Negative plantar angle - ideas?

It really comes down to whether the cycle is too long for the horse - his environment, his movement, his hoof hard/softness, etc. If an owner is having to keep toes in check at the 3-4 week mark of a 6 week cycle, then 6 weeks is too long for that horse. It’s not too long for some, especially in Winter, or if they live on more abrasive footing (or do a lot of working miles on more abrasive footing


I’ve had to do that. It sucks.

1 Like

Sorry for all of the quoting, but I wanted to clarify why I would suggest that you might consider taking one summer off from serious trailriding. I understand that this might be a huge disappointment, but if this was my horse I would consider it a price worth paying.

If your horse is sounder without shoes then you have a window of opportunity to correct the feet once and for all in the quickest way possible, which is starting off with a great trim and then maintaining it weekly. If your horse grows hoof quickly you could get them fixed completely before the next summer season.

I hope this doesn’t come across as judgemental, just as food for thought.


She goes barefoot all winter, every winter. The movement was better, but dollars to doughnuts the NPA was not.

I need a better farrier at this time, not necessarily a barefoot horse.

Just IMO.

New shoes, put on yesterday. I see improvement, but I think there’s room for more. Thoughts?

1 Like

That does look better. You’d need films to confirm, but if you can keep going without the heel running under and crushing… be curious to know how they look in 4-5 weeks.

1 Like

This seems to be an ok start, I like the length of the shoe in back.

Are these rocker shoes by chance? I can’t quite tell, but I’m not seeing anything that says they are. to me, it looks like the shoe should have been set back a bit. I just don’t know if these are set where the breakover should be. If they’re not rocker, AND are set just where the BO should be, then in 4 weeks the toes/breakover will be long again.

The biggest tell will be to see what the next trim shows. You should be starting to see a straighter angle of growth coming in from the coronet band.


They look slightly better.

If you want to monitor whether things are improving or not, the easiest way to do that is to measure the angle of the hairline. You can keep photos of the feet and measure the angle on the screen after each trim, or you can eyeball it by using a side on picture of the full horse. If you do it this way, you visualise the hairline angle extended all the way through to the front leg, and see where it would hit. What you’re aiming for is for the hairline angle to keep decreasing until it’s back to a more normal angle, so the angle should be hitting lower rather than higher as the hoof improves. You don’t really want the angle to be much higher than this pic. Of course if you can get a good angle on the first trim/shoeing, then you’re just monitoring that it stays that way and doesn’t creep back up.



They are not. I am also disappointed in where the shoe is set - it’s set right to the toe.

1 Like

Found this article while finding links for another thread at thought of this thread.

This is a great heuristic for those who don’t have their own radiographic equipment (I’m thiiiissss close to buying my own at this point lol), though I would add the cannon bone of the hind leg needs to be as perpendicular to the ground as possible before drawing the line. I’m sure you just used this as a quick way to show the OP (so no criticism from me!) but want to make sure others know that, if the cannon bone isn’t straight, well, the output is only as good as the input :slight_smile:

1 Like

This must be an American shoeing phenomenon. You just don’t see it so much on pictures of horses in Europe although I suppose if you are there in person you might see it more. They seem to shoe dressage horses differently with a lot more heel on both front feet and back. But not long underrun heels/ I don’t know how this compares in jumpers and event horses.

Yes, thanks for adding this. :slightly_smiling_face:

Those toes are way too long. I would expect that after 6-8 weeks.

My mare also tends to get NPA behind. The lightbulb moment was when I realized that immediately after trimming her angles are normal. She grows a tremendous amount of hoof. I always joke that she would make a nice mountain goat. Keeping the toe short with frequent trims really helps.

I would probably try going barefoot and try to find soft trails to ride on. Or a 4 week trim cycle with a better farrier.


The x-rays clearly show the toe is not out in front. Is it possible there is a slight amount of toe that could come off from the bottom without making the soles sore, possibly? Which is why you show the Farrier the x-rays so he knows.

