Hoof resources

I’ve been reading a lot of the hoof care threads with interest lately, and have realized that because I have had the good fortune to always have wonderful farriers and horses with relatively straight forward feet, I don’t know enough in detail about feet. I can tell a good foot from a bad foot, for sure, and in general terms can explain what I do or don’t like, but get completely lost when it comes to looking at xrays and figuring out what needs to change, etc.

Does anyone have good resources to suggest so that I can learn a bit more. I pick the farriers’ brains every time they’re out (we’re very lucky to have a few great ones in our small barn), but I’d love to learn more on my own time. There’s so much quackery out there when it comes to feet and shoeing too… Point me in the direction of some sensible stuff, please!

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Following this. I’m in the same spot - but in a farrier desert.

www.barefoothorse.com has some really good visuals on the parts, and healthy vs unhealthy feet, as well as general mechanisms on how to bridge the gap. I just warn people to ignore the bit of anti-shoe sentiment there :wink:

If you want go to many layers deeper than that, this is my very favorite


Pete Ramey also has good books and DVDs. I don’t have any but attended his clinic and really liked his attitude.

Reading x-rays is a whole medical specialty, and involves interpreting things that I can’t really see (judging from human x-rays,) but coffin bone angle is fairly obvious. “Navicular changes” might not be so obvious to a nonmedical eye.

Thank you JB and Scribbler! JB, those sites are exactly the type of resources that I was hoping for, so thank you again. I really appreciate it. I started trying to read a bit more when my mare had a laminitis flare up, but especially when you add laminitis to the equation, questionable stuff gets mixed in with the legitimate pretty quickly, and I was having trouble sorting through it (I went down the rabbit hole of reading about heel-first hoof landing and what it indicated - some of the info got pretty out there, even to my uneducated eye!).

As for the xray piece, I am a log-time CCU RN in my life outside horses, so am fairly comfortable looking at and interpreting the basics of xray within the context of my job. I by no means would ever assume to be able to interpret and diagnose hoof xrays to the point of being able to make suggestions for trims or shoeing, but I find it fascinating and would like to learn more :slight_smile:


I’ve been perusing that lameness prevention site a lot recently. My oldie has navicular disease (as diagnosed by serial x ray), founder (sinking and rotation) and pedal ostitis. Obviously, I’m late to the party on the prevention, but the site has been very educational for me!

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The Hoof Care and Rehabilitation group on Facebook. They follow Pete Ramey’s guidance. It’s a good group just to follow and see how farriers deal with issues.


This is a remarkable resource! Really, really great info. Starting the first lecture now and I’m truly impressed. Great info from an unbiased medical perspective. I can’t believe this stuff is free. Thanks for sharing!


These resources are great - thank you all for sharing. I am planning to spend time with them.

In the meantime, I’ve been trying to find a picture that (I believe) shows you how to evaluate hoof angles by drawing a line following the hind hoof angle to the elbow on the front legs. I might be making this up. But am looking for something to help me evaluate the palmar angle on my horse’s hind feet. I plan to do rads in the near future, but want to see if I can get them in a good place before doing the rads, so we can use the rads to fine tune.

You can do that with the hind feet but not the fronts. With the horse standing with the near cannon bones vertical and the other 2 legs slightly pulled inward, draw a line through the coronet band towards the front of the horse. It should land somewhere in the knee area, but definitely below the elbow.

But you can also almost always see NPA by looking at the hoof-pastern angle. Almost always, the angle will be broken back, because almost always, the heels end up collapsing. You can find some tall heeled NPA feet, and some feet that are fairly newly NPA in a way that hasn’t yet changed the hoof capsule, hence the “almost always”.

And the NPA broken back angle tends to look different from just having long toes and breaking back the angle.


vs long toes and no NPA

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I forgot to add:

The external visual difference is because in the NPA, the actual coffin bone has a broken back angle with the short pastern bone, as you can see in the top pic. This makes it look like the whole pastern setup is inserted vertically into the foot which is just WEIRD looking.

With the pure long toes, the coffin bone is still aligned with the short pastern bone (at least more or less), and the “break” is with the long pastern bone

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The Essential Hoof Book is on my list to pick up at some point. I’ve heard great things about it and listened to podcast interviews with the authors.