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A Guide to Your Horse's Hoof Health

The hoof is one of the most important parts of the horse’s body and the adage, ‘no hoof no horse’ is an oft-used saying for good reason. 99% of lameness issues occur within the hoof so this is one part of the horse which owners really should become familiar with. https://content.horseright.com.au/horse-hoof-care


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Anatomy of a Horse Hoof

The hoof is a marvel of Mother Natures’ most ingenious design, a closed capsule containing bones, ligaments, tendons and blood vessels creating a small but powerful support structure which also facilitates locomotion and acts as a shock absorber. There are both insensitive and sensitive parts of the hoof which is why it can bear a horseshoe. There are one and a half bones within the hoof, the pedal bone which is the main one and the lower half of the short pastern above it. There is also a tiny bone behind the pedal bone called the navicular bone. The pedal bone is supported within the hoof by leaves of interlocking tissue called laminae which are both sensitive and insensitive. https://content.horseright.com.au/horse-hoof-care


The Key Parts of the Hoof Hoof Wall – the exterior of the hoof which provides a hard protective layer, it is made of keratin. It takes the horse around a year to grow an entirely new foot from the coronary band to the toe. Coronary Band also called the Coronet – this is the join of the horse’s skin and hair to the top part of the hoof and it is the point at which the horn is generated to form the hoof. Injuries to the coronary band will necessarily cause major disruption to horn growth which will be visible for months as it grows down the wall of the hoof Periople – this is the shiny outer layer on the wall of the hoof that looks like varnish. It helps to regulate the moisture content in the horn and is secreted from the perioplic ring which is above the coronet https://content.horseright.com.au/horse-hoof-care


Sole – the underside of the horse’s foot so visible when you pick the foot up. The visible outer sole is tough and insensitive, designed to protect the sensitive sole and other structures which sit beneath it in the hoof capsule. The sole should be slightly concave and is not designed to be weight bearing. In horses with flat feet, the sole does weight bear and this can cause different issues such as corns and bruising. A flat sole can be protected with rubber pads. Frog – a ‘V’ or triangular shaped area which is visible on the underside of the foot, the frog begins at the heel and extends to a point about halfway down the sole. The frog is designed to provide shock absorbency, offer grip and should weight bear and come into contact with the ground. Grooves along either side of the frog facilitate expansion when the frog makes ground contact. Ground contact is really important as this momentary pressure on the frog promotes the return of blood back up the horse’s leg https://content.horseright.com.au/horse-hoof-care


Sensitive Sole – this sits directly below the pedal bone and is protected by the tough outer sole Plantar Cushion – this can also be called, the Digital Cushion, and it is located between the pedal bone and the Deep Flexor Tendon. It is an elastic and fibrous pad that provides protection from concussion and helps to push the blood back up the horse’s leg Lateral cartilages – these are attached either side of the pedal bone and are designed to support and protect the coffin joint which is the joint between the short pastern and the pedal bone enclosed in the hoof capsule. They also have a role in absorbing concussion Laminae – leaves of interlocking tissue which attach to the hoof wall and link to the sensitive laminae supporting the pedal bone. The divide between the two types of laminae is visible as the junction of the white line on the sole of the foot https://content.horseright.com.au/horse-hoof-care

A Guide to Your Horse's Hoof Health  

The hoof is important to the general health of any horse. Find out what you can do to help your horse maintain healthy hooves. For more deta...

A Guide to Your Horse's Hoof Health  

The hoof is important to the general health of any horse. Find out what you can do to help your horse maintain healthy hooves. For more deta...

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