In the following you will find a list of frequently asked questions on the F-Balance concept
What are the differences between the traditional trimming technique and the F-Balance concept?
It is current knowledge that there are natural trimming limits to the hoof. These limits separate the part of the hoof belonging to the foot from its growth. According to conventional hoof trimming techniques seeking to perform a flat trim, said limits are not respected. This is especially relevant when in presence of medial-lateral deviations, where the podiatrist ends up trimming parts that play an essential part in the foot while leaving areas that cause negative pressure on the same foot. This over and under-trimming cause imbalances that not only alter the traditional balances X, Y and Z, but also affect the horse’s F-Balance (that is, the medial-lateral balance of the foot in relation to the hoof’s longitudinal flexibility). Moreover, this kind of trimming impedes the performance of a hoof-by-hoof medial-lateral equilibrium specific to a given horse. Whenever overlooking the hoof’s natural limits and longitudinal flexibility, traditional technique proves nor measurable nor repeatable throughout time; every time this kind of trimming is performed, different results arise. Traditional techniques are based on fulfilling personal wishes, overlooking the horse’s needs.
Nonconformably, the F-Balance concept is based on always complying with the horse’s needs.
Trimming is designed to respect the hoof’s natural limits even in the presence of medial-lateral imbalances and deformations of the hoof capsule. This in turn, enables the horse to acquire the exact posture it needs at its given stage of life. Consequently, the body structure of the horse, whether perfect or defected, is respected, due to the fact that the F-Balance concept contemplates the natural and individual manifested information, derived from the horse’s hoof. It is for this reason that the trimming is measurable and reproducible over time. Any trim will respect the horse’s needs at a given time.
The F-Balance concept contemplates the hoof’s natural limits as well as its natural longitudinal flexibility, avoiding over and under-trimming the hoof. The podiatrist only works according to the horse’s needs, leaving his personal ambitions behind.
Why is the F-Balance concept considered revolutionary for equine podiatry?
The consideration of trimming according to the inherent and manifest natural limits and longitudinal flexibility of the hoof, never before taken into account, has tapped into a new field of research. The knowledge derived from this research enables absolute body balance, preserving the natural state of the foot and the horse by a hundred percent.
Why is this knowledge not made available for free?
Research and publishing require time and funding. The costs implied in the organization of courses and seminars cannot be avoided.
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www.danielanz.com / www.f-balance.com (websites are available in Spanish, English and German)
We believe in the analogy that states: “knowledge is like manure; when placed altogether in one place, the grass is then burnt and eventually dead; but when the manure is spread around, the grass grows greener and taller.”
We make all of our knowledge available to anybody who manifests an interest in it by direct consultation, in our forums, in our seminars, in the books provided, in selected articles and our courses. We deeply regret not being able to offer it completely free of charge at this stage of our project.
Is the F-Balance concept a means of disguising “arching the quarters”?
No. Arching the quarters, in order to drop down the heel, responds to a traditional technique used by some podiatrists. This technique claims to drop the bulb of the heel without affecting the position of the coffin bone.
Given that the F-Balance concept insists on looking out for the natural properties of the foot, there is no intention of subtracting too much or too little material.
From the point of view of the F-Balance concept, “arching the quarters” only adds pressure to the inflection point and incites the consequential elevation of that area’s coronary band. While it is possible for the bulb of the heel to be lowered with this technique, the weight on the foot remains to be shifted from the side to the center of the foot, not achieving the horse’s body balance.
Those who state that the F-Balance concept is a technique disguised as “arching the quarters” have not attempted to understand it.
Are F-Balance teachers excellent podiatrists and farriers?
At the headquarters of the official F-Balance academies we make sure to train podiatrists in the teachings of our concept (MASTER certification). Students must be able to transmit this knowledge in adequate fashion and also be trained to apply this knowledge in practice, in front of their students or in public during a seminar.
F-Balance professionals need not be experts in horseshoeing nor in the foot’s anatomy since their expertise lies in the knowledge relevant to the F-Balance concept.
In order to offer students a vast array of knowledge, some F-Balance academies offer additional extracurricular courses taught by specialized professionals. They are extracurricular and not an integral part of the certification levels.
Which are the main advantages of the F-Balance concept?
- It is 100% natural and respects the nature of the animal 100%. (Traditional podiatry is based on removing material belonging to the foot and leaving parts that should be trimmed. This happens because traditional podiatry does not contemplate the natural trimming limits, nor the longitudinal flexibility of the hoof.)
- It takes into account the horse’s needs and not the personal wishes of the podiatrist (Traditional podiatry puts the podiatrist’s wishes first.)
- It respects the horse’s conformation 100%, regardless of it is perfect or not. (Conventional podiatry follows subjective parameters and so, each podiatrist has his own personal criteria consequently leading to subjective results.)
