Friday, June 6, 2008

BIG BROWN HOOF

In spite of what you may have heard, the quarter crack in Big Brown’s front hoof is in NO WAY life threatening. Unless of course, you could die from a split fingernail or a hangnail. So all you PETA types lighten up.

Yes, he could break a bone with his next step, but his hoof crack isn’t gonna get him. It may slow him down, which would suck, but…

So what’s the deal. Quarter cracks are pretty common in big horses and Big is big. It is typically repaired with a fiberglass patch or a metal staple/suture which is exactly what has happened here – a combination of both.

Big Brown’s blacksmith/farrier/horse shoer is a Canadian fellow named Ian McKinlay who obviously knows what he’s doing. He has been working on Big Brown for some time and he has custom fit and designed the padded shoe he has worn since the Florida Derby.

Big Brown, who is undefeated, is therefore undefeated wearing Mr. McKinlay’s special horse shoe. Take that, Dr. Scholls.

Having done this for many years, McKinlay saw it coming, so he has had a plan in place for some time to deal with Big’s not-so-good feet.

Enter the “Yasha” shoe, named after McKinlay’s best friend, which has a red, firm polyurethane pad that wraps around the front edge of the hoof and a softer black pad on the inside to absorb concussion.

Then this little bit of equine shoe technology is glued on (as many racing shoes now are) so there is no issue of nails starting, or exacerbating, new or existing cracks.

As good luck would have it, McKinlay’s done this before. In 1997, he patched up Touch Gold who suffered a bad quarter crack when he stumbled at the start of the Preakness. McKinlay worked his magic, and Touch Gold went out and ran down Silver Charm to win the Belmont and thwart yet another Triple Crown bid.

Hopefully, his horse will do the thwarting this weekend.


(Photos courtesy of the Blood-Horse)

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