Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Hoof angles

I was inspired to do this post by Kristen over at Sweet Horse's Breath, she asked about hoof angles which is something I have an opinion about (of course, right?).

I realized that I've posted a lot of sole shots of the Quarters' hooves but I haven't shown much of the top side. The reason for that is I believe if the sole of a hoof looks good then the top of the hoof usually looks pretty good too. But it has finally occurred to me that most people look at the casing of the hoof instead of the sole- and that's where the angles come in.

There's only one angle in the hoof that I really care about- the hairline angle. It should be around 30 degrees from the ground and it should be straight. If it's horizontal to the ground, curved around the heel, or is lumpy and bumpy you've got problems. If the hairline angle is around 30 degrees, you can be reasonably assured that the coffin bone is in the correct position inside the hoof.

I care very little about the toe angle. I know that many farriers go on about how the toe should always be around 55 degrees, but I don't go for that -because the toe LIES. If there's any degree of separation in the lamina that toe will stretch and the angle will grow shallow. If all you're looking at is that angle you end up letting the heels get higher and higher as you try to keep that angle at the toe. If you do that for long enough you end up with a lame horse at best and a foundered one at worst.

I feel about the same about the heel angle. If the heel is underrun the hairline angle will tell you anyway. If the heel is too high, the hairline angle will tell you that too.

Anyway, time to put my money where my mouth is:
Gwen's left fore
Gwen's right fore
Gwen's left hind
Gwen's right hind
Keep in mind that my horses have classic hi/lo front feet because they have terrible posture. They both stand with the left fore back that makes it clubby and the right foot forward which makes it want to splay out. Hopefully as I get further along in their training, lateral work will take care of this problem.

Coriander left fore
Coriander right fore
Coriander left hind
Coriander right hind
Are they perfect? No. Because of the crazy weather we've had the grass sugars have been all over the place, we had an especially bad spike this spring and many horses had acute laminitis attacks because of it. Fortunately, neither one of my horses was lame from it but they were still affected.

Despite that, Coriander is trot-on-gravel sound and Gwen has never acknowledged the existence of gravel. She has Chuck Norris hooves: She doesn't need to watch out for rocks, rocks need to watch out for her.

Thoughts? Questions? Concerns?