Hoof angles?
 
 

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Hoof angles?

This is a discussion on Hoof angles? within the Hoof Care forums, part of the Horse Health category
  • Ideal horse conformation
  • What are the angles of a horse's hoof

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  • 1 Post By Ray MacDonald
  • 1 Post By Ray MacDonald
  • 1 Post By loosie
  • 1 Post By sillyhorses

 
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    02-01-2013, 01:00 PM
  #1
Weanling
Hoof angles?

I'm not a blacksmith or farrier, and I have a generalized idea about "hoof angles". It is my understanding that some people (blacksmith/farriers, included) subscribe to the idea that all horses of "x" breed get "y" angle, whereas others subscribe to the idea that each horse gets their proper "angles" by a careful inspection/review of their conformation (especially where their cannon/fetlock/pastern come together).

Thoughts?

I have a horse who had a highly recommended farrier literally chop straight across the bottom of her foot - took her heels down super low. Before she was due for another trim (and could even get one, as he'd essentially made her flat-footed with no hoof growth left to "correct"), the shape of her foot had drastically changed. Her toes shot straight out (whereas before her toes grew more perpendicular to the ground), and her heels were basically non-existent.

Needless to say, we immediately contacted another blacksmith, who has been diligently working on my horse to get her heels back "up". We'll make some progress during the warmer months (when she is shod and isn't able to wear down her heel as much), then she drops back down within a month of pulling her shoes :/ It is looking like our only option is to keep her shod all winter, at least until she really develops a heel again. I don't like shoes in the winter around here, as we get lots of snow, ice, and then mud :/ Which poses a host of other problems.

I completely trust our current blacksmith, I just want to learn more about hoof angles myself. I know of a breeder who uses the guy who "whacked" my horse's feet to nothing, and they don't have a problem with the guy and the angles - they just tell him what to do and he does it the way they say to. I feel like, for my horse's sake (and the sake of those in my keep), I should know what (specifically) to say if I see a problem occuring. Not that I want to be a blacksmith/farrier... just, a basic, sound knowledge would be helpful. I don't want to be the person who tells the specialist how to do their job - I just want to be more prepared to recognize a poor job before it gets too far gone.
     
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    02-01-2013, 01:05 PM
  #2
Weanling
Sorry if this post is confusing. When I look at a horse's foot, I'm able to look at it and recognize whether or not it is balanced and in proportion with the horse's conformation. I just don't know anything technical... I wouldn't look and be able to say "that horse's hoof is incorrect because..." and get it right (maybe sometimes, but probably not often). In my horse's case, I didn't realize at the time how drastically that one poor trim would affect her hoof and the way that it grew! Live and learn.
     
    02-01-2013, 01:31 PM
  #3
Green Broke
You should be able to draw a line straight down the middle of the leg down to the ground and should meet up with the back of the hoof. I will see if I can find a picture...
sillyhorses likes this.
     
    02-01-2013, 01:34 PM
  #4
Green Broke



The way you farrier trims your horse will change the anatomy of the leg.
loosie likes this.
     
    02-02-2013, 04:20 AM
  #5
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by sillyhorses    
subscribe to the idea that all horses of "x" breed get "y" angle, whereas others subscribe to the idea that each horse gets their proper "angles" by a careful inspection/review of their conformation (especially where their cannon/fetlock/pastern come together).
I am of the second 'ilk'. I believe all horses & all their hooves(none of us are perfectly symmetrical) are individual & should be treated as such. There are many reasons why a horse may want to be trimmed in a particular way, with regard to angles & balance, that may go against the 'ideals'. So saying, it's important to understand the principles behind the 'rules' & in addition to Ray's pics, I've found e-hoofcare.com to have some good objective descriptions & pics to further explain the concept of hoof balance.

Quote:
I have a horse who had a highly recommended farrier literally chop straight across the bottom of her foot
Can't comment at all about a specific situation & horse, at least without good pics to give an idea, but general thoughts.... Regardless of how high, low or otherwise the horse may need their heels, I believe it's important to respect the sole plane & not allow the walls to overgrow the sole substantially or to trim the heels(or any wall) so low as to invade live sole. This should also prevent changing 'incorrect' angles so suddenly & drastically as to cause problems. As a rule, horses should have quite short, low heels(compared to what is often seen) & the frog should be level with heel buttresses. It's possible that the farrier in question took the heels down appropriately but didn't address the toes appropriately.

Quote:
and her heels were basically non-existent.
With respect, you may of course be right, but many people don't realise how low & short a horse's heels should be, or even are(including some farriers). I've heard so many people talk about their horse's lack of heel growth, when the horse has ultra long but crushed forward heels for eg.

