The Balanced Equine Hoof
from PENZANCE Equine Solutions
2007 Gwenyth Browning Jones Santagate
All Rights Reserved.


Straight (almost) alignment from P2/P1 down to P2/P3 and dorsal hoofwall.


Hairline is "waved"; not a straight line down to the ground. This indicates a bit of excessive pressure in the quarter region. A slight rasping to arch the quarters would take care of that.

Dorsal hoofwall of this hoof is slightly more angled than the axis as evidenced from the green line compared to the red line.

2nd photo shows perfect wall/P2 angle. Heel angle is also optimal being just a tad lower than dorsal toe wall angle.

This shows a well balanced solar view of a front hoof. The issue I see with this hoof is the overly curved bars. Those will remediate as the hoof expands more and heals in a normal hoof. This hoof is a club but depicts good balance.

The heel noted at top of photo is slightly shorter in length than the heel at the bottom and should be brought back just a tad.

2nd photo shows a nicely balanced hoof with good sole callous (blue) and equally formed and sized heel bulbs. Good 1/3rd:2/3rd ratio of hoof form.



The dorsal wall (front wall - red line) angle should be the same as the periople angle (green line) and the heels should have a slightly lower angle than the dorsal toe wall.

Again, this hairline is waved and indicating pressure from somewhere in the quarter region.

Photo hard to see but this hoof is almost is about as perfect to being solarly balanced as any I've seen. Frogs are passive (when standing on ground the frog will just barely touch the ground. When loading, frog will have full, active pressure contact with the ground.)  Walls are of even height; heels even and leveled; collateral grooves even and indicating good balance of the CB.

Look at the central vertical line and the horizontal ones: horizontal across from start of hoof growth at the hairline on each side of the hoof and then one right across the level plane of the heels. You can see the smidgen of heel and wall that is higher on the left side of the photo. You can also see that the bulbs of the heel are not equal. A perfectly balanced hoof will be within the guidelines as drawn with no excess above the lines and the line at the new growth will be at right angles to the vertical and horizontally level.

2nd photo almost perfectly balanced.

This photo shows a very nicely arched quarter in a rear hoof.


These three mini photos to show horizontal leveleness. From the front of the hoof ... hairline is horizontal to level ground and the hoof sits squarely at the end of the limb. Solar view shows almost perfect balance with even heels and if the hoof were to be folded in half the two halves would superimpose one another.




Photos from left to right show:

1. Standing in back of the verticle indicating heel issues.

2. Standing in front of the verticle indicating toe issues.

3. Standing squarely on the verticle. (desired.)


Before Trim:                                               After Trim:



To the left is a quick sketch to show how from the front straight lines should be able to fall from the POS down through the center of the limb, and through the center of the hooves to the ground.



TOEING IN:      When a horse is toeing in look for the INSIDE walls to be higher than the outside or the INSIDE heels. If the wall on the inside looks to be OK, check the diagonal balance from the OUTSIDE heel to the INSIDE toe quarter.

TOEING OUT:      When a horse is toeing in look for the OUTSIDE walls to be higher than the inside or the OUTSIDE heels. If the wall on the outside look sto be OK, check the diagonal balance from the INSIDE heel to the OUTSIDE toe quarter.

IMPORTANT:  On horses that are conformationally pigeon-toed or toed out do NOT ATTEMPT TO CORRECT the angle of the hooves. You will cause damage to the hooves, the foot, the supportive tissues and the bony column. Simply trim the individual hoof in your hand to its own requirements.

WAVY HAIRLINE:    A wave (or arch) in the hairline indicates there is some sort of pressure from a point almost directly below the deformity. Mostly one will see this in the quarter region of the hoof and hairline indicating a possible need to check the BAR or check the arch to the quarters. Flat quarters will cause undue pressure to the hooves and won't allow the hoof to expand fully. Gradually arch the quarters with your rasp, walking the horse around between each rasping, to check for any corrections in the hairline. You WILL see the hairline relax and straighten when the pressure is released. HOWEVER ... DO NOT RASP THE QUARTER WALLS BELOW THE LEVEL OF THE SOLE. Simply follow the sole plane at the outermost region near the wall.

SHEARED HEELS:     Sheared heels are the result of long-standing imbalances to the hoof and should not be fooled with by an inexperienced person. If you are trimming your own horse's hooves and you notice the heels are beginning to shear, please call a skilled farrier or trimmer to correct the situation. Sheared heels can be considered a PATHOLOGY and not to be dealt with lightly.

Check back for more tips as they're added.

If you have questions on your own horse's hooves, please do not hesitate to write to me:
I will try to help or refer you to someone who can help you.

:) -- Gwen