Defining The Hoof Quarters

The prevalence of caudal foot problems leads Hall Of Fame farrier to spell out the critical, yet elusive, description

The front half of a horse’s hoof has been the center of trimming and shoeing discussions for quite some time. Specifically, finding the ideal breakover point has been the focus of countless conversations and endless training.

Lafayette, Ind., farrier Danvers Child points out that the vast majority of hoof issues occur in the back half of the foot, not the front.

Founder, seedy toe and toe cracks are the most significant issues in the front half of the foot. There’s a litany of maladies that can happen in the back half of the hoof, including collapsed heels, underrun heels, quarter cracks, heel cracks and bar cracks, among others.

Farrier Takeaways

  • The breakover point and the front half of the hoof have dominated
    trimming and shoeing practices. However, most problems occur in
    the caudal area of the hoof.
  • A clearer definition of the quarters emphasizes why the caudal area,
    not the front, is most important.
  • Literature doesn’t clearly define the quarters. Lafayette, Ind., farrier
    Danvers Child defines the quarters as a percentage or a fraction of
    the whole hoof.

Since a greater number of situations can arise in the back half, it stands to reason that this should be the focus of trimming and shoeing practices, rather than the front half. One challenge is that no clear definition of the quarters exists.

The perennially popular The Principles of Horseshoeing (P3) by Doug and Jacob Butler doesn’t include a definition for quarters.

“They talk about false quarters and quarter cracks and things…

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Katie navarra

Katie Navarra

Katie Navarra is a freelance writer who draws from her experiences owning and showing horses, and inter­viewing the industry’s leading pro­fessionals.

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