- Given that the trimming is based on information provided by the hoof, the hoof can be trimmed repeatedly in the same exact manner (In the case of traditional trimming, the trim is different every time and also varies from one podiatrist to another. It is therefore not reproducible over time.)
- Since F-Balanced is based on objective and visibly verifiable information regarding the equine foot, it is easy to communicate when taught. (Conventional podiatry cannot be taught in the same manner because it lacks objective parameters. Each traditional podiatrist ends up creating a personal set of parameters based on subjective experiences, possibly selling such experience successfully.)
- Since the F-Balance concept only deals with hoof trimming, the podiatrist may choose to use the type of shoeing of his preference or even leave the horse’s foot bare, without hooves.
- It transforms equine podiatry into something simple; this is what most traditional podiatrists are afraid of.
Why is orthopedic shoeing avoided when working in accordance to the F-Balance concept?
Taking into account the longitudinal flexibility of the hoof plays an important role in determining the need for equine orthopedic treatments.
Traditional podiatrists tend to confuse the resilience of the hoof wall with the vertical movement of the hoof as a whole. It is for this reason that people often mistake identifying balancing the foot or lowering a bulb of the heel by causing bridges as F-Balance. Causing bridges to alleviate the hoof wall by cutting off functional parts of the foot is not an acceptable practice from the F-Balance point of view. Traditional podiatry however, does not only do this on a daily basis but often even supports these procedures with orthopedic shoeing.
Does the F-Balance concept consider the traditional X, Y and Z balances?
When the committing fully to the F-Balance concept, the traditional three balances are automatically and naturally respected. This is due to the fact that F-Balance bases its interventions on the information derived from the horse’s condition, thoroughly considering the natural limits of the hoof when trimming.
The X balance – viewed from the front – is respected whenever trimming while considering both the stress point of the heels and the limit between the sole and the wall. The Y balance – viewed from above – is respected whenever taking into account, firstly, the stress point of the heels, secondly, the limit between the sole and the wall, and, thirdly, the longitudinal flexibility of the hoof. The Z balance – viewed from the side – is respected whenever the stress point of the heels as well as the limit between the sole and the wall are respected. In conclusion, trimming the hoof along the natural limits will always imply a successful correlation of all 4 balances: X, Y, Z and F.
Can the horse's performance improve when trimming its hooves according to the F-Balance concept?
Whoever asserts that the F-Balance concept has negative effects on a horse does not understand the concept correctly. The F-Balance method is not an invention of anthropocentric considerations; it always portrays and prioritizes the observable natural features of horses. Denying the F-Balance concept implies denying the animal’s natural and physiological perfection. And so, the traditional conception of the hoof leads to the assumption that the podiatrist’s intervention is more important than the horse’s nature.
The F-Balance concept upholds that, even if a horse does not limp, it does not mean that it is healthy; also, a horse’s lack of pain is not a symptom of maximum performance. Nowadays, horses with hooves that have been trimmed according to traditional technique may be doing well, but they would do so much better if they were perfectly balanced. The F-Balance concept enables finding the absolute body balance for each individual horse by taking into account the possibility of ailments and compensated imbalances deriving from a horse’s inherent body structure, possibly originated before birth. A horse’s balance always stems from its current body structure, regardless whether it is perfect or not. The F-Balance concept is to a horse what a computer, operating the alignment of the wheels, is to a car. The result equals 0, that is, when achieving the perfect balance, enhanced by respecting the foot’s nature by 100%.
Since the F-Balance method only refers to the foot, does it also take into account the rest of the horse?
The horse’s body conformation is so powerful that the hoof contributes to its outcome. In other words, it can be said that the hoof is an accurate reflection of the horse as a whole. The hoof and the foot reveal the horse’s structure in detail, since there is a direct correlation between both structures. A horse with a body conformation A will provide a foot A. A horse with a conformation B will present a foot B. A horse with a foot C, will result in a foot C. If a podiatrist respects the information derived from the hoof, he or she will be respecting the horse’s body conformation. Should this conformation be deficient, the podiatrist will use and provide the necessary tools and aids to help this horse feel comfortable without changing its body conformation. Although horses may be traded for other horses, they cannot be changed themselves.
Can an amateur podiatrist understand what the hoof needs by participating in only one course?
Yes. This applies to professionals and to beginners as well. Participating in a course is very useful, because it always provides an answer to the biggest problem of all: Which are the natural limits of the hoof along which must be trimmed or rasped without over or under trimming the material.
This task can be undertaken in only 3 days. This includes learning to interpret the observable information on every hoof and learning the F-Balance concept in depth. After this course, each participant will be responsible for procuring the necessary amount of practice in order to acquire experience.
