What Hoof Angle?

September 22, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Barefoot hoof, lateral view. Coronet band (1),...
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I was at a barn the other day and they had a new farrier come in and tell them that all the horses need to be at a specific hoof angle. I was asked “is this correct?” My short answer – NO

There is no specific hoof angle that every horse needs to be – the studies that have been done have shown that healthy hooves are seen at angles from 50 to 60 with the average being around 55. However that does not mean that every horse needs to be at a hoof angle of 55.

So what hoof angle should your horse be at?

hoof angle

The easiest way to see where the angle should be is to take a small 6 inch ruler and lay it along the front of the pastern. The ruler should be parallel to the front of the hoof. Then measure the hoof angle and that is where it should be :-)

The reason I gave you this way of determining is that hoof angle can change as the horse ages.

The problem with this method is that it does not take into account any abnormalities with the horse such as navicular disease or damaged ligaments/tendons. If the horse has dropped fetlocks then obviously it will not be appropriate to change the hoof angle to match that of the pastern.

Even with this small problem this method will provide the best information for the normal average horse and allow for a balanced healthy hoof.  If the front part of the hoof wall is not parallel to the pastern ask your farrier and/or your veterinarian if there is a reason why it is not.

Each horse has similar but different angles to their shoulder, fetlock, pastern and everything else in their body. No horse is exactly the same so there should not be an exact hoof angle that one needs to abide by when trimming your horse’s hoof.

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Laminitis (Founder) Article

May 27, 2008 by · Leave a Comment 

Laminitis is very painful so much so that a horse with it will barely be able to walk, and sometimes they will not be able to walk at all! For clarification, founder is a laminitis turned chronic. Laminitis is acute inflammation of the lamina which is the structures that holds the hoof to the coffin bone. One of the most famous recent cases is that of Barbaro, in which he had laminitis in his left hind foot due to breaking his ankle on the right hind leg. The pressure of having to stay standing on the left hind all the time caused the laminitis.

Today I found an extremely good very detailed article on laminitis –

Laminitis Attack: The First Line of Defense

My favorite statement in the article is the comment about having to work together as a team. This is so true the farrier and the veterinarian as well as the caretaker/owner need to be in communication with one another to work out the best treatment for the horse. It is essential so that the horse has a chance at recovery. I am such a strong believer in this team approach that I feel that not only should this be done for laminitis but for any disease or management process in regards to the horse’s health.

Back to the article I want to point out the three most important topics covered in the treatment of laminitis and these are –

  • Get Expert Help
  • Use of Pain Medication
  • Find the Cause

Check out the article, if you ever have to deal with this horrible disease you will be glad you did… Laminitis Attack: The First Line of Defense

Other laminitis information found on the web…

Laminitis : The Hidden Danger Of Pasture
New Bolton Center Fund for Laminitis Research Fund raiser
Laminitis & Founder
Laminitis Product Receives Award from Queen of England

Glue on Shoes – Big Brown has them

May 20, 2008 by · Leave a Comment 

Big Brown the Kentucky Derby Winner has a type of shoe that is glued on to the bottom of the hoof. Now you may ask yourself why glue instead of nails?

There are several reasons that glue on shoes are preferred for some horses even big horses like Big Brown.

  • Horses that have damaged hoof walls
  • Hoof walls that are thin
  • White line disease or hoof wall separation
  • Laminitis (Founder)
  • Coffin bone fractures
  • Even hooves that have been trimmed too short and are now sore

In Big Brown’s case he had hoof wall separation and an infection (abscess) in the foot. The glue on shoes helped him recover and recover quickly. So quickly, in fact that from January when he was laid off because of the problem, he was able to come back and win the Kentucky Derby. Now he has his eyes set on the Preakness. Let see if the glue on shoes help him win that one as well.

For more information about Big Brown’s glue on shoes check out –

Big Brown’s Feet Not So Bad, Farriers Say