Hoof Structure and Foot Facts (Book Excerpt)

The old saying, “No hoof, no horse” is very true, especially as it pertains to the horse’s working ability and soundness. The horse is an athlete; we use him for a variety of athletic purposes — racing, jumping, chasing cattle, pulling carts.
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Editor’s Note: This is an excerpt from Understanding Equine Hoof Care by Heather Smith Thomas.

Knowing the anatomy and function of the foot can help you take better care of a horse’s feet–and do a better job of trimming or shoeing if you do that yourself. A working knowledge of the foot also enables you to select animals with the most desirable structure. You want a horse that is more apt to stay sound through a long life of hard work.

The old saying, “No hoof, no horse” is very true, especially as it pertains to the horse’s working ability and soundness.  The horse is an athlete; we use him for a variety of athletic purposes — racing, jumping, chasing cattle, pulling carts.  The health and soundness of his feet are of vital importance.  Another old saying is that a horse is as old as his feet and legs.  If they are not sound and healthy, he cannot be used for much.

It has also been said that a horse’s feet and disposition both deteriorate when he is not used. His feet — and his mental and social nature — evolved with continual activity. Therefore, regular exercise is crucial. Because the horse is a creature of movement, he is healthiest and happiest when he has room to roam, grazing on the go

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Heather Smith Thomas ranches with her husband near Salmon, Idaho, raising cattle and a few horses. She has a B.A. in English and history from University of Puget Sound (1966). She has raised and trained horses for 50 years, and has been writing freelance articles and books nearly that long, publishing 20 books and more than 9,000 articles for horse and livestock publications. Some of her books include Understanding Equine Hoof Care, The Horse Conformation Handbook, Care and Management of Horses, Storey’s Guide to Raising Horses and Storey’s Guide to Training Horses. Besides having her own blog, www.heathersmiththomas.blogspot.com, she writes a biweekly blog at https://insidestorey.blogspot.com that comes out on Tuesdays.

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