The other new horse to arrive at the weekend was Joey, an eventer who has been diagnosed on MRI with a "significant" injury to his DDFT as well as navicular bone damage and bursitis.
Joey was shod in remedial bar shoes which are intended to (and here I quote directly from his veterinary report): "to provide heal [sic] support in the long term".
I took a photo of his feet from this angle because it illustrates perfectly the problem with using remedial shoes to support the back of the foot. The "support" is at ground level but the internal structures - digital cushion and lateral cartilages - are completely unsupported.
In fact when you look at the left leg from a different angle its clear that the shoe is already out in front of the palmar hoof and the toe is running forward - not very supportive.
Intuitively, as I've said before, we like to think that the metal acts as some sort of scaffolding, pinning the foot together, but when you look at the weight-bearing surface of the foot its actually reduced by the shoe rather than increased. Joey was only standing on a narrow strip of metal when shod - loading his bodyweight onto the edge of his foot - whereas now he has the whole palmar hoof to load.
This photo clearly shows a weakened digital cushion; the hairline is distorted and the back of the foot is collapsing over the back of the shoe, as you could also see in the first photo. This is often the first place where we see improvement over the initial weeks of rehab and I hope Joey will be no exception.