Researchers in Spain studied the hoof conformation of Catalan Pyrenean horses raised in a semi-feral environment to describe their size, shape and bilateral symmetry. The horses, which were bred for meat production, live in a harsh, rocky, mountainous environment and receive no hoof care.
The hooves were obtained from 32 horses following slaughter. All were about 1 year old, appeared healthy, sound and weighed about 800 lbs. Hooves with obvious hoof-wall defects, such as avulsions, were excluded from the study.
The solar margins of each hoof were traced on paper. These were scanned and measured using an image analysis software package to obtain length, width and area of the sole.
There were no significant differences between left and right front or hind hooves, however the width and area of the front hooves were greater compared to the hind hooves.
On average, front hooves measured about 12 centimeters in length and 13 centimeters wide, while hind hooves were about 12 centimeters in length and width. The typical surface area of front hooves was about 133 square centimeters and the hind hooves were about 122 square centimeters.
While the symmetry seen in this study suggests the horses show no obvious laterality, it would also be interesting to examine other measures of hoof shapes such as hoof angle as well as looking at biaxial symmetry of the solar surface.
— Casanova et al. JEVS 2012;32:231-234.