What you see. The starting point for addressing any equine health related issue is your observation.


Opposite Hooves Seem Different Angles, Shapes or Sizes


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.

  • 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.

your role


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 Not To Do

Do not attempt (or encourage your farrier) to make the feet look the same solely for the sake of symmetry.

your vet's role

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.
Questions Your Vet Might Ask:
  • What is the horse's age, sex, breed and history?
  • What is the horse used for?
  • What is the horse's exercise and performance history leading up to this?
  • Can you send me a photo?
  • Is the horse performing to your expectation under saddle?
  • Do you work with a farrier that you trust and can communicate with?
  • Is there a new farrier shoeing or trimming the horse's feet?

Treatments Your Vet May Recommend

A way to resolve the condition or diagnosis. Resolving the underlying cause or treating the signs of disease (symptomatic treatment)

Very Common
more treatments

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP