Veterinarians's Roundtable

Q: It appears that the trend for Rocky Mountain horses is to cut down the heels to achieve an angle of 48 degrees or less. We all know the type of ailments that long toe, low angles bring with them. What angle would you recommend?

A: I haven’t seen any changes with this breed or any other Mountain Horse in a long time. I certainly haven’t seen angles being lowered. That doesn’t mean it isn’t happening somewhere else.

I recommend that on the front hooves, the angle should be 50 to 52 degrees in most cases. On the back hooves, 52 to 55 degrees would be correct.

Taking the angle down to 48 degrees could invite problems. I wouldn’t do that; that’s too much.

In the Mountain Horse breeds, we have to be really careful with the long toe. It certainly can help give more “lift” in the front end, but you run the obvious risk of the long toe breaking off.

I believe the rule book calls for 4 inches maximum, and I have seen the measuring tape utilized at the show gate. Of course, if you just want a Daisy Clipper gait, less toe is fine and safer.

Dan Moore

Dan Moore

—Dan Moore, DVM Unicoi, Tenn.

A: This is a good question and a concern that we deal with on a regular basis at the clinic.

We typically take an individual approach to dealing with lower limb conformation and shoeing concerns in all breeds of horses. If there is…

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