What Hoof Angle?
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?
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.