Getting To The Bottom Of Toe Cracks

Understanding what causes the problem is critical to correcting it



Toe cracks come in different forms, but none of them look good.

Some cracks are small, others are long up the wall. Some are deep and others are superficial. All of us have heard, “Can you fix that crack?” Some can be corrected, but others will die with the horse. The biggest thing we must learn is what causes the crack in the first place. It’s just as important to know where it comes from as to where it’s going.

Crena Crack

The “crack” has several different originations. One that I encounter most often is a toe crack at the crena marginalis, or what I call a crena crack.

It’s imperative to understand the cause of toe cracks before trying to treat them ...

Farrier Takeaways

To prevent flares or distortions in the toe quarters from forming, keep them tidy when trimming by following the contours of the coffin.

A toe crack may persist if conformation, hoof wall integrity, environment and/or the laminar bond of the hoof capsule to the coffin bone are not addressed.

Using clips on each side of a toe crack will help prevent expansion and stabilize the area.

The crena marginalis is the mid-dorsal notch of the coffin bone. According to Doug Butler’s The Principles of Horseshoeing (P3), it’s a “normal notch in the toe called a toe stay. This is filled with horn and is thought to add stability to the hoof-bone by preventing the twisting of the bone within the hoof.” Not all coffin…

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Eric Gilleland CJF

Eric Gilleland has been shoeing horses of all disciplines for more than 20 years. He’s co-owner of Bent Tree Forge, a multi-farrier practice in Social Circle, Ga.

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