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Shoes mask weaknesses, barefoot highlights strengths

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Healing angle

Red line traces healing angle to ground
Immature, weak foot scooting forward
Hard working hoof maintains HA

Some hooves are so compromised it is hard to find the healing angle. For most of us we can check approx' 1cm below the hairline to find it. Sometimes it is easier to use touch. Don't let yourself get confused by the rubbery bit of the coronary band - go below that.

This angle should be maintained all the way to the ground. However if you sight the hoof from the side or gently run your fingers down the toe wall of the hoof you may be able to see and/or feel divergence away from the healing angle.

The first two photos show feet that are scooting forwards, but in a hind foot you more likely to find a bull nose effect. They are equally incorrect.

When your horse can maintain a healing angle to the ground you are doing something right! If you are transitioning a horse and you can see/feel that healing angle getting closer to the ground you know you are making progress. If the healing angle never gets much further down the hoof than the top 1.5cm or so then you know something somewhere isn't working for your horse.

A long toe delays breakover and compromises function of the hoof.  This will inevitably have a negative impact on the limb and rest of the horse.  Achieving and maintaining the HA to the ground is all about function - it's a useful and important measure


RuckusButt said...

Very informative, as always. Thank you! One question - what is a "bull nose effect"? I have a mental image but don't know if I'm at all correct.

Funder said...

"Healing angle" is a great term!

Dom said...

Great visual.

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