What Goes on Beneath Horse Hoof Cracks?

Dissections showing underlying bone loss can help hoof care professionals know how to manage different types of hoof capsule damage.
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What Goes on Beneath Horse Hoof Cracks?
Dissections showing underlying bone loss can help hoof care professionals know how to manage different types of hoof capsule damage. | Photo: Paige Poss

When veterinarians and hoof care professionals studying equine anatomy dissect hoof cracks in cadaver limbs, they usually slice down the middle of the fissure and look at the cross section for clues to the biomechanical and pathological causes. Longtime hoof trimmer Paige Poss thought she might be missing something in examining hoof tissue this way, so she did it differently.

“I thought, ‘This time I’m going to cut a window,’” she said. “‘I’m going to take off the front wall and look at the anatomy inside.’”

What the self-described amateur anatomist and photographer found by examining tissues this way changed her perspective on persistent hoof cracks in horses. She shared what she learned with veterinarians and farriers at the 11th annual Northeast Association of Equine Practitioners (NEAEP) symposium, held Sept. 25-28 in Saratoga Springs, New York

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Written by:

Stephanie L. Church, Editorial Director, grew up riding and caring for her family’s horses in Central Virginia and received a B.A. in journalism and equestrian studies from Averett University. She joined The Horse in 1999 and has led the editorial team since 2010. A 4-H and Pony Club graduate, she enjoys dressage, eventing, and trail riding with her former graded-stakes-winning Thoroughbred gelding, It Happened Again (“Happy”). Stephanie and Happy are based in Lexington, Kentucky.

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