The hoof is a beautiful piece of machinery, designed to withstand loads of pressure. Pressure from the ground it walks on and from the horse it carries. Some argue that large horses require large feet and therefore smaller horses require smaller feet. Nature tells us this is not the case.
Just like the amount of concavity in the hoof, size is nothing we can or should influence as trimmers. That is, from a genetic perspective.
Hooves can grow beyond their natural diameters, but this only happens when we don’t trim the hoof properly or allow the foot to fall apart through poor diet and housing regimes.
Jaime Jackson measured well over 2000 front and hind hooves in what can be considered an adaptive environment for the horse. During his research he carefully documented approximately 1500 of these hooves in both Summer and Winter. The result? Consistent outcomes throughout the season on all horses.
Toe lengths varied between 6.3 and 9.7cms and their respective angles ranged from 45 to 65 degrees. When discussed from a scientific point of view, this is an incredibly large and consistent result that can not be ignored.
as it turns out,
these measurements also apply to domesticated equines. The only ones that may fall of outside this spectrum will do so on toe length. The miniature horses we have today don’t live in places like the Great Basin and although draft horses are among the wild mustangs, some of their giant domestic brethren might(!) fall outside this range.
? wild roaming Onager feet @ in the Negev Desert of Israel.
Critical measurements based on the wild horse model provide information on where the hoof is, where it is going and where it has been. It prevents us from over- and under-trimming the hoof capsule and allows us to record specific data on progress and decline.
The intel that can be obtained from these measurements is truly unmeasurable.