follow us on facebook




Mission Farrier School  Horseshoeing School     
mission farrier school


Express Heir, aka �Harley� is a Saddlebred show gelding that we bought for our daughter Laura to show Saddleseat on the Pacific Northwest Saddlebred �A� circuit.



Harley has negative plane P3 on both hinds. This has resulted in tension on the deep digital flexor tendons, which transfers to sore hocks, stifles, hips and back. He was landing toe first on both hinds. 

Conformationally, Harley is already at odds, being post-legged behind, that is, little to no angle of the stifle and hock, with long low pasterns.  This has already pre-disposed him to suspensory injuries and issues, and will no doubt continue to present challenges in his health and level of soundness. 



Harley was an angry horse when he first came to live with us, with an unwillingness to work and a sour attitude, probably due to pain. 

We have seen a number of Saddlebreds with negative plane hinds and the resulting suspensory and DDFT issues, which may be due to breeding for a perceived desirable way of going.  It doesn�t have to be that way. 



We have used these same Natural Balance principles to help our Saddlebred achieve a heel first landing, easing the strain over the hocks, hips and top line, and while Harley still grows to a negative plane, we can manage this condition by being diligent about minimizing the distortion of the toe, and supporting the back of the foot. 


single shoe with a clip

Clipped shoe and the Natural Balance Shoe side by side.


When he is not performing, Harley is shod in reverse shoes, on his hind feet, set back to achieve appropriate breakover. On his fronts, he wears a steel Natural Balance shoe while in training. During show season, we hand forge a flat show shoe with breakover built way back into the toe, much like a steel Natural Balance shoe, only more so.


In this Radiograph, you can easily see that Harley�s breakover is set appropriately near the distal boarder of P3. 


 Natural Balance science works well when applied to gaited horses, as it frees up forward movement, which is what these breeds are all about. You can see that Harley�s knees break level, even when shod in a flat shoe. 



Harley and Laura have just finished a very successful year, claiming Highpoint in Saddleseat Equitation, and Reserve Highpoint in Country Pleasure and Reserve Highpoint in the Overall, on the Saddlebred A Circuit. This coming year (2006), she has bumped him up to the Show Pleasure Division. 

When Harley is not in the show ring, he and my wife Karen have developed a partnership learning to work cows.  Surprisingly this is an activity that Harley has really come to enjoy.   



Harley has also benefited from regular chiropractic visits by Dr. Mark DePaolo. This combination of chiropractic and appropriate shoeing using Natural Balance farrier science, has eased the strain on the deep digital flexor tendon, freeing up his hocks and stifles, reducing pain along his topline, and has not only made a huge difference in Harley�s way of going, but also in his attitude. 

We should note that Natural Balance farrier science can not �cure�, negative plane hinds, post-leggedness, or an at-risk suspensory apparatus, but it can help the horse be as good as he can be, given the conformational challenges. 

Natural Balance farrier science is just good, sound, horseshoeing, even in the aristocracy of the horse show world of the American Saddlebred. 


17028 Trombley Rd.,
Snohomish, WA  98290
Phone: 425 890-3043
Direct E-mail