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Farrier doesn't believe in collateral ligament injuries

My best horse came up lame about 2.5 months ago, it blocked out to his foot. Vet suggested we change the shoes and treat coffins, which we did. He was sound right after, jumped/ showed etc. Then directly after the NEXT shoe change, he was lame again. Still blocked out to foot. MRI showed collateral ligament strain, so the vet said to put him in the field for 3 months and then see where we’re at. The shoes were still off from the MRI so one of the grooms pulled the back ones off (he has EXTREME shivers/ stringhalt so that’s not such an easy feat) and put him on a truck up north for some nice time in the field. At next shoeing cycle, farrier asks where is (he always does him first bc he’s a PITA to shoe, see aforementioned shivers) and when I told him our plan he said he doesn’t believe that collateral ligament strains are really a “thing”, bc the ligament is so thick and strong. He still thinks it can be fixed with different shoeing. He said that while time off never hurts anyone he would want to put different shoes back on him for that period. The horse is currently barefoot, per vet rec. Thoughts??

Follow your vet.


Tell farrier when he gets his vet license you will listen to him? :roll_eyes:


Achilles tendons are also super thick and strong, yet an Achilles strain is relatively common in humans - now imagine how much more common they’d be if a person regularly wore shoes that were ill fitting and put their ankle in a compromised position.

MRI results > unsubstantiated “feeling”. I’m with your vet on this one.


I would listen to your vet.


Your farrier is free to not believe “collateral ligament strains are really a “thing”” (he is also free to believe in Santa Claus), but the MRI says you horse has one.

My horse has one too, confirmed by MRI.

Follow the vet’s advice, though it is possible that shoeing CONTRIBUTED to it.


Listen to your vet, for sure!!

And if you want to treat the shivers, check out DeClue Equine and Dr. Audrey DeClue. Listen to her podcast, “The Horse First” and give her a call. She’s cured 3 horses of ours and over 2000 horses around the world.

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Thank you for this Punkie, I’ve been looking for some new podcasts. They look great and I will search out the shivers ones.

<editing this as I tried to listen to a couple but the message was not for me … a comment along the lines of ‘I can’t tell you how to fix it as that would give away my secrets’ …. Typically that is not how science works. Science shares methodology so others can verify (or not).>

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He doesn’t “believe?” in collateral ligament injuries? Anatomy and physiology and the causes of injury are not a religion for god’s sake.

Your farrier must never have had his knee hit hard from the side while running, or stretching/tearing a ligament or tendon while engaging in other athletic pursuits.

Does the farrier believe that tendon issues in horses are unreal as well?
He doesn’t “believe” that if he was a horse, he couldn’t have had slipped and extended or whacked his stifle in a manner that stretched ligaments beyond their normal range? Weird.

I hope farrier is more competent with proper basic farrier work than their understanding of anatomy and physiology and common injuries to ligaments and tendons.

Not all farriers have extensive veterinary knowledge in the U.S. We don’t require structured licensing and education for farriers as does the U.K. and that’s OK, not ideal, but OK. Being a farrier is a difficult job and unless one is shoeing high performance horses, farriers in the U.S. can get by with just knowing the basics and listening to the vet, if there is an issue with which they are unfamiliar.

We have Veterinarians to diagnose and treat medical issues. I never did expect my farriers to know much more than how to balance hooves, trim properly and shoe properly, keeping the angles as they should be. Of course I didn’t have big time performance horses, only my living at home hacks, who had excellent feet and no issues with front and hind shoes being worn from early spring to late fall,while being barefoot in the winter.

If you are competing and this is your special competition horse I agree with trusting your vet, but it can’t hurt to get a second farrier opinion if that would make you more comfortable. That opinion would consist of consulting with your vet about how your horse should be shod and when.


Your horse seems to believe in collateral ligament injuries and unfortunately that’s what matters.


Believe your vet & find a new farrier.

a Farriers SO


This is one of the best sport horse farriers in the country. I am of course following my vets rec, and I am not looking to switch farriers- I was wondering if anyone ELSE had run up against a farrier (or anyone else for that matter) not believing the collateral ligament was the source of lameness. He said the MRI might show a strain in a lot of horses that were NOT lame, but bc that ligament is so thick and big, basically the strain is not the source of the lameness. Sorry if I wasn’t clear.

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No offense, but I wouldn’t touch Dr DeClue with a 10 foot pole. I won’t share it here but we had a very bad experience.


This is an interesting theory (truly).
Is there any research into this theory that supports what he is saying?

That’s such a shame to hear! She’s saved the lives and careers of 3 of my personal horses and treated 14 others I know personally with great success. You’re the first person I’ve encountered who has expressed distaste for her therapy. I’ve definitely heard complaints about her bedside manner, but not her outcomes. I’m terribly sorry that you had that experience!

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And jumped half their own height multiple times daily, for multiple times a week.

I think you are addressing the wrong joint.
MANY joints have collateral joints.
I initially assumed she was talking about the fetlock joint (which is what my horse has)…

But in the very first post the OP said: “it blocked out to his foot. Vet suggested we change the shoes and treat coffins, which we did.”
So I am pretty sure she is talking about the coffin joint collateral ligaments.

I did a Google search and found this

“Although uncommon, injuries to the collateral ligaments between P2 and P3 do occur in performance horses that repeatedly load or overload these ligaments. Twisting and turning movements can result in stress and tears to the ligaments.”
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The OP said

OK, he is saying that the MRI results are a “red herring”. That is possible, MRI results be misleading.

Many years ago my horse had similar symptoms- lameness that nerve blocking isolated to one front foot. When that foot was blocked she was completely sound. I was sent to a nationally recognized lameness vet, who ordered an MRI. He called my vet, and said that the lameness was cause by “inflammation of the navicular bursa”. But when he sent the full MRI results to my vet, they showed “inflammation of the navicular bursa” on BOTH front feet, and she wasn’t lame in the other front foot. So the MRI was a red herring. The inflammation of the navicular bursa was real, but it was not the cause of the lameness. (In the end the lameness was due to mechanical damage to the hoof wall, and it was managed with bar shoes and pour in pads until the defect grew out.)

But I think your vet is in a lot better position than your farrier to determine if the MRI is a red herring.


Collateral ligament injury is incredibly common. It is also incredibly common for multiple issues to affect a single foot. Unlikely shoeing will “fix” the horse. It may make him more comfortable and less likely to have the issues recur. For field rest barefoot is the way to go - with the caveat his feet will still need regular maintenance.

Thanks for clearing that up. I think you were clear, I just misunderstood.