Thus, when the horse is shod, it is important to attain proper hoof angulations.
Thus, when the farrier works on the horse’s hoof, she or he will most likely
trim the foot at such an angle that the wall of the hoof and the pastern are
parallel. To this end, the expert will have the horse stand on a hard and level
surface and take a good look from the front to display the current state of the
hoof-pastern axis. If the hoof angle is not parallel, the farrier may use terms
such as low (the pastern angle is more than the hoof wall angle) or high (the
angle of the pastern is lower than the hoof wall) hoof angles.
Many a time the farrier will be able to correct the hoof angle, such as it would
be the case if the toe is too short or long or the heel is too high or low. As a
matter of fact, quite often a low hoof angle can be avoided by proper trimming.
Low hoof angles have been linked to poor circulation in the heel, in part
because the toe grows longer than it should and therefore the pastern moves to
such an extent that the coffin joint becomes extended and the strain on the
digital flexor tendon increases dramatically. Add to this the friction created
in the navicular bursa and the resultant low circulation is no surprise. The
more incorrect the hoof angle is, the worse the consequences to the foot are
Corrective measures for toes that have been permitted to grow too long is to
“back up” the toe by using a rasp on the dorsal hoof wall so as to more
accurately bring it into alignment with the pastern. For relatively new cases,
this will usually fix the issue. If the problem is an under-run heel, you will
be able to extend the heel of the shoe so as to mimic the proper distance. Thus,
if you cannot “back up” the toe, you will most likely have to look into
elevating the hoof. Your farrier will be able to discuss this issue with you in
Corrective measures for high hooves are indicated to decrease the strain put on
the ligaments caused by coffin joint flexion and heel pressure. To do so, the
farrier will most likely trim the foot in a tapered style from the frog to the
heel. Wedges may need to be employed if there is too much tension build-up.