Improve Recognition of Hoof Distortion by Drawing One

Graphing exercise can help farriers improve their trim


When it comes to horses’ feet, we know that they are constantly growing forward. With that in mind, we need to have an idea of where we are going when we trim a foot. Everyone can visualize a foot in their head. What are you used to seeing? Is the foot symmetrical? Is it proportional?

When I started to practice drawing a non-distorted foot, I would still end up having a fair amount of distortion in my drawing. At first, I would begin drawing my feet at the toe. However, when starting my drawing at the dimple, which is the most caudal aspect to the central sulcus, this allowed me to begin from a known static reference.


Gain more insight on equine hoof capsule and frog distortion, as well as Chris Niclas’ drawing a non-distorted foot from the solar aspect by:

  • Downloading an illustration grid so you can draw your own foot.
  • Watching a demonstration video of how Niclas draws a non-distorted a foot.
  • Downloading the Equine Lameness Prevention Organization’s Hoof Evaluation Protocol and its full-color chart on identifying hoof and frog distortions.

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While attending the International Lameness Prevention Conference, an event organized in Denver, Colo., by the Equine Lameness Prevention Organization, I explained the process of drawing a non-distorted hoof from the solar aspect using the ELPO Hoof Evaluation Protocol. It has continued to help train my eyes how to see and read the tissues of a horse’s foot. The hoof…

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Chrisniclas 1

Chris Niclas

Chris Niclas, RJF, CLS a farrier in Se­quim, Wash., is vice president of the Equine Lameness Pre­vention Organization.

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