Quote:
been diligently working on my horse to get her heels back "up". We'll make some progress during the warmer months (when she is shod and isn't able to wear down her heel as much), then she drops back down within a month of pulling her shoes
If heels aren't being trimmed but are breaking away naturally when given half a chance, I'd hazard a guess that they want to be that short. Perhaps it's a problem of long toes rather than short heels?? But of course, without more info, only a guess.

If you'd like a critique & opinions of the horse in question, post some hoof & confo pix(see link in my signature below) & more info on management, work, etc. There are a number of experienced people here who can give you more 'food for thought'. Oh & it would be great to see pics fresh after a trim, before shoes & when she's been bare.

Quote:
I completely trust our current blacksmith, I just want to learn more about hoof angles myself.
Good for you! I think owner education is SO important if we want the best for our horses. I absolutely respect & agree with your want to learn more. But in that regard, respectfully, if you don't understand what's what yourself & you completely trust your current professional, it's blind trust, which I don't think is for the best. Unfortunately there are no shortcuts to doing your own homework, reading & learning as objectively as possible - remember there are likely a range of pros & cons & different theories(with maybe little, maybe good science) behind every idea that is popular. To start you off, the other link in my signature below is a thread with some links to learn more.
Ray MacDonald likes this.
     
    02-02-2013, 12:02 PM
  #6
Weanling
Thanks the images, Ray! And the input, Loosie :)
My mare's heels used to be nice and in balance when you looked at her leg. Between the cruddy trim and the new blacksmith, her heels collapsed and tend to become run under - that one trim completely changed the way my horses front feet look and the way she moves. Oddly, the back hooves were easier to fix - I'm wondering if it is because she bears more weight up front (she is a big girl)?
I wish I had distinct before pictures, of her feet when they looked balanced in proportion to her conformation, what they looked like immediately following the bad trim, and the ups and downs between then and now.
I think I forgot to mention that my horse was lame after the bad trim - he changed her angles so drastically that it strained the tendons in her front legs (in addition to severe bruising on her soles :( It took a few months with shoes on for her to be sound enough to work. He was still trimming a few horses at my farm during that time, and when I asked him about it, he said that he trims then to be flat footed because they need that pressure for proper circulation... After another horse came up lame (with strained tendons), allllll but one person quit using the guy :(
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Ray MacDonald likes this.
     
    02-02-2013, 12:17 PM
  #7
Weanling
Also - Loosie, I'm going to check into sending pics of my horse to that site!
Posted via Mobile Device
     
    02-02-2013, 06:46 PM
  #8
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by sillyhorses    
Also - Loosie, I'm going to check into sending pics of my horse to that site!
Posted via Mobile Device
That link is just a page of a site I found that I thought particularly good at explaining/showing what's required for good hoof critique pix. Send your pix here to the forum, is what I meant.

Quote:
Between the cruddy trim and the new blacksmith, her heels collapsed and tend to become run under - that one trim completely changed the way my horses front feet look and the way she moves. Oddly, the back hooves were easier to fix - I'm wondering if it is because she bears more weight up front
If her heels are underrun, they're being left too long & it's more than likely so are the toes. It is possible that your mare was having problems that weren't noticed until that trim, which could have been a coincidence, or just brought everything to a head. But again, if he changed things so drastically, whether or not that was ultimately more 'ideal' for her, this can indeed happen if done too quickly.

Yes, they use their back feet differently & they're often healthier because of it.

What you term a 'flat foot' may be just that he trimmed walls to level with the outer sole. This(generally) is indeed about where the walls should be - sharing but not taking the entire load. Peripheral loading, by forcing the walls to bear the weight and not providing any support under the foot can indeed reduce circulation, among other things. If the horse has weak, thin soles though, protection *for the soles* may well be necessary though.
     
    02-02-2013, 07:04 PM
  #9
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by sillyhorses    
Also - Loosie, I'm going to check into sending pics of my horse to that site!
Posted via Mobile Device
That link is just a page of a site I found that I thought particularly good at explaining/showing what's required for good hoof critique pix. Send your pix here to the forum, is what I meant.

Quote:
Between the cruddy trim and the new blacksmith, her heels collapsed and tend to become run under - that one trim completely changed the way my horses front feet look and the way she moves. Oddly, the back hooves were easier to fix - I'm wondering if it is because she bears more weight up front
If her heels are underrun, they're being left too long & it's more than likely so are the toes. It is possible that your mare was having problems that weren't noticed until that trim, which could have been a coincidence, or just brought everything to a head. But again, if he changed things so drastically, whether or not that was ultimately more 'ideal' for her, this can indeed happen if done too quickly.

Yes, they use their back feet differently & they're often healthier because of it.

What you term a 'flat foot' may be just that he trimmed walls to level with the outer sole. This(generally) is indeed about where the walls should be - sharing but not taking the entire load. Peripheral loading, by forcing the walls to bear the weight and not providing any support under the foot can indeed reduce circulation, among other things. If the horse has weak, thin soles though, protection *for the soles* may well be necessary though.
     

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