What are heel wedges used for?? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 01-19-2012, 04:52 AM Thread Starter
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Question What are heel wedges used for??

I make no claim to be clued up in terms of shoeing - my horses were always barefoot.

I am currently looking at a horse that has apparently had wedges used on his hind feet about a year ago (he no longer wears them) while racing because he was coming up lame after each run. He has only had 4 starts.

It is important to note that the farrier currently doing the work probably has THE worst reputation in the country for the way he slaps shoes on that are too small etc and puts no thought or effort into his work. He has a history of causing injury from poor workmanship.

I believe that my farrier could change the feet in a few months and he would have no problems. However I am waiting for him to go and assess the horse today and give me an honest opinion before I make any decisions.

Please could someone just explain exactly why they use heel wedges? It is someting I am very unfamiliar with. Are they used to protect tendons and avoid ligament and tendon strain?
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post #2 of 7 Old 01-19-2012, 09:00 AM
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Talk to your farrier about it, he'd have the best answers for you. I know they frequently use wedges and pad up high trotting Arabians, but since I don't show Saddleseat, none of mine have ever been done that way. Therapeutically, I don't know what they'd be used for, except to change the angle of the foot? While it grew some heel? MAYBE?

I'm like you, my horses are all barefoot unless I need to have a keg shoe put on to go show. After all these years barefoot for normal riding, I'd be less inclined to take a horse that required regular shoeing. Spoiled I guess!

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post #3 of 7 Old 01-19-2012, 09:09 AM Thread Starter
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Im also spoiled in that mine were always barefoot. My first 2 horses were both Anglo Arabs and were tough as nails! The one is in a front set of shoes now in his older years because he is competing full time and needs the support.

I am hoping the farrier can pull the back shoes off completely to be honest. I don't mind doing a half set of shoes...coming off the track he wont cope very well without the front ones at least...he has been in shoes all his life.

I think in the racing world it's related to tendons...i hope it isnt a problem because I really like this horse. He has the calmest and sweetest nature and he needs to chance to escape the racing industry...I want to do that for him but I can't if it's going to mean he has huge problems with his feet. All in all he looks fine and has been out the wedges for a year now. I think his farrier is the problem.
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post #4 of 7 Old 01-19-2012, 09:55 AM
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His farrier very well could be his problem, I saw where you said he has a bad reputation. The sad thing is, the farrier could have ruined him for life and if not, it could still be a year or more before you know for sure if the damage can be undone. When you talk about heel wedges in the back, it brings to mind coon footed horses, and that is something to definitely stay away from. NOT say his is but just that that's what jumps to mind real quick for me.

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post #5 of 7 Old 01-19-2012, 10:29 PM
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Wedges are used for caudal heel pain / navicular, or to support extension flexor tendons and ligaments. If they were using them to fix a lameness problem, I'd be extremely wary.
loosie and qtrhrsecrazy like this.
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post #6 of 7 Old 01-21-2012, 12:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MysticL View Post
I believe that my farrier could change the feet in a few months and he would have no problems. However I am waiting for him to go and assess the horse today and give me an honest opinion before I make any decisions.
Not meaning to knock, but what are you basing that optimism on? Do you know exactly what the 'lameness' was during racing? Do you know what his conformation, bone development, etc is like, after being started hard & shod very young? What the hoof conformation is like & whether or not it was bad farriery, innate, or other bodily problems associated with hard work of babies?

Without a lot more info, wouldn't even want to guess on anything, except that good farriery will likely make some improvement his hooves.

Quote:
The one is in a front set of shoes now in his older years because he is competing full time and needs the support.
What sort of support do the shoes provide?
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post #7 of 7 Old 01-23-2012, 07:34 AM Thread Starter
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My optimism is based on the fact that he has been sound ever since having the wedges out even though he was still running as well as him being fully x rayed and thermographed for hot spots and coming back clear. Add to that the reputation that his old farrier had and an honest professional opinion from my own farrier who is one of the best in the country and I know he will be fine. Was just curious why they used wedges.

The farrier is changing his shoes today and trimming him evenly because his old farrier has literally not done his feet evenly
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