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Richard Mansmann says there are no easy answers as to what makes up a healthy hoof. As a result, the International Equine Veterinarians Hall Of Fame member from Raleigh, N.C., has come up with a list of ideas that could be used for agreeing on what are healthy hooves: Front and hind feet should mirror their opposite, the anterior hoof wall should run parallel to the anterior surface of the coffin bone, the sole plane angles should be positive, thin soles are detrimental to soundness and the hind feet have a greater hoof angle than front feet.
A study conducted by the Animal Health Trust in Newmarket, England, suggests there may be a relationship between the shape of horses’ hooves and the state of soundness. In this experiment, researchers measured and analyzed the shape of the front hooves of 25 sound horses as well as 427 hooves from lame horses.
With horses showing lameness in one foot, the hoof was taller and more upright than the hoof in 20% of the sound horses. The hooves also had a longer toe and a lower, more collapsed heel than 10% of the sound horses. Chronically lame horses tended to have divergent growth rings and non-parallel alignment of horn tubules.
Have you ever wondered about the notch in the mid-toe area in the white line region that serves as…