Tuesday, January 1, 2013

M/L Balance - the answers from captains of our industry - 1, Chris Gregory

Would you mind to give some very brief answers to the questions below to be shared with others on Farriers Online? I will take special care that you being the author is clearly stated and copyright indicated.
1.How do you hold the leg and look at a front and a hind foot to asess medio-lateral balance?
2. Is your guideline for level the skeleton (e.g. X-rays) or the outside of the hoof capsule?
3.What is the most important thing to remember about medio-lateral balance?

Chris Gregory
Hi Balazs. I guess you don't have my book. You can see it at www.heartlandhorseshoeing.com, and it answers those questions very in depth.

For #1, I evaluate mediolateral balance on the front foot by holding the cannon bone with my outside hand, my head against the ribs, and allow the foot to rest. I then compare the plane on the bottom of the foot with the axis of the cannon bone and pastern bones. What I do with the balance then depends on whether I am trimming to the long axis or the short axis. For the hind foot, I evaluate balance by looking at the foot on level ground from in front of the leg. The reciprocal apparatus prevents us from seeing the bottom of the hind foot in a weight bearing position, and the bending of the digit around the fetlock makes it impossible to evaluate mediolateral balance in the air.

For #2. The hoof capsule tells you a lot by looking at wear, distortion and flare, position of bulbs, frog, coronet, etc. However, x-rays often show that what we see on the hoof capsule is not always telling the truth about the position of the coffin bone. I tend to judge the foot from the outside more than anything since most of the time I am shoeing without x-rays.

For #3. The most important part of balance is to be able to put all of the pieces together and look at each foot as an individual. There are a lot of times where a foot must be trimmed to accommodate the way the limb loads, even when some of the landmarks on the bottom of the foot would have you trim it differently. Balance is a whole-horse issue when it comes to trimming, not just a hoof issue.
Hope this helps.

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