What do healthy hooves look like?

A healthy hoofThis hoof is from a rock crushing barefoot horse. Wide, calloused supportive frog and nice open heels. Solid wall connection with no flares. Bars and heels are a bit overgrown but a good working hoof none the less. The picture shows the hoof has a good concave shape to the sole and nice full heel bulbs.

pb211199.jpgThis is the hoof from a standard bred mare with nice big healthy looking frogs. No blackness or thrush and the frog is nice and wide in order to support the back of the hoof. Note the heels and bars are back where they should be, at the widest part of the frog. A nice healthy sole that is not chalky and has a good concave shape on the bottom. The wall has a good tickness and balance to it.

A healthy hoofThis photo is from my horse Duffy, taken two months after the shoes were removed. His frog is wide and continuing to open up. The sole is concave and very healthy – notice there is no white / chalkiness to it. The left side bar material is higher than the right, as he tends to wear down one side more than the other. It has been two weeks since his last trim.

A healthy hoofThis hoof has a nice wide and supportive frog, the heels are at the widest part of the frog. The entire hoof has a nice round shape with no flares. This horse is outside 24/7 and eats free choice hay only as part of a herd of 20 horses, so he gets a lot of movement. Although the picture does not show it, this hoof has a good thick sole with excellent concave shape.

Back hoof This photo shows the outer hind hoof which has good overall balance with no flares or ridges in the hoof wall. It has a good heel height and toe length. The hairline has a good slope and the heel bulbs are nice too.

Showing a good sweep This hoof shows the natural “swoop” that a hoof should have from toe to heel. A horses hoof should not be flat but more like a scoop. The hoof needs to be able to dig into the footing and push the horse forward.

A healthy hoof This is a four year old Friesian x Dutch warmblood cross gelding, naturally raised outside 24/7 with a natural diet. Very well developed and correct hoof shape, a great model!