Managing The Upright Hoof Capsule

Researchers offer insight into the fickle arches and how they change the hoof capsule

There is a common belief in the farriery world that the shape of the coffin bone, or P3, establishes the hoof capsule’s contour.

That’s not entirely accurate, according to research focusing on the upright hoof capsule that was conducted by Michael Savoldi and G.F. Rosenberg.

“Although this is partially correct, it plays a minor role,” says Savoldi, director of the Equine Research Center in Shandon, Calif. “The more liquid structures within the hoof contribute far more to the overall shape of the hoof capsule.”

These liquid structures — or arches, as Savoldi and Rosenberg refer to them — support the coffin bone, which rotates around the arches.

“It is the combination of the shape of P3,” Savoldi says, “and the shape of the arches that determine the shape of the hoof capsule.”

Yet, the makeup of both the arches and the coffin bone dictate how those changes occur and how quickly.

“The shape of the arches, being much more malleable and subject to rapid change than P3, is the major factor in determining the shape of the capsule,” he says. “P3 remodels continuously from both internal and external forces, but these changes are slow and more gradual.”

Although the arches have a greater influence on changes to the hoof capsule, the results of changes to the arches are less certain.

“It is unclear to what extent morphology to P3 and the exterior capsule is caused by change to the arches,” Savoldi says, “and to what extent the progression might be…

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Jeff cota 2023

Jeff Cota

Jeff Cota has been a writer, photographer and editor with newspapers and magazines for 30 years. A native of Maine, he is the Lead Content Editor of American Farriers Journal.

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