Thursday, June 23, 2011

High-Low Illustrations: Revisiting old projects.

   About fourteen years ago I was putting together my application for the Registered Master Farrier credential.  I decided to submit a project on correcting mismatched forefeet, which is something I'd had quite a bit of success with in the field.

   The problem was that the Guild of Professional Farriers rules required that RMF projects be evaluated by a panel of farriers who were not to know whose project they were grading.  This meant that the project materials needed to be reproducible (so that copies could be sent to the various panel members) and should not contain anything that would identify the applicant.  The point of the latter was to keep the Master level from becoming a political good ol' boy's club.

   In those days, farriers who knew how to format documents and produce graphics on a computer were still sort of a rarity.  And I was one of the better-known examples.  So, in order to stay anonymous, I had to "unslickificate" my application.  Typewriter text.  Simple pen over pencil, photocopied illustrations.

   Now, as I rush to get The Encyclopedic Dictionary of Farriery composed for next year, the old project has come out of the file cabinet as a resource for the High-Low Hoof Syndrome entry.

   It's been kind of interesting, trying to rehabilitate the intentionally sketchy illustrations into something suitable for the book.

Here's the sort of thing I had to start-out with.
Pretty cool what we can do with GIMP these days...

Lateral views of the high and low hooves, with trimming guides...

Palmar views.

Solar views...
Note that the hoof on the right (the "low foot") has its white line stretched around,
and has underrun heels, while the "high foot" white line is distorted mostly at the toe.

Here we have the same hooves, trimmed and flat-shod.
The match isn't perfect. (Note the differing heel slopes.) 
But the overall base of support and breakover is now fairly matched.

Palmar views.  Note the extra full fit on the "high" (left side) hoof's shoe.

Solar views of same feet shod with Thera-Flex inserts and abbreviated shoes.
An approach which has worked well for me with severe/stubborn cases.

Plamar views.
Note that the narrow, high foot (on the left) has its insert carved to gently
drive the bars/heels apart when the foot is loaded.
The wide, flat foot's insert is carved to load the frog, effectively "pushing" the middle of 
the hoof up to create concavity and unload the crushed heels.

Lateral views.
Despite the very different functions of the inserts as applied to each foot,
They are a good match in appearance and gait (weight/breakover/traction).

   Even after GIMP, these images are still a little simplified and "sketchy".  But I think they get the idea across, and will reproduce well in mass printing.  What you're seeing here are, of course, scaled, low-res versions of the graphic files that will be used to generate the actual book.

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