Which Foot to Pad?

Q. I just read your June “Ask the Vet” article about muscle toning and development (article #2775). It describes my horse exactly! Her left shoulder is more developed, and the right shoulder is farther forward and flat. Her left foot has a low heel and the right is slightly clubbed. Because of this, she has a hard time moving to the right, especially on 20-meter and smaller circles.

My problem is deciding in which front shoe to place the pad. An article in another magazine said to pad the overdeveloped side, while my farrier says the newest research recommends lifting the right (underdeveloped) side. Help! 


A. In some ways it depends on he horse’s shoulders and knees, rather than just the foot. If the shoulder is farther forward on the clubbed foot, you might need a wedge on that foot to bring the shoulder back, but if the knee is much lower on the flat foot, then you might need the extra pad on that foot. It is not an exact science—sometimes you have to try one thing and if the horse does not like it, you will need to try the other foot. 

About the Author

Joyce C. Harman, DVM, MRCVS

Joyce Harman, DVM, MRCVS, owner of Harmany Equine Clinic in Washington, Va., focuses on alternative treatments and equine care.

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