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Re: Cupped Soles

> To state a particular angle for a hoof is, again, just kidding your
> the about the true situation. 
> This totally ignores the toe and/or heel length. Most horses given a
> length of a half inch and a toe of three and a quarter inch will
have the
> correct hoof angle for that horse regardless of what the protractor
> for the angle. Remember we are talking about the endurance horse not
> other mis-treated  show critters.

Your point is basically that horses are individuals and that we should
not fall unthinkingly into a doctrine. To follow up on my last brief
message heres a couple of snippets on which I based the initial 56
degrees. This is getting away from the cupped sole thread, so to keep
it on topic, my personal preference is to trim off as little sole as
possible and to let it flake off on it's own. 


From an interesting article by Henry Heymering, RJF, CJF. (a ferrier's
historian if there  is such a thing). He has a couple of interesting
books out, one called "On the horse's foot" where he dug up all sorts
of references starting back with Xenophon.

Full text is at...

NATURE -- FREE ROAMING HORSES? [average 54-60 degrees]

Why not use Nature as a guide? What are the hoof angles of horses in a
natural environment? Horses roaming free in the Western U.S. have hoof
angles of 50 to 65 degrees, with the vast majority between 54 to 58
degrees (Jackson 1991). These free roaming horses also had much
healthier hoofs and legs than the average domestic horse. Jamie
Jackson said that in his observations over 10 years of some 2000 feral
horses, he never saw a lame one. They seek out firm and dry ground.
Occasionally bands of feral horses would be forced to stay in wet
areas for awhile, and their feet would eteriorate. In measuring hoof
angles of about 200 of these feral horses he found hardly any with
hoof angles less than 54 degrees, and there were none with angles less
than 50 degrees.


Smythe also observed the same: "The foot is hardest and more enduring
in native ponies....... Most of these Moorland) ponies possess rather
small, upright feet, with an inclination of 55-60 degrees.... A
characteristic of native pony feet is their high, upright heels,
together with the hardness of horn (1972, p. 180)."


This is another snip from an article on the 4 pt trim by Andrew L.
Dibbern. The full text  is at....

Initially, the heels are trimmed and rasped down to the level that the
angle of the heel is at the widest part of the frog. This causes some
apprehension in most farriers, as taking away heel goes against every
instinct concerning the goal to enhance heel mass. Next, the rest of
the ground surface should be balanced, just as you would using
traditional methods. This should be done by starting at the heel and
working toward the toe, stopping at the apex of the frog. The hoof
angle should be the same as the horse's pastern angle or within a 2-3
degree margin of 53. The weight bearing points at the toe should be
noted. They should lie 3/4 to 1 inch in front of the apex of the frog.
The ground surface of the heel pillars should be about 3/4 of an inch
from back to front. Using the rasp, starting at the cranial edge of
the heel pillars, the quarters are unloaded to a depth of about 1/16 -
1/4 of an inch, tapering to ground surface as it progresses to the toe
pillars. The toe is then rasped to create a rolled or squared
appearance leaving a 3/4 - inch pad at the ground surface of both toe
pillars. The sole is unloaded around the inner circumference of the
hoof wall and between the toe pillars ever so slightly. 1/16 of an
inch is enough to prevent loading in this area, yet stimulates pillar
formation. As much as possible, leave the frog, bars, sole, and bridge
between the toe pillars intact. Lastly, any flares, especially at the
quarters, are removed to provide a straight line down the wall. The
edges are then rounded to prevent peeling and chipping unless a shoe
is being applied. Above all, maximum mass should be maintained at the

Nicco Murphy - Poway, San Diego, CA

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