Submitted by David Landreville, Guest HCP

A broad, well defined, true frog tip is an indication of a properly suspended coffin bone.  When the live sole is thick it forms a bowl, referred to as concavity.  When the bowl is symmetrically shaped and deep, (at least a 1/2 inch measuring from the bottom of the collateral grooves at the tip of the frog to the peripheral edge of the sole in the quarters) the coffin bone is not only suspended off the ground by a thick flexible dome (the sole) but due to the highly vascular venous plexus at the corium, and valve like nature of the hoof capsule, P3 is also floating on a cushion of blood.  In well developed feet, added support from the digital cushion and lateral cartilages that form the internal arch make the hoof capsule a super structure that’s not only capable of withstanding years of almost constant concussive forces but having the ability to convert these forces into beneficial vibrations that result in stored energy like a power pack.  The back 2/3 of the foot has the ability to develop like a muscle when the weight bearing is correctly placed over the soft tissues.  Add boots or rubber shoes to this equation and you begin to wonder…what’s the limit of strength and endurance?
This isn’t a new revelation.  We read and hear about the bio-mechanics of bare feet all the time in books, videos, and on the internet but we rarely see photos of really healthy, high functioning feet.
This video has three parts:

  • In part 1…I talk about the importance of the back of the foot being properly shaped for efficient movement.
  • In part 2…I talk about the importance of knowing the relationships of the major structural  landmarks of the sole in order to assess and mitigate structural migration.
  • In part 3…I show some techniques to safely and effectively use a sharp hoof knife because I feel that application is more important than theory.

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My intention is to help people recognize the foot’s stage of development and trim to promote further development. Every trim should set the feet up to be healthier, stronger, and more comfortable by the next trim. I’m not so much teaching a method as I am sharing the way I read feet and make trimming decisions...based on listening to the horse and understanding the mechanics of the equine foot. When I first started shoeing horses I was most concerned about keeping their feet level, and this became more and more difficult as I saw horses with more severe conformation flaws, deformed feet, and horribly crooked movement. Perfect balance became my goal, and continues to be the focus of my attention. There should be no margin of error... ever. In perfect balance always; that’s what fixes them. God designed these beautiful animals to move...with growth matching wear, for every step. According to science, horses and their feet have evolved over 65 million years with their current form going back 35 million years. Since we have taken them out of nature, and diminished and restricted movement, it is our responsibility to do natures work and keep them balanced.