A hoof in balance is a good place to start which means the hoof has correct medial lateral balance as well as correct anterior posterior balance, correct and even heel height, adequate height to the entire hoof capsule (also referred to as toe height), bars trimmed correctly so they support weight bearing and prevent collapse of the hoof capsule without overlaying the sole or pressing up into the hoof capsule, correct toe length and walls trimmed so the laminae are not being stretched, a healthy frog which shares in weight bearing under load but does not stand above the hoof wall.  Any of these parts without all of them does not yield a balanced or healthy hoof.

A hoof in balance is able to dissipate load upon weight bearing equally throughout the hoof. This is significant in maintaining the health of internal structures of the hoof. As soon as any imbalance is present, gravity begins to have an effect. This weight bearing I’m speaking of is significant enough with the horse standing at rest.  It is however, magnified when we ask for a walk, trot, canter, gallop and of course jumping.

A hoof also must have plenty of movement in order to be healthy.  Movement – and lots of it, facilitates the desired tone in the digital cushion which facilitates a healthy back of the hoof.


A Hind Hoof:  Anatomical Landmarks from the outside of the hoof capsule.



Anatomical landmarks from the underside of the hoof.



This is a model of the vasculature of the hoof. The hoof is a very highly vascular structure.

DSCN2303 DSCN2305crop


Note how the extensor process of the coffin bone (P3) sits at the level of the coronary band?  This requires adequate height of the hoof capsule as well as a good lamina connection top to bottom in the hoof capsule.


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