Stephen Oâ??Grady

An Equine Foot Form and Function Review

Hall Of Fame equine vet stresses importance of anatomical relationships during clinic

Stephen O’Grady, a member of the International Equine Veterinarian’s Hall Of Fame, discussed hoof care with members of the Wisconsin Association of Equine Practitioners at their fall clinic.

Stephen O’Grady, the International Equine Veterinarian Hall Of Fame member, who operates Northern Virginia Equine in Marshall, Va., shared a variety of ideas with attendees at the Wisconsin Equine Practitioners Association fall continuing education clinic, recently. O’Grady’s talk emphasized the importance of understanding the form and function of the equine foot in order to better understand the common lameness problems veterinarians and farriers encounter.

Here are some of the highlights of his presentation, taken from his comments as well as handouts.


  • The equine foot is unique. It is a biological entity that follows the laws of biomechanics. It has numerous functions. It supports the weight of the horse, dissipates the energy of impact as the hoof strikes the ground and protects the structures contained within the hoof


  • The distal end of the second phalanx, the distal phalanx and the navicular bone are enclosed within the hoof capsule. The distal end of the second phalanx and the hoof capsule along with the structures enclosed within, are referred to as the foot. The distal interphalangeal join is formed by the middle phalanx, the distal phalanx and the navicular bone.
  • When considering causes of lameness in the distal limb, there are only so many structures in the foot and there are only so many pathological processes that may occur in each structure: degenerative…
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Pat tearney

Pat Tearney

Pat Tearney is a long-term newspaper and magazine veteran writer and editor. Before retiring, he served for a number of years on the American Farriers Journal staff and continues to share his writing talents with our readers.

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