What are healthy hooves? Balanced, well shaped hooves (wide and round with no contraction). Let’s discuss some examples, primarily of instances of less than healthy hoof form. Please click on the individual picture to get a better view.
As was described on the page where this photo was taken this is an all too typical example of forward running toes and heels.
The heel is much too high and the whole foot is too ‘long’ overall. This has resulted in severe contraction at the heels – the wall below the heels is actually narrower than the heels. The dorsal wall due to its length has started to attain a bullnosed looking curved look to it. Most surprisingly, this is a hind foot. Not often does one see such a narrow upright hoof behind.
This one is just obvious. The toes are just too long. The back of the shoe looks fairly far back towards the heel so one wonders if this toe wasn’t just left too long during shoeing, rather than just growing for 8 weeks or more in between shoeings.
This is a classic example of someone drawing lines and angles to make themselves look knowledgeable: the straight line from point of fetlock through pastern and hoof presumably is saying this horse has correct angles, but this hoof is too upright, even though the heels are the right height and the toe sems like the right length. It’s possible there is not enough sole depth at the toe. The foot just looks too short overall. This one would take closer examination and more views to figure out.
This hoof appears fairly healthy with a nice short toe. Perhaps the heel is a bit underrun. The horse could be placing more weight into its heel which would improve the hoof-pastern axis. Likely there is some heel pain preventing the horse from doing so.
This is a beautiful round uncontracted hoof with a wide frog overlapping the sides.
This hoof is bordering on the line between unhealthy and healthy. The toe is a bit too long, which is probably contributing to the slightly steep hairline. However, the cannon bone is vertical (correct) and the hoof-pastern axis looks good.