Hoof Problems

This page is under construction but I have published this page as it may help some of the horses out there sooner rather than later.

The horses hoof is very complex.  It needs to be able to expand and contract, draw flat on landing, have access to water daily and have the correct angles etc to function properly.  It helps pump the blood round to the heart.

When you have shoes on a horse the foot can no longer contract and expand so you lose 60% to 80% of the shock absorbancy which causes lameness problems.

Shoes cause contraction of the foot and if a horse is shod from a young age it is the same as footbinding in old China and causes deformed feet which cannot grow properly.  Most racehorses are shod very young and they have numerous problems with their feet and legs.

You should be able to hang a plumbline from the horses shoulder down the leg to the ground.   It should be straight all the way down, if it is behind the vertical it means the horse has heel pain,  if its in front of the vertical it means it has toe pain.   The amount of horses that are unnessecarily put down because of laminitis, pedal bone rotation, navicular and a whole host of other problems is scary and unnecessary.

In the wild horses live to 40 and 50, domesticated they are normally written off at 11 why?   Well in the wild they have to travel for food and water, so the foot is functioning all the time, contracting and expanding helping the body get rid of toxins and helping the heart and major organs function properly. When they have been domesticated most of the time they no longer get 24/7 turnout, they have shoes on, or they are pasture trimmed and the heels are too high and the toes too long, or the foot is contracted so that the foot cannot function properly which affects the whole body. In the wild they have 100’s if not 1000’s of acres to roam in, domesticated they get a paddock and food and water next to each other, they don’t need to travel as its all on tap. I suppose its like turning them into couch potatoes and footbinding them at the same time. Horses are the only animal to be able to walk with their feet anesthetised. There is so much to write on this subject but I will keep adding to this daily

Horses should be out 24/7 (under construction)

Laminitis (under construction)

Navicular (under construction) check back soon


Rugs, how many rugged horses do you see on wild horses.  Their bodies have a thermoregulatory system which works brilliantly.  What happens when a horse is rugged, is lets say for example, its legs are cold, so the horse heats up its legs, but with this its body also heats up, so now the body is too hot but the legs are just right.  The horse needs to be unrugged for this thermoregulatory system to work correctly. Even Thoroughbred’s will grow adequate coats if left to their own devices, mine do.  All you need is natural shelter, high hedges etc or a field shelter.

Horses should not use hardly any energy to stand if the feet are at the correct angles, if they are not the horse will have to use energy to stand.  Have you ever heard of some horses no matter what they are fed not putting weight on, try looking at their feet for the answers first.  You try standing on your tip toes even for a few minutes, you will feel the pull on the muscles, thus burning up needless energy.  Try walking on your tip toes for a few minutes, this is how a horse feels when its heels are too high, a common problem in this day and age.  Could you walk in these shoes?

High Heels

Horses can go barefoot, some just need a little more time than others to adjust.  The reason most horses go sore when the shoes are pulled is because when you have a shoe fixed on the foot it anesthetises the foot, especially when the heel is too high as the pedal bone is tipped forward pressing on the thin layer of corium so the pedal bone is not ground parallel, so this reduces blood flow to the corium.  Its like you trapping your finger in a door and the first thing you do is put pressure on it, as it reduces the blood flow so lessens the pain, you take off the pressure and it starts to hurt again, same with the horses.  Now the horse can feel its foot because the shoes have been removed and if  there is damage it will be able to feel it where as before it couldn’t because the foot was anesthetised.  Remove the cause and you will be amazed at the results, it may take time but isn’t it worth it to give your horse a longer, happier, pain free life.

Heel first landing.  Walk your horse and watch how its feet land.  They should land heel then toe (even flat landing is better than toe heel) but most domesticated horses land toe then heel, as usually the back of the foot is too painful to land on. This could be down to bars too long, heel too high, contracted heels etc.  Alot of times the toes are too long to, so that breakover is set too far back on the foot which causes the laminar to stretch with the pull on the hoof wall at the toe, which in turn weakens the connection from the hoof wall to the pedal bone. You will notice in a lot of cases the growth rings drop off at the heel, this tells you that the pedal bone is unstable and there are changes going on in the foot. I have attached some video that explains this well at the bottom of the page called the ‘laminar wedge’ this lady has some very interesting videos listed on Youtube.(under construction)

Flares on the hoof wall (under construction)

Correct Angles (under construction)

I have added these reference sites as I have found them very interesting.  I am not a Farrier or a Vet but have seen horses turned around from crippled to sound, dishing to not, box foot to normal foot, I think you get the picture.

Reference sites



http://www.thehorseshoof.com/ then go to barefoot stories/city of houston police horses go barefoot








Interesting videos



I hope that www.horsesanddogs.com has been a useful site for you.  Thankyou.