Case Study - Jiggles

Jiggles is a 12 year old Quarter Horse mare owned by the Janssens. She was purchased in 2019 for their son to use at the feedlot where he works. She has a history of founder and was recently diagnosed with the onset of navicular by Dr. Ferguson of Peak Veterinary Health. It was then suggested that Ross review her case and apply the Center of Balance Indicating Tool to her feet and shoe accordingly.

When Jiggles first arrived at the Janssens they started her on her journey of healthier feet. They began by putting shoes on her with pads, as she was walking on the soles of her feet. The shoes would not hold up to being nailed on, so there were a lot of ripped off nails and shoes, as there was no support. It was about eight months before the hind feet were healthy. It took about a year and half, to the summer of 2021, to get her "standing up" again, by changing the angles. They did not take any X-rays, so the farrier did not have any reference points.

Jiggles continues to work at the feedlot and participates in team and ranch roping. In October 2021 the Janssen's started to prepare her for becoming a cutting horse in hopes of entering competitions in 2022.

Information from the Janssen's prior to December 2021 session

Jiggles at her first trim December 2021

Summer of 2021

Sept 2021 Ranch Roping

Ross Smith and Dr. Laura Baron Introduction to Jiggles

December 18, 2021 Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan

Jiggles was first seen December 18, 2021 by Ross Smith of Ross Smith Center of Balance Horseshoeing. In attendance was owner Jeff Janssen, Dr. Laura Ferguson D.V.M. Peak Veterinary Health of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan and Lars Baron - farrier, Team Member Ross Smith Center of Balance Horseshoeing.

Jiggles with clip horseshoes to help keep the shoes on her feet. 12:57 pm

Jiggles feet prior to work being done. 12:58 pm

Right front foot being X-rayed from side with original shoes on by Dr. Laura Ferguson. 1:35 pm

Right front foot being X-rayed from the front with original shoes on by Dr. Ferguson 1:37pm

Dr. Ferguson putting the COBIT on LEFT front leg with shoe on, Ross checking balance and explains the marks 1:43pm

Dr. Ferguson marking the RIGHT front leg with shoe on , Ross explaining the marks from the COBIT 1:48pm

X- raying left front leg 1:57 pm

Discussion of Palmer Angle 2:15pm


Jiggles feet being X-rayed again without shoes 2:39 pm

"The horse will tell you everything you need to know" Ross Smith

What the X-rays show

Ross's discussion applies to both right and left foot. Before X-rays are with Jiggles original shoes. The After X-rays are with her new shoes by Ross.

Right Front BEFORE COBIT applied

What Ross sees when looking at the BEFORE X-rays compared to the AFTER X-rays is that the distance of the tip of the coffin bone to the front of the shoe is quite different from the Before to the After X-ray. In the After X-ray BREAKOVER was brought back towards the point of the coffin bone which in the Before X-ray is quite far forward.

If you look at the heels of the shoe in the Before X-ray to the rear of the coffin bone then at the After X-ray you will see how much farther behind the rear of the coffin bone the shoe extends. By finding the center of balance with the COBIT and moving the shoe back, the shoe is more underneath and centered with the coffin bone.

If you look at the right foot Before X-ray there is a little white square right above the shoe which is actually the head of a nail that has been taped on the center of balance of the horse's foot.

Right Front AFTER COBIT applied

The nail in the X-ray shows the center of balance to the viewer as found by the COBIT. If you notice where the shoe is in relation to the center of balance in both X-rays you will see there is probably twice as much or more foot to the front than there is to the back in the Before X-ray. In the After X-ray the head of the nail is actually behind the nails that holds the shoe that Ross added. That is where the center of balance is and if you look, there is slightly more shoe to the rear of the center of balance that than there is to the front.

That is what we are trying to achieve.

You will also notice that in the Before X-ray the shoe is actually stituated out in front of the bone column compared to the After X-ray where the shoe is now underneath the bone column.

Left front BEFORE COBIT applied

Left front AFTER COBIT applied


Shaping the shoe to Jiggles foot - it requires a very broad toed shoe 2:30 pm

Trimming the foot for a broad toed shoe 2:58 pm


New shoes for Jiggles 3:11 pm

Discussion of measurements and Jiggles reactions

Observations by Owner

Just about an hour after the changes were been made and what I noticed was that she (Jiggles) was standing underneath herself. Previously, she would stand stretched out. Now she stands straight up. I am noticing little things like when you pick up her feet they come up so much easier. Generally, she is just carrying herself flatter and looks more relaxed

Looking forward to seeing how things go!

owner Jeff Janssen December 18, 2021

from video recording December 18, 2021


Jiggles at 3:30 pm has been resting for a while getting used to the new feeling of being balanced and different shoes. Notice her legs are now under her body

Dr. Baron and Ross discuss next steps for Jiggles

The horse will tell you everything you need to know."Ross Smith"

A time lapsed video of Jiggles experiencing the effects of the Center of Balance Indicating Tool. Relaxation, yawning, body shakes, licking the lips, softer eye, calmer, feet underneath the body are all signs that she is feeling better. Depending on the horse and severity of the issue it can be very dramatic. Jiggles did a lot of yawning and licking her lips. She told us how she felt!

