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TOPIC: Slippering the heels?

Slippering the heels? 04 Apr 2013 03:15 #1

  • matryoshka
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Does anybody know what is meant by this? A vet wants me to "slipper the heels" on a horse with under-run heels. I have the breakover back and the heels as far back as I can get them without making the hoof too shallow, but the vet wants more done. I was hoping somebody here knows what is meant by this. I tried calling the vet but did not get a return call.

Thanks,
Pam
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Slippering the heels? 04 Apr 2013 04:50 #2

  • Jack Evers
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It's an old technique designed to force the heels outward. The heels of the shoe are forged to present an outward sloping hoof surface. As the hoof wall at the heel tries to slip down this ramp the heels are theoretically forced to spread. I've never used the technique, don't really believe in forcing something like that, but would probably do it on a vet's instruction.
Jack Evers CJF AFA#426

The best things about the good old days -- I wasn't good and I wasn't old.

The older I get, the more horses I shoe, the fewer things that I can absolutely, positively fix.
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Slippering the heels? 04 Apr 2013 11:54 #3

I've tried it a few times. Can't say I've ever seen it make any difference.

Regards
Rick Shepherd

Although we know what we believe, we may only believe what we know. Dr William Moyers
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Slippering the heels? 04 Apr 2013 13:28 #4

  • tbloomer
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I thought slippered heels went the way of the dinosaur. OTOH, I can't imagine that such a shoe modification would be harmful to the horse.

In the interest of science and education, I think if a vet insisted on it I would have them specify the cross section angle of the slipper and the length of the angled section along the heel. I would also have the vet inspect the shoe fit before it was nailed and sign of on their approval. That way in 5 or 6 weeks the vet would have a baseline for their experiment. I would also bill the owner a significant upcharge.
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Here's the deal. I'm trying to keep it simple.
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Slippering the heels? 05 Apr 2013 00:16 #5

  • matryoshka
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I forgot to mention this is a barefoot horse. Sorry! :blush:

It sounds like she wants the same principle applied to the trim. Probably means to take out the inside edge of the heel buttress. A farrier showed me this years ago, but he called it "opening the heels." I do this on occasion when the bars are curved and the frog is contracted, but this horse does not have contracted heels.

Thanks, and if there are more ideas, I'd appreciate hearing them!
Crusader Rabbit Rides Again!
Last Edit: 05 Apr 2013 00:17 by matryoshka.
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Slippering the heels? 05 Apr 2013 12:41 #6

Sounds to me like the vet doesn't know what she is talking about, or there was a mix up in communications. I'd probably ask for more detail, as Bro Bloomer has suggested. Probably wouldn't charge more, though, if I liked the client.

Regards
Rick Shepherd

Although we know what we believe, we may only believe what we know. Dr William Moyers
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Slippering the heels? 05 Apr 2013 13:16 #7

  • tbloomer
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matryoshka wrote:
I forgot to mention this is a barefoot horse. Sorry! :blush:
Well that changes the meaning of everything in my previous response. LOL!

It sounds like you have not discussed the horse with the vet - hoof in hand.

If the vet used the term "slippered heels" in referring to a trimming technique then you really need to you and the vet together hoof in hand to have a discussion. If the owner is not on board with that deal, then you are not obligated to give the vet's "prescription" any consideration at all.

If after meeting with the vet, hoof in hand, you cannot reach a consensus on how to do the trim, the final call is YOURS because it is your hands performing the work. If the vet disagrees with you, then the vet can do the trim with her own hands - and don't lend her your tools. ;)
Tom Bloomer
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Slippering the heels? 07 Apr 2013 17:52 #8

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Update:

I saw the horse on Friday. This horse had had decent feet, somewhat flat thanks to his breeding. Now I'm seeing heels that want to contract and are developing a teardrop shape with the front wider than the back. The owner had been trimming his heels according to what the vet had showed her. It appeared to me that it was developing a reverse angle in the coffin bone--heels too low in comparison to the toe. Yikes.

When I arrived I was still thinking the vet meant for me to open the heels at the buttress, and I showed the owner this (now the horse kinda needed it thanks to the heels starting to contract). I restored the angle of the hoof as well as I could, considering the lack of toe depth. The horse walked off much more comfortable than when he walked up to me, but I cautioned the owner that he could be sore because they were now shorter than I like.

