ridecamp@endurance.net: [endurance] Hoof Angles

[endurance] Hoof Angles

ROBERT J MORRIS (bobmorris@rmci.net)
Wed, 17 Jul 96 16:07:44 -0500

-- [ From: ROBERT J MORRIS * EMC.Ver #2.5.02 ] --

One of the best discussions relative to hoof angles is in Jaimeson's "The
Natural Horse"

All the ideas of proper hoof angle. wedge pads, hitting flat and so on are
so confused by what certain persons are convinced is the correct thing. They
never consult with the HORSE!!! To find out the way the HORSE wants his
hooves trimmed is to let them get a bit long with shoes on, remove the shoes
, then ride at a walk and trot on pavement or hard dirt roads for a few
miles say five miles or so. You will then find out the angles needed for
proper trimming, both front to back and side to side.

Every one worries if the foot hits flat and in the "natural" horse this does
not occur. The foot lands on the out side and then flattens and breaks over.
Also remember the condition of your horse has a very strong influence on how
the foot lands and breaks over. Conformation is another factor. Almost all
of our horses that are in good endurance condition eventually end up
breaking over the outside quarter of the toe. This is because of muscle
development in the chest, shoulder and forearm. It is also a more economical

Hoof angles, when developed as to the horses desire, not the farriers, will
stabilize in all directions and you will have very little in the way of
problems. NOW YOU MUST REMEMBER, I am talking about the horse that is kept
under reasonable conditions. If always on irrigated pasture that is
something else. Or if in a wet and mucky stall then you will have great
problems. But on good dry rough ground you will have good healthy feet.

I hear many worrying about pads to save the horses from bruises and the like
. If the sole is not pared out there will, under most conditions, be no
bruising. I have never figured out why many farriers want to thin the sole
until it can be flexed by thumb pressure. This is asking for trouble.

Most of our horses have a toe length of 2.75 inches to 3.25 inches with
occasionally a 3.50 inch length. Heels??? any where from natural landing on
the bulb of the heel to perhaps a half inch heel with very occasionally a
one inch heel. This is on a horse that had a leg injury though.

Wedge pads? If the foot is trimmed as to the horses needs there is no reason
to ever use a wedge pad. In my very biased opinion a wedge pad on an
endurance horse is to correct a farriers mistake!!! The only other reason is
so a horse with very poor conformation can compete in spite of the fact that
it should not be doing so in the first place (I said I was biased!!!) Why
will the pad contribute to a crushed heel??? what caused the crushing in
the first place??? Wrongly distributed loading, in this case to much load on
the heel. Why to much load ?!? Heel to high?!? Wedge = high heel!!!!

These comments are the opinion of Morris Endurance Enterprises only and not
those of any other persons!!! Of course they are based on experience of over
26,000 miles of AERC competition with better than 96% top ten finishes.
Seldom have we had a horse lame or sore from shoeing problems. We do have a
PAY THE FARRIER AND CONTINUE TO RIDE". One vet bill for a lame horse is
equal to several very good shoeing jobs!!!

Bob Morris
Morris Endurance Enterprises
Boise, ID