The appointment went even better than I could have hoped for. When I arrived at Brad Allen's facility, Rosedale Farrier Supply, both Dr. Tolley and Dr. Gonzalez were already there to supervise the corrective shoeing of an older mare. It was a relief to see Dr. Tolley because I didn't want to try and explain to Brad what needed to be done. I shouldn't have worried.
Dr. Tolley explained to Brad that he thought the horse was high on the outsides of both feet. He also very succinctly summed up Speedy's lameness history, including our trip to Alamo Pintado the year before. Brad had me walk Speedy out and back a number of times while he and Dr. Tolley consulted. After much discussion, Brad felt that while Speedy was a bit high on the right side he was only a little high on the front quarter of the left side. But overall, he felt that Speedy was fairly well-balanced.
Another discussion ensued. Changing the way a horse lands rather than shoeing the horse the way he wants to land is a polarizing topic. For every vet and farrier who says don't do it, there are just as many who say it needs to be done. Both Brad and Dr. Tolley felt that in Speedy's case, there was enough wiggle room that they felt getting him to land flatter was the best course of action.
Once he goes through another six weeks of growth, the goal will be to actually take off even more from the outsides which will in effect leave the insides high. What this will accomplish, we all hope, is that Speedy's flight angle will still be outside high, but with nothing to land on, he will actually land flat inside of falling onto the inside heels. My husband called it a "track bar adjustment." Only the NASCAR fans will find that funny.
Besides trimming him more level, Brad also put on a much lighter weight shoe that is also slightly curved on the bottom to encourage quicker break-over. It's fairly typical to use heavier shoes for dressage horses (according to the farrier) as it encourages more action in the knees. Lighter weight shoes, on the other hand, encourage a more forward motion.
Both Dr. Tolley and Brad remarked on the long stride length that Speedy naturally has in his hind legs. With the heavier shoes however, Speedy was having a harder time getting his front feet out of the way of that long stride. That was one reason for the constant forging. The lighter shoe should allow him to pick up his front feet more quickly and stride forward.
In fact, he spoke so highly of the new farrier that he offered to give a reference for me as a client just so the farrier would take me. I called the new farrier the day before our appointment with Brad Allen and left a message. The new farrier called me back the next morning and agreed to stop by Brad Allen's facility if he could squeeze it in. While he wasn't able to do that, we did discover that he was shoeing one of the horses next door to the barn.
We quickly made a plan for me to walk Speedy over when I got back from Brad's place. It was the perfect arrangement, and one that my previous out-of-town-farrier could never have done. The new farrier listened to the long string of adjustments that Brad and Dr. Tolley had made, and then he chimed in with a few other ideas for next time.
He was knowledgeable, intelligent, articulate, and clearly experienced in the craft of shoeing horses. He's coming back to shoe Izzy in a couple of weeks. He'll also look Speedy over for changes, and when Speedy is due again, he'll re-shoe both horses so that they're on the same schedule. Izzy will be a week or two early, but he'll have enough hoof growth to re-shoe.