Natural Balance Shoeing (NBS) uses shoes which bring back or shorten the fulcrum or break-over point towards the centre of the hoof and allows the horse to break over more easily than with conventional shoeing.
Like all farriery procedures it is only as good as the person who carries out the task. Unless you are fully conversant with the procedure and have received instruction from a source that has used NBS successfully you must be cautious in your approach. The following limitations should apply.
Trim the foot in a normal, well balanced manner for the reception of a shoe, avoid over-trimming as this may make the horse sore.
The outside toe edge of the shoe should not be fitted behind the white line at the centre of the toe without good reason as damage can result.
You should make the shoe fit the hoof by hot or cold forging – not make the hoof fit the shoe.
Centring the alignment of the shoe on the foot is important – this is easier to achieve with a normal shoe with a toe-clip but not so straightforward with a square-toed shoe which doesn’t have a toe-clip. As the horse moves, both shoe heels must land simultaneously – if they don’t there will be a slight twisting action on impact and eventually a lame horse.
Do not strip the hoof wall off back to the shoe, just take the leading edge off at an angle.
If you wish to pull back behind the white line you should seek Veterinary advice, which is advisable in any case and possibly radiographs to ascertain the position of the pedal bone and other structures. Place the shoe on the foot and attach initially with one nail each side. Stand the horse on a firm level surface and assess the position of the break-over and the general appearance of the work to see if it is acceptable. If you are happy with the result, finish nailing.
After nailing on there must be clearance (2-3mm) between the sole of the hoof and the foot surface of the shoe. Clamping the sensitive sole between the pedal bone and a shoe is a disaster in any form of horse shoeing.
The horse should be as sound a few minutes after shoeing (having walked its shoes in for a minute or two) as it was before. If not, you have done something wrong, put it right!
You can obtain further information by visiting www.hopeforsoundness.com.