About this Blog

Meet my very 1st horse, Lazarus.
I couldn't wait for Santa anymore or ask one more time for a pony for my bday (after age 30 it got embarrassing). I took matters in my own hands and I finally decided to pick a pony that needed a new home. Laz found me as I contemplated with this idea. He was sweet yet very sassy, fresh off the track, Thoroughbred (OTTB).
Join us for our re-training, rehabbing from laminitis and testing all parts of mixed up horsemanship and partnership, and luck...

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Hoof thoughts -toe first landings, angles and promoting proper new growth

The more I learn about hooves, barefoot, rehab and lameness, I more I feel confused and exhilarated with new thoughts, concepts.
The hoof is complex, or is it?
The less we mess with it the better.  But if we create areas where our horses live on soft ground, how do they self trim? They can't so we need to help, if we can't offer that kind of footing.
There is a lot I know, a lot I don't, and much more that I'm learning...but sometimes, it's a daunting thought process wheeling through all the information, trials, successes and misinformation and helpful information that is out there.

I read about hoof pastern angles the other day over at Rockley, and thought, hmmm, what are Laz's like????

I am a designer for work and deal with angles all the time. 
It's such a delicate thing to compare angles. What line to what line? What degree?  I'm not sure that is always 100% clear for us barefoot owners, to go by. I feel that way, anyway. What is your horse's hoof has a flare? Are you drawing an angle from the ground up or ground down-where is the starting point to ending point? What if you are taking the picture at a crooked angle? Is your horse standing on a level ground? PERFECTLY level???
You see my point??
Well, anyway; here is our 'lines' and remember, I'm a "lucky" one; my horse has 4 different feet.

So, LF
RF (the club)
(ps I HATE how long his RF heel is, but when I screwed with it and lowered it, he was OUCHIE OUCHIE McGee)
**update since I started drafting this; I have lowered his heel a bit, just a bit and he was good-whew
Why did I? Because it seemed too long, too pitched forward and in looking at this toe, it seemed it needed a different relief.

The RH, when I took the picture, that leg was pitched back. It's very broken back according to angles and I actually agree with that.
But his LH, seems to be broken back according to angle, and I always thought that was one of his better hooves/angles
Actually, when I see all of these hooves with the lines; they all appear broken back which may explain why Laz continues to land toe first on his fronts (and hinds? Yes most time, heel first sometimes..see stills below). Under run heels but when I pull them back, and back up toe-he walks worse. When I pull heels back and leave toe long, he stumbles. WTF
So, now I'm experimenting and going with my trimmer's advice; leave his feet alone for a bit other than minimal rasping.
I still rasp at a crack/flare. some heel, I must admit but that's all and instead of weekly, I'm stretching it out a bit more...I go by watching my horse move. If I feel he needs a rasp, I do it.

So-what do you see?
Is there an easier method to use to view my horse's hooves to see proper angles?
Maybe I'm missing something extremely simple?

SlowPro video from same day as photos above

and stills:
Hover shot of LH
 Hover shot of RH
 Stab toe first of LF
 One more second later....

And those who wonder what shoes would do for Laz?
Here is Laz shod PRIOR to his laminitis, a year off the track-in SHOES (fronts only)
I've never seen this horse land heel first.
See toe first's below, all in 2009

 Laz is the big Bay below, you know, the non Polish Arab ;)
Toe first sans rider/saddle


Now, let's talk hoof casts.
We are on our 2nd hoof cast. This one has lasted(ish) for almost 3 weeks
As you can see, Laz busted out the back of it-it split open about 4 days ago
I'm not surprised as he's moving around tons and running/playing

So, instead of duct taping it and having it rub oddly, I opted to leave it be.
That was good for a few days. 
I checked on him daily to make sure he was moving comfortably.
Saturday, I looked and saw a crack/sore so I cracked off the back of the cast.
Currently it's just around toe and parts of sole/white line area.
 Below, no more cast at back of hoof
 See that crack just below his heel bulb?
 Ouch but he didn't react 'ouchie' to it, but I wanted to remove that cast there and treat it, so I did.
Photo is obviously before I cleaned it
 Still loads more laterally, and I'm wondering if I see positive changes??
 You can see frog and parts of sole are/were exposed from cast.
He's worn through at the heel of his lateral side and at toe
 Below, RH before his 2nd cast was put on...
Above hoof, today, with 2nd cast (at week 2.5) about to fall off any day.
I think I see new good growth?!! Do you?
 It's slight but it's only been about 4 weeks total of casting him
I see a better growth angle-different than in his past!
 And I feel his back is bulking up a bit
My concern will be when next cast goes on, to watch out for the heel, heel bulb fitting so he is not in any discomfort and the new growth will hopefully continue at the correct angle.
Exhausted with hoof thoughts yet? ;)


  1. Not exhausted, totally fascinated! I am sending your post to my hoof guy!!!!!

  2. I could never get tired of learning about hooves... And Laz's are certainly interesting! Can't wait to see how he does with the hoof cast. And I don't think his angles are all that bad. I was taught to run the line about an inch (in real life) back from the hoof wall up through the middle of the leg, so his two fronts actually look ok to me. And his back legs might be because of how he's standing, the cannon bone should be perpendicular to the ground, which it's not. Just my two cents, if all that makes sense :)

    1. I agree, I LOVE learning but it can sometimes feel under the gun, in our case.
      So-interesting about the angles per what you were taught...again, I may be viewing things wrong and over analyzing. (who me?!) but yes, I agree even when standing straight, his back leg angles seem wrong currently.

  3. Wow! The hoof stuff is so confusing, I am terrible with angles and math of any kind. I am so interested in it at the same time, I literally talk my trimmer's ear off.

  4. Hi Kristen! I am no expert with angles, but from the Rockley post and pictures here, Laz's three uncasted feet look fine to me. I think the left hind hoof/pastern angle will match up when his cannon bone more perpendicular, as mentioned by TBA. The right hind looks broken back, as you pointed out already.

    As for the landing stuff, my teacher says that a heel first landing can be inhibited by biomechanics, although I think she was speaking mostly about the front end. The front legs need enough time to complete their range of motion in order to land heel first. The horse may have trouble with this if his movement is directing his front end down to the ground rather than up. Just one factor among many, right?

    Good work with the trimming on Laz.

    1. Hmm, so in riding, he feels like a very downhill horse-I wonder if that has something to do with biomech?

  5. I agree that from what I've learned from Rockley, Laz's three angles look great. The weird angle on the other foot is where he is at now and what his body is doing to compensate for the changes. The celery concept from Rockley says to allow nature to make the changes. We as humans should try to interfere less. Easier said than done.

    1. Yes, I always think of celery concept except magical Rockley has better footing to softly exfoliate and stimulate better than ours. So in that case, is my celery needing to be a ..rasp? ;)

  6. Interesting info...so much to learn and understand about hooves. As they say, knowledge is power, so the more we know, the better off our horses will be, right? Thanks for sharing this! Now I have to go look at Harley's angles.

    1. Oof! Have fun ;) Yes, knowledge is power and ignorance is BLISS :) lol