Are Your Hooves Balanced PART 2 - What I would do.

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Well, last week we did a wee observational on three sets of hooves. Go back to

and review. I'll post the original photos here, too. Plus photos to show how I would trim (approximation, of course) and give my reasoning. Several of you gave answers to what was going on in these hooves both here on Scoot Boots and over on Scoot Boots Facebook Page.

Check it out to see how those answers compare to what you would do, what I've illustrated and think needs to be done. Questions and comments are welcomed, of course!  


You can see here what needs to be trimmed. Long toes, remove the flare, heels a bit too high -- it is apparent, too, this hoof is in active laminitis as indicated by the rings on the hoof. The rings are still developing right at the coronary band so that tells me there is still insult going on. Taking this much hoof away needs to be done slowly - not all at once. 



On this hoof we see a curved hairline indicating pressure from below; we see heels that are growing faster than the toe and can see curved tubules down the hoofwall .. all indicative of previous long toe (flared as shown by tubules) and rehabbing laminitis (heel growing faster than toe but no active rings visible at coronary band.)  It is apparent that this hoof has been trimmed and is in the good hands of a knowledgeable hoofcare practitioner. 


This hoof has low heels - you can see that the point of contact with the ground on the heel needs to be brought back. The toe isn't too long and needs some tweaking. The red line indicates a broken pastern angle which correct trimming will resolve. Other than a bit of tweaking this hoof doesn't require the nit-picking that the other two might need. 

Being able to 'read' the hooves on your horse is important so you can be 'pro-active' in its care. Learning what healthy hooves look like and learning the correct parameters of the trim for your horse (not every horse is the same, remember!) can help you be the best 'voice' for your horse you can be. 

Can't say this enough .. no hoof-no horse. 

So, how did your evaluations of these 3 hooves compare to what I've observed?  Don't be shy -- let me know if you have questions or feel free to point out something that I may have missed. Evaluating from photos is not easy but can give general ideas of what might be happening. Always a good idea to keep regular photographic records of your horses' hooves "just in case".  


; Gwenyth Browning Jones Santagate is the best-selling author of 10 Secrets to Healthy Hooves as well as a noted author for various international equine publications includingThe Horses Hoof, Equine Wellness, Natural Horse Planet as well as a contributing author for the 2001 United States Federal Mounted Border Patrol Training Manual. For the last 37+ years, she has maintained healthy hooves with natural trimming on thousands of horses and specialized in pathological rehabilitation hoofcare for the last 18 years. She and her husband John keep a small herd of their own equine in SW Florida and continue to offer consults for horses in need. For further information please click here:   Gwenyth also offers an online home-study of Natural Hoofcare 101 ... please go here: to view information and to register. 





  • Claire Vale: June 29, 2017

    Interesting photos! Looking at Hoof C, I’d suspect a Negative Plane coffin bone (flat – to -tipped back, rather than slightly tipped forward), as evidenced by the steep angle of the coronet, and also possible Increased Distal Descent (coronet pushed up higher than ‘normal’ relative to the top of the coffin bone). I’d want to have a good look at the sole and palpate the pastern joints to confirm. If they are present, then it might be necessary to tweak trim with those things in mind, as and when the horse is ready. Keeping the toe well back as you’ve indicated would be a vital part of dealing with both.
    Depending on the cause, some body work might be needed in conjunction with good hoof care, diet etc to correct the NP. I’ve had excellent results in correcting Increased DD by offloading the walls entirely and keeping them that way for 4 – 6 months, thus allowing the coronet to ‘settle’ back down to a normal position, however this requires that the horse be sufficiently comfortable with taking all it’s weight on the soles, bar and frog which may mean waiting until those structures are strong enough, the environment is suitable, and/or appropriate boots / pads can be used.

  • Gwenyth Santagate: February 17, 2017

    You’re very welcome, Hana! I’m glad you enjoyed the read. :)

  • Hana: January 10, 2017

    Hi! Thank you for this article I think its really needed! Lots of riders just dont care about hoove shapes enough. Here its easyly explained and you show great examples. Thank you!

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