BALANCE - Part 2
Side to Side Imbalance
It is common to find horses with one low, seemingly less developed shoulder, which is frequently further forward than the other shoulder as well (see Asymmetry article). This can be caused by saddle or rider interference, but more commonly it is the result of another side to side imbalance in the hind foot on the same side, possibly due to handedness again. Often it is aggravated by a very subtle long point in one of the toe quarters. For a farrier who understands the problem, it is a relatively simple matter to correct the hind foot in such a way that the shoulders can level outsometimes immediately! I have seen this happen on a number of horses, have successfully done it on my own horses, and it still amazes me
These side to side imbalances also frequently cause deviations in the swing phase of a horses stride, although if the deviation is caused by a conformation defect the horse cannot be helped by therapeutic shoeing. Many horses with legs that dont swing straight forward, however, just need some precision balancing in the feet.
These imbalances can be minimal (as little as 1/16), but they seriously affect not just the horses motion but also long-term soundness. Although you might feel that the soft footing of your riding ring will allow the horse to compensate for these imbalances, in fact Ive found this is not the case. The imbalance must be corrected, whether the correction needs to be made to the hoof itself, or to shoe placement.
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Last updated October 17, 2003
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