February 3, 2022 Peak Veterinary Health, Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan - Second Shoeing

Jiggles is working at the feedlot, is a sweetheart on the ground, has lots of go and is always willing. Her feet were always so so. Our farrier did a great job keeping her comfortable and getting all separation out of her hoof wall. It took two years but she finally had some sole. Once Jeff decided he was going to refine her for cutting horse competitions, we decided to get X-rays, so we could be sure we were doing what was best for her present and future.

It isn't just her feet that have improved since December 2021. Her whole demeanor is different. She is more willing to be caught in the pen, runs with the other horses more and just overall, uses her body differently. No more camping out and tip toeing.

We notice now when we put the horses out to pasture that they when all tear out she goes with them. Before she would not. She was always limited to fast trot and would never run and or open up. Now she will go straight out no problem. She is flowing now, much lighter on her feet. She definitely is feeling better!

Our son still uses Jiggles for the odd team penning and ranch roping. Jeff hopes to get her into the roping box this summer (2022) for some practice to see what she can do. Jiggles is part of our herd and is here to stay. She is such a good girl.

Tanya Janssen February 15, 2022

Ross' comments on Jiggles

February 3rd, 2022 was the second shoeing for Jiggles. Before starting any work on Jiggles he took an overall assessment of her. What he observed was that she was standing alot better. Her topline changed in December 2021 during her first shoeing and had stayed the same. She was standing with her legs underneath her and looked comfortable. When the shoes were taken off and Ross completed the initial trim he commented that he did not trim as much off her feet as he did in December 2021.

We met Jiggles and Tanya Janssen at at Peak Veterinary Health in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan so Dr. Laura Baron could take X-rays of Jiggles feet when needed. We were then able to see right away what changes had occurred in Jiggles feet since December 18, 2021.

Thankyou to Peak Veterinary Health for allowing us to come and use their new facility!

Ross explaining the COBIT of Center of Balance Indicating Tool to Veterinary Technician Theresa of Peak Veterinary Health. 12:36pm

Explaining the markings of the COBIT and what it all means. 12:37 pm

Jiggles waiting patiently for everything to happen. 12:46 pm

Veterinary Technician Theresa putting the COBIT on for the first time. 12:51pm

Taking X-ray of Jiggles right front leg with shoe on. 1:00pm

Dr. Baron examining the X-ray. 1:01pm

Putting on the COBIT

Ross putting the COBIT on the right front foot, balances, marks it.

1:53 pm

Using the ruler

Ross using the ruler with explanation as to why it can be important to know measurements 2:02pm

Jiggles is such a patient horse. A joy to work with! 1:11 pm

Ross putting on small nail head with tape on the center of balance so it can be seen when X-raying the foot 1:27 pm

Left front foot being X-rayed with no shoe on 1:27 pm

Groupwork to X-ray right front foot. 1:28 PM

Viewing left front foot X-ray 1:32 pm

Dr. Baron, Dr. Buyer and Ross discussing what they are seeing on the X-ray. 1:43 pm

X-raying the back right hind foot 1:59 pm

Front feet - just waiting for shoes! 2:02 pm

Putting on a broad toed shoe on Jiggles right front hoof 2:18 pm

Finishing rasp on left front foot after shoes added 2:21 pm

This video shows how to put the COBIT on the hind feet.

February 2022 X-Rays

Right Front

Right front foot with shoe on. Both X-rays showing improvement of bone column alignment over the center of the weight bearing surfaces or shoe with correct breakover.

Left Front

Left front foot with shoe on.

April, 2022, Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan - Third Shoeing

April 2022 was Jiggles third shoeing. Again, reviewing her overall look, posture and demeanor I observed that Jiggles looked happy and comfortable. I was told that she had won ribbons in her first Cutting Horse Competition the previous weekend.

Breakover in her front feet was about 1/4 inch back which is a basic reset. Her feet have changed dramatically and were good and solid. Now it is all about general maintenaince for Jiggles. Regular scheduled farrier work with the COBIT will keep her sound and happy.

Ross Smith