Category Archives: Heel Problems


Under-run heels are identified by their appearance as being extremely low and acutely sloping forward, to the point where they have no weight bearing ability. (Pic 1). The low-heeled hoof is usually accompanied by a long and concaved hoof capsule at the toe due to the tubules bending under the pressure of their excessive length. A percentage of under-run heels is caused by bad conformation i.e. long sloping pasterns which encourage pressure at the heels, causing them to collapse and roll under. Others are related to the lack of proper hoof maintenance, such as not trimming these hooves before they grow too long or then not trimming them to the required correct hoof/pastern angle, which reduces the pressure at the heels. The long-toe low-heeled horse becomes unsteady in its gait or stumbles and will tend to over-reach with the hinds coming through and hitting the heels of the front hooves, because the long toes slow down the movement of the front hooves. The initial treatment should be to shorten the toes as much as possible and re-trim every three weeks for about three successive periods after which time the heels may … Continue Reading ››


Contracted heels can be the end result of many different factors. They are not typical of any particular breed or conformation and may occur anywhere. Sometimes it begins from birth when the foal has very upright pasterns; this condition then allows the heels to grow longer than the toes causing a very upright appearance.

The result then, if it is not corrected, is that the frog loses its pressure contact with the ground, then it also begins to contract or shrink and this causes the hoof capsule to become even narrower across the heel. This whole shrinking process may have only taken a few months to get to what now looks like ‘donkey footed’ in appearance, but will take a lot longer to return to normal, with the aid of careful trimming.

Sometimes as a result of hoof or leg injury, the horse will begin to step short with one leg. This will cause the toe to wear excessively and allows the heel … Continue Reading ››


Quartered heels come in many different variations, and always seem to happen to your best horse. Necessity is the mother of invention when attempting to repair these. I have never found any two the same but the basic principles of repair are always similar. The old method was usually to make a shoe which stayed away from the area of hoof which was affected by the injury. Because the broken wall behind the injury was not able to take any weight bearing pressure, the injury hopefully would then grow out. This method is seldom successful, it takes too long and the horse’s work has to be altered because of the lack of hoof stability and lameness. Trial and experiment over the years together with the use of a bit of modern technology has proven there are some more positive ways to achieve a better result. Basically there are two reasons for any kind of cracks occurring in the hoof wall; the first one is because the hoof wall has been allowed to develop flares or wings anywhere from the toe to the heel - this causes … Continue Reading ››