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Sunday, August 31, 2008

Thoroughbreds with Crushed Heels: Ian McKinlay's Latest Video Offers Advice

Hoof repair specialist Ian McKinlay, known for his literal "stop-gap" expertise for keeping racehorses like Big Brown running in spite of cracks and blow-outs, has created a short video about crushed heels in racehorses.

Ian spoke to an SRO audience at a Hoofcare@Saratoga event a few weeks ago and will be speaking at the AAEP's farrier conference in San Diego, California in December.

Learn more about his dual-density rimming technology for shoes at

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Janet Hagen said...

Questions, quesitons, questions.
Thin walls is the cause?
If the walls aren’t allowed to chronically “belly out” as Ian says (flaring?), but are instead kept short at the level of the sole, why wouldn’t the sole, frog, and bars the support the horse? My bet is that the walls aren’t meant as the only structure to carry the weight of the horse. But if the walls are kept short in the quarters following the shape of the sole, wouldn’t it be difficult to nail a shoe on? Why is it that he comments on the fact that the bare-footers don’t like that the whole hoof collapses inside the shoe - he can’t possibly mean that conventional farriers accept this? Of course he wouldn’t even be addressing this topic of loading a horse on decaying hoof walls if it weren’t a common problem created by the conventional practice of shoeing.

Janet Hagen
One of those bare-footers

Mike Miller said...

Ian is a clever man an doesn't claim to be a farrier. He's a hoof repair specialist. Thus he doesn't criticize what is clearly the result of poor farrier practice over a long time, combined with breeding which has sacrificed bone, foot and conformation for pure speed.
This isn't about barefoot vs shoeing at all. This is a foot which has deteriorated over a long period and then broken down. This isn't a "problem created by the conventional practice of shoeing." I do agree that the entire foot should participate in bearing weight, a view which goes back to Dollar and Wheatley and beyond.
The method of repair does nothing to address the big problem: The heels need to grow out and they must be relieved of some weight-bearing to do so. This could be accomplished with a heart-bar shoe or frog-support (Myron Mclean type) pad. It would also require that this horse, which is not sound, be kept off the track until it has a foot. Not poplar with owners and trainers, but there it is.
Ian's treatment, while technically adept, is only creating a plastic dependent foot. not long term soundness. The posterior structures of the foot are not supported, and ready to prolapse through the open-heeled shoe all over again.

Buck McClendon said...

I aggree with Mr Miller on this one. How about some follow up pictures?

jenny said...

That's not the same hoof in the part where the shoe is applied... the first hoof had a very contracted frog whereas the one that is shown being shod has a pretty good frog... Wonder which one it is that is shown at the end?

david said...

i have been shoeing horses for 30 years using similar techniques with great sucess.these pads are great improvement over what we have had in the past.if you took all the sore footed horses off the track their wouldnt be very many left out there.david hall sadieville ky

Heidi Meyer said...

LOts of factors have created this hoof on this horse. Most definitely, the toe has been left long for too long....causing the entire heel area to "displace" behind the shoe, pulling the supportive cartilages with it and causing the collapse of the heel around the hoof wall that was held by the shoe. Without moving the break over back, UNLOADING the hoof wall and supporting the frog/sole with a boot pad, keeping the hoof wall rolled right back to the whiteline (at the toe as well) and getting this horse moving will encourage the frog to beef up, thus the deep digital cushioning above it which supports the bony column....allowing the hoof wall to grow in with less pressure on it, and more underrun heel.
This takes 4-6 months to cure....must be kept on a 3-4 week sched and the horse needs time turnout to get that pressure/release on the frog/sole. Hoof packing and shoes create a static environment, where little development of healthy tissue will occur. You'll get wall growth, but no inner development.

Mike@Aintree Hospitality said...

Excellant work Ian. It is a tiresome process repairing damaged and crushed heels on racehorses. But well worth the effort.
Looks as though you made fine work of it also!