The solar shot shows a nicely shaped shoe which flows nicely. The widest part of the shoe is at the widest part of the foot as it should be. The back half of the branches mirror the front half of the branches as they should. The toe nails bisect the heels nicely as they should.

Setting the shoes back doesn’t take into account how the hindend works. As the horse propels over the foot, if the toe isn’t there, it’s going to change it’s gait. More often than not, this creates a toe first landing which then leads to the toe being dubbed off (bull nosing).

6 weeks is too long of a shoeing cycle. As the feet grow forward more pressure goes towards the already compromised heels.

A flat frog support pad will not do much. If you continually load the frog it will just compress and what you gained from frog pressure will be lost quickly and you’re back to square one.

Barshoes are about the worst thing you can do. The bar floats in the soft footing and increases pressure to the heels which worsens the issue.

They way your horse is shod, which looks like a very nice job, you should have no problem adding a rim wedge pad to get rid of the broken back coffin joint and fill the foot with equipak. They won’t grow heel but the heels shouldn’t crush like they would with only a wedge pad.


I’m curious if anyone has thoughts on the content of this FB page: They have a lot of interesting info and compelling before/after pics and x-rays. For whatever my lay opinion is worth (basically nothing), I do agree with them that traditional open-heel shoes cause/contribute to caudal hoof failure. My horse who had prolapsed frogs is doing much better now in full frog pads.

But some of what they say contradicts and other things I’ve read. Specifically, they disagree with trimming low/underrun heels back to the widest part of the frog–or at all? Slightly unclear…here’s a quote from an April 20th post for those who don’t do FB:

Trimming the Underrun Heel animation
We have talked about the fact that to maintain PA as the heels become underrun, the length of heel needs to increase, not decrease.
Here is a short animation showing how trimming the heels to the same position ie widest part of the frog, shortens heel length & exacerbated low & negative PA as the heels become lower.
Each interval represents a 5deg change in PA & u can see just how low the back of the coffin bone gets to the ground & how short the heel length is at the end compared to the start.
Whilst we are not saying not to remove heel, if it is weak, broken &/or rolled under, we are just trying to show the effects of removing the heel, or trimming all feet to the same position, so people are aware of the consequences to P3 & consider replacing it with elevation so not to compromise the horse further.
In reality, what we find with most of these horses, is an increase of depth below P3, which increases the negative PA.

They also use wedges a lot whereas O’Grady says, “there is no documentation that confirms that heel elevation exerts any significant influence on any section of the hind limb above the distal interphalangeal (DIP) joint. Furthermore, heel elevation will tend to exaggerate a heel first landing and thus increase the pressure exerted on the hind feet that have existing low or underrun heels, which appears to compromise the structures of the hoof capsule further and lead to additional lameness problems.”


there is no documentation that confirms that heel elevation exerts any significant influence on any section of the hind limb above the distal interphalangeal (DIP) joint

This is from a study from Dr. Tracey Turner. So if you throw a wedge pad on a foot you won’t see the fetlock flex. Or for people who recommend wedging to stop a stifle from locking, a wedge pad in and of itself won’t affect the stifle joint. (Actually, I thought the study said a wedge won’t affect any joint above the fetlock but maybe it was the dipj.)

Furthermore, heel elevation will tend to exaggerate a heel first landing and thus increase the pressure exerted on the hind feet that have existing low or underrun heels, which appears to compromise the structures of the hoof capsule further and lead to additional lameness problems

I’d need a link to the article to review it to see what’s he’s talking about here. His articles are quite dated, there’s new technology which contradicts much of his writings on Farriery.

I’m not on FB anymore and not familiar with that particular group, that said they’re probably using the same technology as a bunch of other guys. x-rays, mark-ups, high speed cameras, gyroscopes… They can show you very easily what happens when you trim the heels to the widest part of the frog, how a foot lands when wedges are applied, how a foot lands when you set a shoe back on a negative plantar angle…

Trimming the heels back to the widest part of the frog has been shown to produce a broken back coffin joint time and again. The problem is, trimming the heels back to the widest part of the frog was an easy way to explain where to trim the heels to the masses so they stopped stacking heel and causing “navicular” issues.