Understanding how your horse moves and understanding the impact of hoof abnormalities can help you better care for your horse.

The horse, like us are supposed to walk heel to toe.  As the horse steps down, they first land on the heel, the harmonic groove (in the quarter area) should move downward to meet the ground and absorb impact and finally the horse breaks over their toe, grabbing the footing to gain traction and propelling them self forward.

One of the most common problems I seem to see when I am out trimming is long rolled in heels. This creates a poor landing spot for the horse’s foot and can cause pain and bruising inside the hoof capsule.  If you are wondering what a long heeled hoof looks like here is an example:

long heel

Not only does this cause problems in the hoof capsule, but also further up the leg.  For any humans who have worn high heels on a night out, I’m sure you can relate to how uncomfortable it can become when your feet force your whole body out of line.

Further, if heels are left long and begin to to contract or roll in, it can increase a horse’s chances of suffering from navicular disease.  This disease is characterized through pain or lameness originating from the navicular bone.  The first indication of a problem with the navicular bone is that the horse will stand forward at the knee and will not fully straighten its leg standing or in motion.  When heels are left long, it will amplify this leg position and the associated pain.  Navicular is often prevented or managed with correct and regular trims!

Keeping your horse’s hooves healthy, helps them walk, trot or gallop correctly keep both horse and rider happy!

For more information about helping keep your horse’s hooves in good health check out some of my other articles:

Common Hoof Ailments

When does my horse need a trim?

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