Even though the podiatrist participating in the course may realize how simple the concept is, achieving a complete understanding essentially requires professional theoretical as well as the practical guidance. It is for this reason that the Academy strongly advises upon taking practical courses with professional assistance.
Different course options are offered at the official F-Balance academies that range from theoretical courses for beginners to advanced courses for professionals who want to learn the concept in depth, both in theory and in practice.
Conventional podiatry states that in order to trim a hoof, the professional must learn and know the complete anatomy of the foot; anatomy is always a first priority. The F-Balance method asserts that ignorance of the natural trimming makes correct hoof trimming impossible. According to the F-Balance concept, interpreting the hoof ‘s information correctly is more important than knowing its general anatomy. A hoof can be trimmed correctly without knowing its anatomy, but never without knowing the hoof.
Why is it so hard to accept this new concept in traditional teaching circles?
Many podiatrists still resist the F-Balance concept because of its radical changes regarding the concept of the hoof and the horse as a whole. Simply put, it constitutes a stark opposite frame of mind. Embracing this concept would mean that traditional institutions would have to thoroughly revise and update their knowledge, which is not an easy thing to do given that it has been amassed over centuries.
The key for traditional podiatry to embrace the F-Balance concept lies in the acceptance and respect of the natural trimming limits and the longitudinal flexibility of the hoof, as well as the understanding that these features enable the horse’s medial-lateral stabilization. The F-Balance concept upholds that podiatrists do not have the right to remove nor add material to the hoof in order to fulfill their personal aspirations.
Traditional podiatrists stating they have always worked in accordance with the F-Balance concept have either failed to understand it or haven’t managed to let go of their prior formation, assuredly obsolete in the near future.
Is conventional podiatry harmful for the horse?
No. Conventional podiatry provides a vast knowledge to the broad understanding of the hoof, the foot and the horse in general, as well as some understanding regarding the cure of equine pathologies.
What changes with F-Balance: a large number of healing and equine orthopedic techniques are no longer necessary. F-Balance focuses on prevention rather than healing.
Does the F-Balance method work on every horse?
Yes, because the notion of a hoof ‘s natural trimming limits and the notion of longitudinal flexibility is applicable to every horse. The F-Balance concept and trimming technique is not based on man-made considerations, but on objectively natural features pertaining to a horse ‘s hoof; this is why it works on every horse. Podiatrists only have to consider these features whenever doing their job.
Could a blacksmith who works according to the F-Balance concept participate in a shoeing competition?
Yes, but it should be taken into account that competitions assess all trimming in accordance to the conventional technique. A blacksmith would therefore loose points in the event of trimming the hooves of a horse suffering from a medial-lateral imbalance.
What is F-Balance 's position in relation to internationally renowned farriers who disagree with the F-Balance concept?
The understanding of these great farriers is that their rejection is based on the fact that they are unwilling to understand the F-Balance concept, disagreeing without presenting any solid arguments. These people are usually skillful blacksmiths capable of finding solutions and helping by means of therapeutic shoeing, without taking into account the foot ‘s actual physiology. They privilege their personal aspirations instead of the horse’s needs. They lack the necessary tools to have an understanding of the horse’s hoof because they insist on ignoring the observable information on the foot in order to impose a personal view upon it. Consequently, shoeing is just as important as trimming the hoof.
Why is the F-Balance concept referred to as the future of equine podiatry?
F-Balance is considered the future of equine podiatry simply because an understanding of nature is always more telling, precise and effective than any human concoction.
Is the F-Balance project a sectarian movement like some people tend to think?
The aim of our project is to responsibly pass on the F-Balance concept because we know that misunderstanding it would harm horses directly.
The arrangement of the diffusion system by means of seminars, courses, and podiatry schools – all based on our concept – as well as the official F-Balance academies (franchises) foresee that each party benefits from it, either by obtaining and sharing knowledge or by increasing their income.
We impart knowledge as well as offering consulting services and advertisement support in exchange of an inevitable cost. Each podiatrist who decides to gain access to this is guaranteed satisfaction and not forced to apply the F-Balance concept after taking part of a course or seminar. The application of this training is the personal decision of the podiatrist.
We are convinced we have at our grasp an understanding of the horse’s nature, which allows us to be open and integrate new information. One of our founding values that enable continues growth is this impulse towards integrating knowledge gained by other professionals.
Is the F-Balance project just a business opportunity for a few?
No. The project was developed with the aim of helping all parties involved to make a profit, i.e. each person applying, teaching or supervising hoof trimming in accordance to the concept. Even the horses benefit from it. The F-Balance academies as well as the certification levels have been designed bearing in mind the responsible transmission of the concept, which is easily and often misunderstood.