About Ross Smith Center of Balance Horseshoeing
Ross Smith is from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada and has been a farrier for 40 years. In March of 1988 he graduated from the Oklahoma State Horseshoeing School and has been making a living shoeing horses ever since, travelling the prairie provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, Canada.
Ross was fortunate to work with Bruce Langevin from Minneapolis/St. Paul area many years ago. He taught Ross a great deal about horseshoeing and how horses move, but the most important thing was that he needed "to learn to listen to the horse". A horse will "tell you everything you need to know about how to shoe him". How it moves, how it carries itself, the way it stands, the look in its eye are all the ways a horse will tell you, "I like what you did!". Bruce also taught him that if you make the horse happy, the owner will be happy, the trainer will be happy, then everybody will be happy.
Ross has always been an active seeker of knowledge. Horses and horseshoeing are his passions in life. He has tried many of the different horseshoeing techniques from barefoot shoeing, handmade shoes to bar shoes but has always found the simpler he could make his shoeing the better. His reputation as one of the best horseshoers in the area did not stop him from constantly striving to better himself. Listening to the horse has led him to where he is today and how he shoes horses. The invention of the Center of Balance Indicating Tool or COBIT is an extension of his "simpler is better" and "listening to the horse" philosophy of horseshoeing.
He reflects back to March 1988 when flying home from horseshoeing school in Oklahoma,"I thought to myself (I should) set a goal to raise the level of horseshoeing in the area where I live. I believe I accomplished that goal quite a few years ago. My next goal was to shoe or trim as many horses as I could, and to learn better ways to help them. Now that I am getting older, I cannot trim as many as I once did. My customers and friends are telling me that by sharing my Center of Balance Horseshoeing philosophy and the Center of Balance Indicating Tool (COBIT) I can help more horses than I ever have."
"My passion in life is to help horses. With the COBIT I can help more horses than I ever have."
Center of Balance
The center of balance is a very important area on the horse's foot that affects its feet, balance and health. It is truly remarkable how this small area affects the whole horse. Everything flows from the center of balance including breakover.
The center of balance in a horse's foot is where there are equal amounts of weight on either side of the balance point in the foot. That way when the horse steps down on the ground it has equal amount of foot in front and behind the balance point. When the weight of the horse is evenly distributed on the foot it allows the horse to balance correctly through the legs to the shoulders and throughout the rest of its body. As a result, the horse can move freely as it was designed.
Center of Balance Horseshoeing is to shoe or trim the horse in a way that there is an equal amount of foot, front and back of the center of balance. Neither the front nor the back of the leg will become overextended during the weight bearing stride of the hoof. This allows the horse to make its next stride with less effort and without overloading the rear portion of his foot and his leg. The leg will sink straight into the ground.
Ross and his Influences
It has been nearly 40 years since Ross first picked up a rasp to trim a horse's foot. That act started him on his lifelong journey to help horses. He has never stopped learning. Over the years there have been a few very influential veterinarians in his life. They have taught him, helped him and together they increased their knowledge of lameness. Here is Ross' story.
How it all began....Henry
"I started the research and designing of the COBIT in spring of 2016. The horse that started it all was named Henry who prompted my search for a better way to help horses with foot problems."