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compromised gait due to sidebone would often wear their shoes very hard, hence the use of the heavy section (Figure 1). The shoe only has two nails in the lateral toe to allow the lateral hoof wall to flex without the restriction of nails in that area.

The modern horse with sidebone is a lighter breed, and often has to work at higher speeds and on softer surfaces than previous breeds. The traditional sidebone shoe does not fulfil the requirements for most of these horses as it is a relatively heavy shoe. Although a flat shoe can help working horses on harder surfaces, these shoes can be too slippery on softer surfaces. This means that the modern horse requires a different shoe style. The chamfer on the shoe is critical for mediolateral loading, but the weight of the shoe can exaggerate the deviation in the flight of the affected limb by acting like a pendulum. Therefore the weight should be kept to a minimum but width is required in the section in order to cover the heel and maintain balance and symmetry in the shoe and hoof. A wide, thin concave section is most suitable, with the lateral branch chamfered (Figure 5) and using only two nails in the lateral toe area, with the heads of the nails not left proud. These shoe alterations, along with balanced hoof trimming, are usually sufficient to achieve satisfactory even loading of the hoof. In more severe cases, a medial lift may be required to achieve the desired loading of the foot. These cases need to be accessed dynamically every time they are shod as their gait can change rapidly especially in the early stages of formation of sidebone.

In the case of bilateral sidebone, the gait of the horse is affected in a different way. They are less likely to load heavily on the lateral aspect. The gait is shortened or often referred to as ‘pottery’, and therefore the shoeing protocol needs to be different. If the lateral side is particularly more affected than the medial side, excessive lateral loading may be evident. In bilateral cases the hoof needs to be stabilised to reduce the load on the individual cartilages and, depending on the location of the ossification of the cartilages, the break over of the hoof and loading of the hoof can change. To facilitate this a bar shoe is used with the outer edge chamfered. This stabilises the hoof for individual heel movement and allows the hoof to break over in any direction that is comfortable for the horse (Figure 6). once the sidebones have finished forming an open heel shoe can be used with the outer edge chamfered. Weight should also be considered when selecting the section for this shoe, but as the morphology of the hoof does not change as dramatically as in the case of unilateral ossification, a lighter weight section can be used.

In the case of separate centres of ossification, the formation of hard and often sharp areas within the flexible cartilages can cause lameness. The treatment for these is again to treat each one individually. often during the early stages of a case of separate centre of ossification the hoof will need stabilising and so should be treated the same as a bilateral case.

8 Forge | August 2015

All cases of sidebone should be assessed dynamically and in these cases the formation of the ossification can be more severe on the lateral side and can become a complete lateral sidebone over time.


The main points to consider in shoeing the modern horse for sidebone: ◗ The trimming of the hoof is paramount and without a good foundation no shoe can help.

◗ In order to achieve a good trim, static and dynamic assessment is required at each shoeing due to the change in gait of these horses. ◗ x-rays can help to determine the type of sidebone case that you are shoeing. ◗ Correct shoe selection is paramount as shoes that are too heavy will exaggerate the deviation in the flight of the limb especially in the lighter modern horse, which has to work at a faster pace.

FIgure 6. A BAr Shoe WITh A ChAMFereD ouTer eDge

ACknoWleDgeMenTS: This article was written as part of a Fellowship course run by Simon Curtis FWCF honAssoc(rCVS).


BAlCh, o., WhITe, k. and BuTler, D. (1991) Factors involved in the balancing of equine hooves. J Am Vet Med Ass 198 1980-1989

BuTler, k.D. (1985) The prevention of lameness by physiologically-sound horseshoeing. Proc Am Ass Equine Practnrs 31 465-475 ColleS, C. & WAre, r. (2010) The principles of Farriery, london. J. A. Allen DySon, S. and nAgy, A. (2011) Injuries associated with the cartilages of the foot. Equine Veterinary Education 23 (11) 581-593 hICkMAn, J. & huMphrey, M. (1988) hickman’s Farriery, 2nd edn. london, J.A. Allen

holM, A.W., BJornSTAD, g. and ruohonIeMI, M. (2000). ossification of the cartilages in the front feet of young norwegian coldblooded horses. Equine Veterinary Journal 32 156-160

ruohonIeMI, M., rAekAllIo, M., TulAMo, r-M. and SAlonIuS, k. (1997) relationship between ossification of the cartilages of the foot and conformation and radiographic measurements of the front feet in Finnhorses. Equine Veterinary Journal. 29, 44-48

STAShAk, T.S. (2002) ossification of the collateral cartilages of the distal phalanx (sidebones). In Adams’ lameness in horses 5th edn, lippincott Williams & Wilkins publications, philadelphia. pp 715-717

Mr. Jason Somerville BSc (hons) AWCF ubley Warren house, Charterhouse on Mendip, Blagdon, Bristol BS40 7xW

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