Horse Side Vet Guide ®

Equine Health Resource

Opposite Hooves Seem Different Angles, Shapes or Sizes

Code Yellow - Contact Your Vet at Your Convenience for an Appointment

Code Green - Contact Your Vet to Obtain Useful Advice & Resources

Code Yellow - Contact Your Vet at Your Convenience for an Appointment

  • If you notice any lameness or have any other concern.

Code Green - Contact Your Vet to Obtain Useful Advice & Resources

  • If you want information on how to manage horses of this conformation to reduce the likelihood of lameness.

Almost no horse has hooves that are exactly alike. Over life, these differences may be accentuated (or minimized) by behavioral tendencies, hoof wear and care, injuries and conformation.

Generally, the larger, wider and heavier hoof, the better. The angle of the hoof walls should approximate the angle of the pastern of each foot. When viewed from the front, a line bisecting the entire limb should also bisect the hoof. Deviations from this are conformational faults, with various implications depending on the specific deviation, its severity, and the intended use of the horse.

WHAT TO DO

Unless your horse is lame or performing poorly, do not take slight differences between your horse’s hooves very seriously. Note the differences in the hooves and talk to your farrier about customizing management and shoeing choices based on the unique needs of individual feet. Avoid making radical changes in hoof care solely for the sake of symmetry.

WHAT YOUR VET DOES

Your vet looks at hoof conformation as one, albeit important, piece of the picture. The care provided to a particular hoof is in great part dependent upon the use of the horse and the stresses and strains placed on the hoof. As vets, our goal is to use our knowledge and diagnostic abilities to help you choose and breed horses with good feet.

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP

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