So what shape are yours…?
Hoof structures can get bent out of shape for all sorts of reasons;
the hoof is compensating from a conformation issue, or an injury which is causing the horse to carry itself differently. This hoof is from a horse that has a ‘tipped’ pelvis which causes her to drag her left hind. You can see how the toe is dubbed (shorter & rounder) than normal.
Infection or mechanical pressures are forcing it to grow in a certain way. This chap has lovely strong feet, but a tendency for the walls to flare as they grow. Flaring seems pretty trivial but actually it can indicate some pretty serious underlying problems….
This is the same foot, cleaned up and looking at the inside wall
As you can see there is some pretty serious bruising, indicating that something untoward is happening with the laminae (that grow hoof wall) in that area.
Conditions such as laminitis are changing how the hoof grows. This little chap has had laminitis in the past and his toes have grow much faster than his heels, which creates this ‘slipper’ shape to his feet.
There are some terms to do with capsule shift and balance that are useful for describing whats happening with a horses feet.
Hopefully these diagrams might help you visualise what’s going on with the shape of your horses hoof – flare, underun heels, long toes, boxy feet are all examples of a hoof capsule that either isn’t balanced, or is growing in a distorted way. The good news is that in many cases the hoof can be encouraged to grow more correctly & your horses comfort and way of going improved at the same time.
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