    for info on coonfoot/low pasterns/fallen fetlocks