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Open Toed Shoes

By James Findler and Marie Leginus


A shoe to alleviate caudal hoof pain, or excess stress to the navicular area. This shoe would help reduce coffin joint pain, and horses with broken back HPA issues. May or may not be a permanent shoe.

?Anatomy Involved

 The caudal hoof: Deep digital flexor tendon, navicular bone, navicular bursa, navicular ligaments, digital cushion, medial and lateral branches of SL, distal interphalangeal joint.


  • Current X-rays beneficial
  • Severely broken back HPA
  • Significant Caudal heel pain
  • Atrophied bars/heels
  • Negative heel when sighted
  • Lameness apparent
  • Consistent pointing on affected limb/limbs


  • Specific use only (Therapeutic shoe, treated as such ? no mountain riding etc)
  • If applied incorrectly, will have negative effects on other structures.
  • Toe can be worn back too far on abrasive footing
  • Abrasive footing may create fissures and white line separation if horse is living in an un-ideal environment
  • Sole pressure may occur if not eased
  • Cautious with toe nails, if the shoe is not fit properly
  • Positive frog pressure if applied without pad (occurs when heels are sunken below the plane of the frog)
  • Dorsal coronary band dropping (?) – * If improperly fit ? may occur


  • Relieves stress on Deep digital flexor tendon, Navicular bone, navicular ligaments, navicular bursa, distal interphalangeal joint, medial and lateral branches of Suspensory Ligament, Digital cushion
  • Positive improvements on HPA
  • Positive change in hoof symmetry over time


  • Recommended to be applied to fore limbs only.
  • To be fit to the toe pillars of the hoof (not to be set underneath extremely).
  • Should have clips at the toe pillars as well. (this will help stabilize the hoof capsule and reduce movement and shear of the shoe)
  • Seating out the ground side of the shoe at the heel will reduce ground friction/force as the foot is landing. (Preferably heel first, or flat landing)
  • If altering a keg shoe, be sure to not punch the nails deep, or fuller too deep.?
  • In cases of thin soles, a full leather wedge pad is beneficial to support the foot.
  • Leather will be a better choice, as it is more forgiving than plastic.
  • The frog area on the pad may have to be cut out to avoid positive pressure
  • The use of softer equithane, and making sure the pour hasn?t created a convex plane
  • In stronger feet, a bar wedge may be sufficient on cases that have a heel lower than the plane of the frog
  • Use of copper sulfate underneath the pad will help kill bacteria and fungus that is diminishing the quality of the sole/frog/bars (will help develop a healthy sole)
  • Choosing a shoe that is going to support the limb, and factoring in a leather pad. (too small a shoe will have improper effect)