Understanding the Equine Foot Part 1

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Well, I've been searching and thinking and trying to figure out what we can discuss that would best help YOU, the horse owner, trainer, even farrier and veterinarian or professional Hoofcare Provider this year, new year, 2018. 

I think we need to fill in some gaps ... 

We've discussed the parts of the hoof, their function, how they should be trimmed ... but we've never really gone over the FOOT of the horse. The foot, of course is what makes up the hoof ... and is the FOUNDATION of hoofcare in general. 

The FOOT is the inside of the hoof capsule. 

We all have heard that the capsule of the hoof should 'mirror' the horse's foot - inside BUT ... 

Do we all really KNOW what comprises the FOOT of the horse? 

I think that knowledge needs to be the very cornerstone of our mechanical care for hooves in terms of structure as well as the base of our understanding in the overall care of our horses' hooves. 


We've talked, also, about feeding the hooves as a base for soundness -- i.e. feeding the FOOT and we'll talk more on that as we go along. But let's get the foundation down pat before building any further. 

We all know if the foundation ain't solid then the house will fall - eventually, if not immediately. 

So I asked a friend of mine, Linda Harris, who has spent years learning exactly what makes up the FOOT of the hoof, the horse, if I may share her anatomical teachings to help Scoot Boot readers here. She agreed - so we will be embarking on a series of educational posts, coupled with Linda's videos, for the next few weeks. 

The better you know the INSIDE of the hoof, the better you will understand what is going on with the OUTSIDE of the hoof - the capsule

These videos are invaluable for the laymen, as well as the professionals, alike. 

Discussions can be held below concerning the contents of the videos ... I will be monitoring closely and will answer any questions you might have as soon as I can. 

Some of the first videos may be elementary to some; some of the information may be totally foreign to some. And some in between. Where ever you are, whatever you've learned, I guarantee there is more to learn!  

WARNING --  the illustrations in the video are graphic ... this is fair warning. You will see actual dissections of the horse hoof showing the FOOT and its parts. 

This is, essentially, a course in UnderstandingThe Equine Foot. 

I hope you enjoy. And, again, any questions, comments, etc can be posted below. 




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 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 20 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. You can email to Gwen -- gwen.santagate@gmail.com or telephone in the US (239)-573-9687. For further information please click here:  www.thepenzancehorse.com



  • Katie Danneman: April 15, 2018

    This is a really helpful video! Last year my filly was trimmed short from January through Sept. I though something was wrong, but even after getting a vet out (their comment was that she needed to grow out) the farrier assured me she has great feet, I will trim conservitively. After her trim in Sept., she went lame. The second vet came out and said her soles were really thin, and to put her on soft ground and let her grow. I had been using hoof boots on and off, but they rubbed her heel bulbs after several days. I was finally able to move her, but the ground wasn’t much better, she was just not being moved around in a herd. She went through 5 weeks with glue-on easy care shoes, and then back in and out of boots. The new farrier got ill, the boots were’nt fitting because her toes were squirting forward, and she had grown wall, but not sole, which made correcting the angle a problem (she had originally been trimmed so short she had not heel). Long story short, she is now in front shoes with a special pads and dental impression material wth a frog stimulator. We are hoping her digital cushion with come back, and with it more sole, and then we can see about going back barefoot. Her back feet still have no heel, am keeping her in boots when I work her on the ground, hoping to protect growth so that the angle can be fixed as she grows out now that she can weight her fronts better. What a nightmare!
    I will watch the rest of your videos! Thank you so much!

  • Gwenyth Santagate: April 03, 2018

    It is extremely interesting in the correlation between teeth and hooves. I’ve learned alot since learning about Balanced Equine Dentistry and will never go back to the ‘old’ traditional floating … and will NEVER use power floating again! :)

  • Gwenyth Santagate: April 03, 2018

    I usually allow 4 – 6 week trim cycles for most horses but it all depends on the individual horse, Jaime. If the hoof grows faster and needs rebalancing more often you may have to shorten your trim cycle. Others take longer and can go for longer periods of time. Generally speaking, however, its usually between 4 and 6 weeks.

    No shoes are required. Most do fine without them. :)

  • Jennie Housley: March 17, 2018

    I have numerous times seen our vet Tomas
    Teskey & my husband, Larry Housley address a club foot by taking a 5-6 foot long 2-4, have the club foot stand on the board with the majority of it out in front of the hoof, lift the opposite front leg and have someone gently and slowly lift on the front of the board. The horse will tell you when it is too much and you can drop the heel accordingly. Interesting enough, check out the incisor teeth on a club footed horse. They will also need to be addressed by an experienced equine dentist who understands the teeth, feet, body connection

  • Jaime Stevens: March 09, 2018

    We have a 3 yr old TW and her rt front hoof is club. How often should it be trimmed and should there be any special shoe, care etc. It doesn’t bother her at all. We have not started riding her because of the hoof. She is a sweetheart. Thank you for any input.

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