Shoeing Prescription for Ringbone

 My eventer was recently diagnosed with ringbone. I am led to believe that he should be shod so he can break over more easily, so I'm thinking of a rolled shoe. My question for the experts would be: How well can he jump with a rolled shoe? Wouldn't his "grip" on the ground be compromised? What else can be done? He has high periarticular ringbone and after just one shot of Adequan appears quite sound, although he will get the full treatment and maintenance of this drug along with any shoeing recommendations. Alison

Degenerative joint disease (ringbone) is a progressive problem. The treatment is aimed at maintaining the horse's soundness and halting the disease's progression. Therapy consists of rest in the early stages of the disease, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents as needed, systemic Adequan is helpful, intra-articular medications (especially corticosteroids) if necessary, and of course therapeutic shoeing.

Strict attention to farrier care will play a large role in future soundness. Pre-existing hoof problems such as long toe, poor hoof-pastern axis, etc., should be corrected. Easing breakover can decrease some of the forces placed on the joints of the lower limb.

This can be accomplished through the use of a properly fitted square, rolled, or rocker-toe shoe. Another excellent choice to ease breakover is a half-round shoe. Easing breakover with these methods will not affect the horse's ability to jump. Traction devices such as screw-in studs of various sizes and shapes can be placed in the heel of the shoe and used during training and competition with no adverse effects on the modified toe. However, these traction devices should be employed with care in a horse with joint disease.

About the Author

Stephen E. O'Grady, DVM, MRCVS

Stephen E. O'Grady, DVM, MRCVS, was a professional farrier for 10 years prior to obtaining his degree in veterinary medicine. He learned farriery through a formal apprenticeship under Hall of Fame farrier Joseph M. Pierce of West Chester, Penn. After graduating from veterinary school, O'Grady did an internship in Capetown, South Africa. Then he joined Dan Flynn, VMD, at Georgetown Equine Hospital in Charlottesville, Va., as an associate for five years. Since that time, he has operated a private practice in Virginia and South Africa, with a large portion of the practice devoted to equine podiatry. He has published numerous articles and lectured extensively on equine foot problems. His web site is

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