We hear it time and time again – no hoof, no horse. While all aspects of the hoof play important roles in overall soundness of an equine, a major part of overall hoof health is the sole. While much of the sole is hidden from view, it is the element of the hoof that serves as a buffer, protecting the interior of the hoof and the ground.
To promote proper blood circulation, the surface of the hoof's sole should be circular, like a pie or plate, rather than oval or elliptical. Sole thickness also plays a key role in maintaining soundness. A thick sole provides a protective cover for the delicate interior of the hoof, especially on uneven, harsh terrain.
The inner surface of the bottom of a healthy hoof will appear concave, creating a shallow bowl rather than being completely flat and allowing the entire hoof and frog to come in even contact with the ground. The arch shape of a healthy hoof offers flexibility to help dissipate concussion.
Read more at Manitoa Cooperator.
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