Upon leaving I thought about the horse's stance and way of walking when I arrived and remembered the same vet with a different client's horse. She thought the horse's posture was too much on the forehand and trimmed his heels way down to force him to rock back on his hindquarters (owner had pictures of the stance and trim to show me). Ugh. I had told that client that if she wanted the horse trimmed like that she'd have to take him back to the vet. I trim for healthy feet and find that the posture affects the hooves but that in my opinion it shouldn't be forced the other direction on a sound, barefoot horse.

So now I think the vet what the vet meant by "slippering" was to take the heel way down to the back of the frog, regardless of whether there is enough depth to do so. I'm thinking she may have wanted the reverse palmar angle. I'm not doing it.

I did try to contact the vet and did not get a return call. I have found for myself that riding a horse in a way that gets him off the forehand helps to teach him a better posture, even when he's loose in the field. Horses I trim who have run-under heels get some improvement in their feet when ridden this way. I've done it with my own horses.

I do appreciate the advice. I should talk to some local farriers to see what their experiences are with this particular vet. It's funny that I lost a client last year when a trainer insisted that I trim horses exactly opposite to what this vet wants. Go figure. :dry:

Thank you for your thoughts and your time!
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Slippering the heels? 07 Apr 2013 20:17 #9

  • Red Amor
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I use slippered heals a fair bit
I think it helps some
I use vairing degrees of the slope and always have a good amount of shoe showing giving the hoof somewere to go and not end up with hoof growing over the shoe and recking everything jacking the heels down and creating corns , sprains n stuff

I think slippering may be better used with some form of frog /sole suport as well
bare foot or shod get the toe back n open the heels a little not to weaken the so they slump
Mark Anthony Amor
If we want anymore excrement like that outta you we'll squeese ya head :eek:
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Slippering the heels? 08 Apr 2013 00:20 #10

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You done good by that horse - good on ya.

It is very unprofessional for the vet not to call you back . . . but you already knew that.
Tom Bloomer
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Slippering the heels? 08 Apr 2013 03:50 #11

  • Jack Evers
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I'm just going to relay an anecdotal story that IMO involves negative palmar angle, but I have no radiographs. NPA is not common to me, the horses on my books that I know an early background on generally grew up on pasture where they could grow a decent foot. This mare ws raised by a woman suffering some health issues and basically grew up in a small and seldom cleaned feed lot. Practically no foot stimulation. She changed hands at the age of six with a nursing foal, she had never had foot care and in fact was not even broke to lead. She settled in quickly, had a few hundred acres of pasture and 24/7 turnout and was a delight from the ground, loved people. Started under saddle, but only ridden sporadically as she raised a couple more foals, she was totally different under saddle, appeared uncomfortable and miserable. I never liked how she used her hind end, but suspected she would build strength and be OK. Saddle changes didn't help, did not seem to be her back.

This was the year to make her a serious saddle horse. With what I considered a normal trim, her angles were generally around 55 in front and a couple degrees lower behind. I didn't like the lower behind, but certainly not abnormally low angles. I just suspected something like a negative palmar angle. Shoeing her last week I wedged her up behind to see how she might like it. Overnight she was a completely different horse. Confident, forward and happy. Hard to believe 4 degrees could make that difference but it sure did.

Anyone else have NPA reponse like this?
Jack Evers CJF AFA#426

The best things about the good old days -- I wasn't good and I wasn't old.

The older I get, the more horses I shoe, the fewer things that I can absolutely, positively fix.
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Slippering the heels? 08 Apr 2013 12:47 #12

  • Rick Burten
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Jack, in certain/many instances, I have had the same result.

As regards slippered heels, The technique I was taught/learned always involved shoeing the horse. The shoes, from the quarters rearward were boxed ie:(/) and the hoof all in the same area was trimmed to the same angle such that when the shoe was set, the edge of the hoof wall was sitting on the angle created in the shoe. The theory being that as the hoof loaded, the angled wall would slide over the angled edge of the shoe thus allowing/forcing the hoof to expand. Because of that action, it can cause the horse some pain and discomfort. Some farriers have gone so far as to incorporate a Chadwick spring (www.ccfausa.com/The_Contract_Hoof.htm) along with the slippered heels.
Rick Burten PF

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Last Edit: 08 Apr 2013 12:48 by Rick Burten.
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