The Right Angle!


Last post I talked about that 45* angle that should be trimmed onto the hooves. I want to expand on that a bit to make sure that everyone understands what that 45* angle is!

There seems to be many who think that dubbing the toe with a 'right angle'/90* angle is the correct way to take care of long toes.


Let me explain ... when taking toes BACK, with the hoof on the stand as illustrated,

one WILL use the rasp at a 90* angle to the hoof wall. That takes the toes BACK. But then -- we don't just leave the hooves like that!  No, we want to bring the toes back then emulate how NATURE would trim.

I want you to imagine, if you will, the loading of the front hoof onto the ground and the lift off of that same hoof from the ground.

The heel strikes first ... usually just a TAD on the lateral (outside) heel, rolls quickly to weight center then the weight moves forward to the toe AT THE BREAKOVER ... at that point the hoof will be rising from the ground and there will be a bit of abrasive wear on the wall of the hoof. The toe of the hoof does NOT wear right across the toe ... that toe, that breakover area, will be slightly swiped over the ground at a 45* angle.

So let's clarify what that 45* angle is ... compared to a 90* angle.

We all know that 45* is 1/2 of 90* ... so that angle looks like this (blue lines)

The BLACK LINES designate that 90* angle that we use to bring the toe BACK.  The 45* angle designates that angle we use on the bottom, the solar, hoof wall from the white line out to the outermost edge of the hoof wall. 

So now let's see what that looks like when viewing the solar side (sole/bottom) of the hoof: 

Can y'all see that clearly?  The toe was brought BACK from the top at the 90* angle and then the wall was rasped from the white line out to the dorsal edge of the wall at a 45* angle. All that's left to do on that hoof is to simply 'soften' the wall a bit all round giving it a bit of a soft 'roll' to take off the sharp edge.

Here is another illustration showing the angle of the rasp (45* to the hoof wall): (again, 45* in blue. 90* black)

Can you see the 45* bevel here in this nicely trimmed hoof? And it is clear as to the thickness of the wall ... nice!  Not thinned at all by 'dubbing' the toe. Solid heel buttress; healthy frog and good concavity. This is one HEALTHY HOOF!

Now imagine, again ... how that hoof is wearing that angle as it lifts from the abrasive ground *naturally*.

THAT'S what we want to see in our *natural* trimming.

The following two photos shows hooves that have clearly been 'dubbed' at 90* wall angle.

This is NOT how nature trims hooves. If they were both finished with that 45* angle then they would have been much better off. But doing this, dubbing the toes, thins the wall and basically weakens the entire hoof and removes the outer hoof wall protection at the vulnerable white line. In the bottom photo of the frontal view one can see a crack at the ground level. This crack will continue to enlarge because the leverage of the weight bearing on the wall will simply continue to spread the crack apart. This hoof needs a solid 45* bevel to get that cracked wall off the ground at that point.

Not good. Not good at all.

Here is one more to show what your wall might look like after a proper 45* rasping:

Well, I hope this is helpful and clearly understood. There are far too many dubbed toes trottin' around these days! 

Trot on, Folks!  Keep trottin' on! 


Gwenyth Browning Jones Santagate is the world-renown author of "10 Secrets to Healthy Hooves" and "Natural Hoof Anthology" as well as a noted author for various international equine publications including The 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 NE Connecticut and continue to offer consults for horses in need. For further information please click here:

Gwenyth is available for freelance assignments, contract work and consulting.







Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published