Sole and Frog support systems
The bare equine foot bears weight not only on the hoof's wall but also on the bars, frog and sole. Normal shoeing redirects weight bearing away from these structures (over) loading mainly the wall and its laminary attachment to the distal phalanx (Bouley's ligament).
Currently the farriery industry, adapting modern chemicals, offers a range of sole filling and support materials with short curing times.
These materials permit recruitment of the other ungular components like bars, frog and sole, even selectively, into weight bearing, allowing for a precise redistribution of load to the different components and region of the hoof.
The frog an sole support (and protection) materials now available can be amply differentiated relative to their hardness (expressed in shore), weight, application technique, curing time, adhesiveness to the sole and transpiration capacity (see table1).
The field of application of these products in equine podiatry is vast, both as prevention (e.g. sole protection in endurance horses) as in therapy (e.g. support in case of compromised laminar bond) and can replace more traditional weight bearing-redirection farriery techniques like heart bar shoes, Stockholm tar imbibed hemp etc., with greater efficiency.
Apart from the chemical polymers described in the table on there are a series of special frog support pads on the market, which can be used by themselves or in combination with filling polymer material.
A short list of possible, appropriate uses include:
- Bruise prevention.
- Improvement of under run and collapsed heels.
- Prevention against the effects of high frequency impact on hard ground.
- Quarter crack treatment.
- Laminitis / founder therapy.
- Frog and palmar / plantar sole support in the case of large hoof ablations (onycomycosis, keratoma's, trauma).
As with any new techniques or products, appropriate use implies a “learning curve” as far as ease and choice of application. Facilitating this learning in a methodical way (product by product, pathology by pathology, case by case) is the aim of this presentation.