While helping out at your stables one Sunday you notice that Thor, one of your gentle giant favourites, is tripping up quite a lot. You and your stable manager give him a good looking over and are quite sure he is not lame. The farrier is called and thinks that Thor’s frog and heal bar would benefit from more support. He says Thor needs to be fitted with heartbar shoes. Is she right?
Well I don’t know! I certainly need much more information before I can make that decision. Let’s start with the parts of the hoof.
Hover over each part of the hoof in this diagram to find out more.
The bars are important in preventing contracted heels. Contracted heels is when they get too close together.
The frog works as an anti-concussion device, and also helps to circulate blood around the horse’s lower leg
This is responsible for the strength of the hoof. It also covers the sensitive laminae which are responsible for holding the hoof wall on the horses foot
The sole helps to protect the pedal bone from injury, and protects from hard objects the horse may stand on.
The white line is a sensitive laminae, or thin layer of organic tissue. Its actually normally more of a yellow colour and about an eight of an inch wide. It separates the sole from the hoof wall.
These are located on the back of the hoof where all the parts come together.
Seats of corn
A corn is a bruise that forms between the sensitive and insensitive layers of the sole of the foot. The most common site affected is known as the ‘seat of corn’ which is located between the hoof bar and wall, near the heel. Corns do not always cause a horse to be lame, if they do, the lameness is usually not severe.
OK! Now we know that we can move on and look at types of shoe and why they are used.